Posts Tagged ‘clay travis’

By John Ruberry

On Friday night Substack journalist Matt Taibbi released the first installment of the Twitter Files, which outlined the efforts by Twitter, with assists from the Democratic National Committee, to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020. It’s a dynamite story–a political party worked behind the scenes with a Big Tech company to suppress a damaging news story about a presidential candidate, in this case Joe Biden, so he could defeat the incumbent, Donald J. Trump.

That tale of intrigue is something that you would think that you would find only in political thrillers. You know, the stuff of books, movies, or TV series. Except the Twitter scandal really happened. In response, the elitist mainstream media chose one of three tactics, or a combination of them, to confront this scandal: ignore, bury, or insult. In this post I’m going to discuss the first one in depth, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first a look back at an incident from 2005, the year I started my own blog, Marathon Pundit. What was then called the blogosphere was a relatively happy place. In comment threads and in behind-the-scenes emails, there was regular communication between conservative and liberal bloggers and journalists, even some camaraderie, at least here in Illinois. Politically our two camps didn’t agree on much–but there was one subject where we were in unison. All of the Illinois bloggers and mainstream media reporters hated the Reverend Fred Phelps and his twisted house of worship, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. 

Some background: Phelps, who died in 2014, would bus in the few dozen members of his church, which then, as it does now, consisted only of the extended Phelps family, and protest at the funerals of soldiers and sailors killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. They held signs that read, among other things, “God Loves Dead Soldiers.” Phelps, who probably was in need of intensive psychiatric care, based his opinion on God and US military deaths on America’s acceptance of the gay lifestyle. 

Back to Illinois: There was a Phelps protest in East Peoria, Illinois in 2005 at the funeral of a US Marine gunnery sergeant, who was killed in Iraq, which the local paper, the Peoria Journal Star reported on, but it left out the Westboro Church protest. And that infuriated Bill Dennis, who wrote the now-inactive Peoria Pundit blog. 

Dennis had this say 17 years ago:

More than once, I’ve read the opinion that the media shouldn’t give Phelps and his people any “publicity.” Whether or not any particular groups gets publicity from news covering isn’t important. The news media needs to cover the news, whether or not it’s news we want to hear. It’s not the media’s job to keep us from having to hear ugly messages. The people who work in the information business need to reject the notion that the public is better off when it is kept in the dark. We wouldn’t tolerate the government doing that to us. Why does the media think it has the right to keep unpleasant news away from us?

It’s the news media’s job to answer questions, not to turn their head and pretend they didn’t hear the question.

The media’s opinion of what information should be provided to its consumers has now become dangerous. Big Tech, meaning of course Twitter, and as well as Google and Facebook, as well as traditional sources such as the legacy newspapers and broadcast networks, actively worked to suppress or ignore the Hunter Biden laptop story, which was revealed in October 2020 by the New York Post, as the presidential election season was underway. Yes, season–voting was already underway just about everywhere. Those media villains–I believe it’s fair to include those three Big Tech behemoths are part of the media–committed election interference. Think of a football game where the beat reporter for an NFL team is standing on the sidelines when the opposing team is about to score a touchdown–who then runs on to the field and tackles the player carrying the ball. Let’s call that wronged player “Trump.”

That’s what happened in 2020. 

What is the slogan of the Washington Post, which has so far has written just one story about the Twitter Files? Oh yeah, “Democracy dies in darkness.” At least the most recent time Clay Travis checked, which was this morning, the New York Times hasn’t reported on Taibbe’s Twitter revelations. Travis Tweeted a few hours ago, “It has now been two days since @twitter & @elonmusk posted actual emails & correspondence of internal documents relating to the Hunter Biden laptop censorship in 2020. The @nytimes has still not covered the story at all.”

In a story published today CBS news barely mentions Taibbi’s scoop–but it attacked Twitter owner Elon Musk. Oh yeah, attacking. A whole bunch of leftist journalists, propagandists really, went into that attack mode I discussed earlier, vilifying Taibbi for performing superb journalism.

And in regard to that Phelps story from ’05, it wasn’t just the Peoria Journal Star committing the sin of omission. You remember I said that back in the day conservative and liberal bloggers and journalists used to interact regularly about stories. I can’t find the email I sent so long ago, but I reached out to a big shot left-wing Chicago newspaper columnist about what the Peoria Pundit and I saw as media malpractice. His polite reply to me was something like this, “But if we report on Phelps and his hateful protests, then we are only doing what he wants–giving him publicity.” 

No, Mr. Newspaper Columnist, it is your job is to report the news. Not hide it, shape it, or twist it.

Democracy dies in darkness. So does the truth.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.