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Why Does the Media Keep Ignoring the Twitter Files?
From Honest Deceit to Lies of Omission
In August 2019, I took my debut comedy special, Orwell That Ends Well, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Edinburgh, the biggest arts festival in the world, can be a daunting task for a relatively new comic - with thousands of other shows to compete against getting bums on seats is notoriously difficult.
I was fortunate - coming in the wake of a viral story about my decision not to sign a “behavioural agreement contract” for a comedy gig, there was a lot of interest from mainstream publications and their reviews, which are gold dust to any comedian, were easier to come by as a result.
Thankfully, the show received a host of positive write-ups, as well as the handful of hit-pieces a comic should expect if they express any deviation from the usual left-liberal groupthink that dominates this country’s comedy industry. All par for the course.
But there was something missing. Something that could take the show to the next level. Something I had been craving all festival - the much-coveted grotesquely biased, vitriolic 1* review from the Guardian.
To get their reviewer uncontrollably spitting bile about your show is, for my money, a true mark of quality in today’s landscape. It’s a sign that rather than conforming to the cosy circle-jerk of comedy’s progressive dogma, you are actually pushing back against the dominant derangement of your time.
And so it was with genuine delight that I received a call from my agent a couple of weeks into the month-long festival:
“They’re coming to review tomorrow”.
The trap was set - the show was as good as it was going to be and I had a film crew there to record it. Giddy with anticipation, I went on stage the following day and gave it everything. The crowd responded in kind: big laughs, a few applause breaks and even a standing ovation at the end.
Not all of my shows went this well but I took it as a sign from above that the plan had worked: all we needed was the Guardian to do what the Guardian do. There is no better PR for a provocative comedy show than superimposing dishonest Guardian comments onto footage of audiences laughing and applauding.
I woke up the following morning full of excitement to check the Guardian’s website. Nothing.
A week went by.
Then the festival finished. And that was that1.
Say what you want about corporate media but they’re certainly not stupid. By 2019, they’d worked out that they no longer had the power to make or break careers. In previous decades, slamming my show would have killed it dead but now, thanks to social media, comedians and other content creators not only didn’t need their reviews, we had the power to use unfair criticism in our favour.
And so, over time, lies of omission became the media’s primary weapon. Today, they’re often the most powerful lies of all.
Why the Twitter Files Have Been Ignored
If you read that Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is dangerous, you are able to assess the claim on its merits and decide whether it is true for yourself. But if the media simply refuse to cover a story, the overwhelming majority of people will never get to make up their minds about it at all.
As I detailed here, British media spent several days covering the story of a black woman being asked where she is from like it was a terrorist attack. Front page headlines, endless interviews, panel debates, the lot.
The following day,published the first installment of the Twitter Files, which showed the extent of cooperation between elected officials and Twitter executives in banning users they disliked and censoring content, including the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Again, I woke up the following morning keen to see how the mainstream media would cover it.
They simply didn’t.
If you believe the story isn’t important, I challenge that notion in this Twitter thread.
But even if you don’t agree with my analysis, days laterpublished the next installment in which it was made clear that Twitter operated secret blacklists of users who hadn’t broken any rules. This included censorship of people like Dr Jay Bhattacharya, a recent guest on TRIGGERnometry, who was one of many serious people critical of Western lockdown policies.
The company which operates the digital public square secretly censored a prominent doctor and health scientist IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC and then LIED about it to the public.
Again, no media coverage.
The third installment covered the run-up to Twitter’s decision to ban Donald Trump, the sitting President of the United States, from their platform. It reveals extensive collaboration (read: instruction-taking) between the FBI and Twitter executives. It also shows that some people who did not break Twitter’s rules but had the wrong political views would be treated extra-harshly if they did eventually violate the rules.
In other words, rather than enforcing their rules, Twitter was looking for excuses to ban people their employees didn’t like (and remember, 96-99% of political campaign donations from Twitter employees and executives went to only one of the two major parties - no prizes for guessing which).
Again, no media coverage.
The fourth installment published byshowed that the Twitter executive pushing for Trump to be banned believed Trump and his team were “Nazis” and revealed the increasingly chaotic, make-it-up-as-you-go-along process for banning the sitting President of the most powerful country in the world from the digital public square.
Again, no media coverage.
In summary, the Twitter files show:
Extensive and politically biased cooperation between government officials and Twitter
Secret censorship of political opponents, medical experts and others in the middle of the biggest pandemic in living memory
Biased enforcement of rules, employment of knowingly biased staffers to make moderation decisions and punishment of users who had not broken rules
One of the executives who banned Trump from the platform said there were “Nazis in the White House” in 2017
Twitter repeatedly publicly lied about all of the above
For a group of people who spent 6 years screaming about “threats to democracy”, the mainstream media have been extraordinarily quiet about this clear and present danger to the democratic process.
They seem completely uninterested despite the obvious questions that need asking here:
What exactly was the nature of the cooperation between US intelligence agencies and Twitter?
Which other countries’ intelligence agencies was Twitter taking instructions from?
What was the nature of coordination between Twitter and other Big Tech companies like Facebook (which owns Instagram), Youtube (owned by Google) and others?
Did Jack Dorsey lie to Congress? (In 2018 he testified under oath that Twitter was not shadowbanning or censoring users)
What other malfeasance was going on at Twitter and other Big Tech companies?
These are just a few of the extremely obvious questions that the media is refusing to ask. Is that because they know how big the story is and don’t want to give it the ‘oxygen of publicity’ or have they genuinely convinced themselves that since this is a bad look for “their” team, it’s not a story worth covering?
As with the Hunter Biden laptop article which was censored by Twitter, the cover-up of the Twitter Files raises as many questions as the revelations themselves.
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Eventually, AFTER the festival was over the Guardian published an article (not a review) about of all the “right wing” comedians (i.e. comedians the Guardian disagrees with) in which we all got half a paragraph analysing our politics. No mention was made of how funny the show was or whether the public enjoyed it.