December 5, 2022

The New York Times finally put up a story about the Twitter files. (Really, it's a story about the reaction to the release of the files.)

This went up yesterday. It doesn't have a time stamp, but I believe it went up in the evening, that is, 2 days after the files were released:

"Elon Musk, Matt Taibbi, and a Very Modern Media Maelstrom/A release of internal documents from Twitter set off intense debates in the intersecting worlds of media, politics and tech," by Michael M. Grynbaum.

Let's do a close read: 

It was, on the surface, a typical example of reporting the news: a journalist obtains internal documents from a major corporation, shedding light on a political dispute that flared in the waning days of the 2020 presidential race. But when it comes to Elon Musk and Twitter, nothing is typical. The so-called Twitter Files, released Friday evening by the independent journalist Matt Taibbi, set off a firestorm among pundits, media ethicists and lawmakers in both parties.

Even more atypical was the way the NYT contributed nothing at all.

It also offered a window into the fractured modern landscape of news, where a story’s reception is often shaped by readers’ assumptions about the motivations of both reporters and subjects.

The NYT ignored the initial story, but it's deigning to cover it now because of its larger and more general meaning: It's "a window into the fractured modern landscape of news." You mean, a news "landscape" not controlled by the NYT?

Well, they tried to control it by not seeing this story at all. They waited until it could be understood as a different story — the story of how fractured media reacted to Taibbi's tweets.

In this "modern landscape," readers make "assumptions about the motivations of both reporters and subject." That suggests that in the earlier "landscape," the one controlled by the NYT, we readers just believed what we were told.

I've been reading the NYT since the 1960s, when it was required reading at my Wayne, New Jersey high school, and we teenagers were taught, from Day 1, to read critically. Here's a specific example of bias, remembered more than half a century later: There's a front-page story about Richard Nixon's inauguration with a sentence that begins "In a gloomy drizzle that mantled the city" and ends with "President Kennedy's grave."

My history teacher made a lot of "assumptions about the motivations of both reporters and subjects," and though I'll critically read him too — as I think he would prefer — I'd say he deftly demonstrated that the NYT has a distinct liberal bias. I'm still reading it after all these years, though. I enjoy writing about the gloomy drizzle that mantles the slain President's grave whenever right-wingers come into power. 

So let's get on with it. Back to the new article:

The tempest began when Mr. Musk teased the release...

Oh! Ha ha. Immediately, I run into weather metaphor. Forget the mantling drizzle, this is a tempest!

I'll resist musing out loud about "teased the release."

The tempest began when Mr. Musk teased the release of internal documents that he said would reveal the story behind Twitter’s 2020 decision to restrict posts linking to a report in the New York Post about Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son, Hunter. Mr. Musk, who has accused tech companies of censorship, then pointed readers to the account of Mr. Taibbi, an iconoclast journalist who shares some of Mr. Musk’s disdain for the mainstream news media.

Published in the form of a lengthy Twitter thread, Mr. Taibbi’s report included images of email exchanges among Twitter officials deliberating how to handle dissemination of the Post story on their platform. Mr. Musk and Mr. Taibbi framed the exchanges as evidence of rank censorship and pernicious influence by liberals.

The stress is not on what was in the files — the story the NYT didn't even cover — but the wilful framing of the story by Musk and Taibbi. They wanted to make mainstream media and Twitter insiders look biased and unprofessional. If that was their motive — it's not news, it's a vendetta — that may be why NYT insiders chose to withhold attention. Let's not help them seize the modern media landscape. We should be the arbiters of what is news.

But then other news developed — the reaction to what Musk and Taibbi did:

Many others — even some ardent Twitter critics — were less impressed, saying the exchanges merely showed a group of executives earnestly debating how to deal with an unconfirmed news report that was based on information from a stolen laptop.

That's a great sentence. I'll bet a large percentage of NYT readers stop right there. Yep. That's good enough for me. The story is nothing. I'm as done with it now as I was when the NYT was just not talking about it at all. The executives were earnestly debating. And that laptop — it wasn't something voters could absorb and process right before the election. What the execs did was at least one acceptable resolution of the problem: Don't let us see it at all. We couldn't handle it. 

That's just what I'm imagining a large percentage of NYT readers thinking. I myself will go on:

And as with many modern news stories, the Twitter Files were quickly weaponized in service of a dizzying number of pre-existing arguments.

That is true. It's a shift away from what happened at Twitter. We're off and running on the real topic of the article: The reaction to Taibbi's tweets.

The Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who often accuses liberals of stifling speech, made the claim that the “documents show a systemic violation of the First Amendment, the largest example of that in modern history."...

I'm skipping a couple things. 

The next topic is Taibbi, "a polarizing figure in journalism circles." Polarizing, apparently, because he began on the political left but then was "skeptical of claims of collusion between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign."

On Friday, shortly before Mr. Taibbi’s report, Mr. Musk wrote, “This will be awesome” and added a popcorn emoji, the universal online symbol of fervent anticipation. Mr. Taibbi also said he agreed “to certain conditions” in exchange for the documents, but did not provide details.

That was bad. It didn't feel as though professional journalism was to come. And we were being elbowed to see it as a bombshell. I know it put me off. As I blogged on Saturday morning, I wanted a clear, orderly presentation of the information, not a popcorn event.

Skeptics of Mr. Taibbi seized on what appeared to be an orchestrated disclosure. “Imagine volunteering to do online PR work for the world’s richest man on a Friday night, in service of nakedly and cynically right-wing narratives, and then pretending you’re speaking truth to power,” the MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan wrote in a Twitter post.

I like that NYT is pointing out the apparent orchestration of the response and quoting those words — "PR work for the world’s richest man" — that were repeated by too many people who ought to have felt compelled to do their own original writing. [CORRECTION: The thing I liked didn't happen! The word "orchestrated" refers to what Musk and Taibbi did, not what their critics did.]

Mr. Taibbi clapped back on Saturday, writing: “Looking forward to going through all the tweets complaining about ‘PR for the richest man on earth,’ and seeing how many of them have run stories for anonymous sources at the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, White House, etc.”

Next, the article addresses the Times's own refusal to cover the story:

On Saturday, in a live audio session on Twitter, Mr. Musk said he was disappointed that more mainstream media outlets had not picked up Mr. Taibbi’s reporting. The New York Times requested copies of the documents from Mr. Musk, but did not receive a response.

The Times wanted their own access to the original materials and didn't get it. Musk insists that they take it second-hand as filtered through Taibbi. Come play on my media landscape. The Times didn't want to do it. The real media landscape is the one they have shaped and worked over all the long decades.

Mr. Musk said on Saturday that he had also given documents to Bari Weiss, a former editor and columnist at The Times whose Substack newsletter, Common Sense, bills itself as an alternative to traditional news outlets. Ms. Weiss declined to comment on Sunday....

That's got to be annoying. Weiss is doing her own work, and her departure from the NYT stands as a criticism of the way the Times has mucked up the old media landscape. We're all waiting to see how Weiss handles the documents. 

Perhaps the only universally accepted takeaway from the release of the Twitter Files was a sentiment that Mr. Taibbi himself expressed, in a headline on his Substack page that offered a preview of his upcoming posts. “Note to readers,” Mr. Taibbi wrote. “It’s about to get weird in here.”

That was bad, though. Taibbi leaned into the "popcorn" attitude that divided readers into partisan camps. He did not signal that he was going to provide professional journalism. If you want to rival old media, do better.

As for old media, they need to do better too.

98 comments:

Heywood Rice said...

On Saturday, on that live audio session on Twitter, Mr. Musk also said

"I have not read the Twitter Files so that's why my understanding is limited."

rastajenk said...

I saw a lot of weak attempts at Pouncing and Seizing this weekend.

Danno said...

The next topic is Taibbi, "a polarizing figure in journalism circles." Polarizing, apparently, because he began on the political left but then was "skeptical of claims of collusion between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign."

Taibbi is still on the left but is not marching in lockstep with every new leftist narrative.
He still is an old-style journalist that seeks the facts before making the conclusion, and I appreciate his reporting.

mezzrow said...

Thanks, Althouse. Applied cruelty is needed here for sure. My instinct is to go through the story and rewrite it through the Hunter Thompson filter, ending up with a coda that uses a tour of the various displays at Fountains of Wayne as metaphors for our current parlous condition. Tempest changes to shitstorm and we go from there.

I may try out a ChatGPT to do the job. If it's any good at all I'll put it up on my unused Substack. There is a strange banality to all of this, isn't there?

CStanley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enigma said...

Biased reporting is a lot like dating: One chooses to not see the negatives as they serenade a potential mate (to stretch the metaphor, the readers/advertisers of the NYT). Sometimes the 'honeymoon' following success lasts for years too, and 'reader romance' messaging is constantly updated for a business like the NYT.

In some dating situations the 'beer goggles' wear off or the shame of an ill-conceived one-night-stand becomes too much to stomach. Run run run away. The Hunter situation left the NYT hanging out to dry...not much credibility for the paper of record after 5+ years of systematic anti-Trump lies and systematic non-reporting because they were dating a crazy person (deranged lefties) and trying to keep crazy from running away or burning down Times Square.

Christopher B said...

Worth repeating

When Republicans screw up, that's the story.
When Democrats screw up, the Republican reaction is the story.

Dave Begley said...

Any mention in the story (behind the paywall) that the FBI had Hunter’s laptop for ten months and verified that it was, in fact, legit and not Russian disinformation?

Did the NYT discuss that the FBI worked with Twitter to censor the story?

Got to hand it to the NYT. That was a masterpiece of liberal spin and disinformation.

Great job, Ann.

Shouting Thomas said...

Burying the laptop story was only one element in the psy-ops campaign to sabotage of the 2020 election.

That campaign included:

- Deliberate release of the virus
- Illegal changes to state voting laws
- BLM reign of terror
- Economic sabotage by shutdown
- Russia collusion hoax

I’m tired of the “prove it” BS. I watched these things happen, right out in the open. The “prove it” BS is another tactic of the psy-ops campaign. It’s a form of emotional brutalization. Yes, I really was imprisoned in my home for a year and a half. As with the other items in my list, no proof is needed.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

Twitter is not a boardroom presentation platform. Hardly anybody goes to Twitter for that. People go to Twitter for an alternative distillation, a quick hit on what’s going on. Followed by memes that rebuttals the quick take or reinforce the quick take.

Emojis are deployed in the interest of saving time. If you want to read more than caricature that’s your prerogative. But I wouldn’t devalue its power to persuasively make a point, one after another and another. It’s the landscape some people are choosing and Musket is aiming to raise Twitter’s bottom before it hits the NYT bottom.

Kevin said...

Shorter NYT: Some people released some documents.

Readering said...

Echoes of Washington Post being behind the New York Times on the Pentagon Papers or vice versa on Watergate. Stakes don't seem as high this time, where it all seems related to Twitter new management trying to dump on old management and at same time increase eyeballs and revenue.

CStanley said...

That’s a great fisking of the NYT reaction.

One quibble though, I’m pretty sure that the orchestration they refer to was between Musk and Taibbi, so that was not a swipe at liberals who orchestrated their response, The Times did, however, frame this as opponents “seizing on” an event, using the formulation that’s often referred to as “Republicans pounced” when the sides are the reverse of what’s being described here. So I suppose that’s a very subtle and mild rebuke of the liberal media reaction.

gilbar said...

The stress is not on what was in the files — the story the NYT didn't even cover —

HOW Could the NYT cover it? They were ORDERED by the Stasi* (sorry, the FBI) NOT to cover it.
When the Stasi* (sorry, the FBI) ORDERS a free press to do something, that free press had BETTER do it

Stasi* "Shield and Sword of the Party"

wendybar said...

"Nowhere in this catty little piece is an admission that The New York Times did their own reporting that large chunks of the material on Hunter Biden's laptop was legitimate information -- which they buried on page A-20 in their print edition on St. Patrick's Day this year. "

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2022/12/05/new-york-times-finally-arrives-biden-spike-twitter-files-mondays

tim in vermont said...

We have denials of bio-labs in the Ukraine, but the laptop shows that Hunter Biden helped to arrange them, and evidence exists that it was on the behest of a man who stole hundreds of millions from Kazakhstan and who is pictured with Joe and Hunter Biden. This just seems like the kind of story that the New York Times and its readers purport to care about. Joe Biden has denied all involvement in Hunter’s business dealings, yet Hunter attends state dinners and was on the stage at the inauguration, and there is an email on the laptop requesting Hunter to make the Burisma investigation go away. How was Hunter supposed to do that without daddy’s help? Spoiler alert: A few weeks later, Hunter’s daddy fired the troublesome prosecutor, and has publicly bragged about it.

gilbar said...

“Imagine volunteering to do online PR work for the world’s richest man..

imagine volunteering to do online PR work for the world's SIXTH richest man: Carlos Slim*

Carlos Slim* Major stock owner of the New York Times

Brylinski said...

Today's WSJ lead editorial in their print edition entitled "The Twitter Censorship Files" begins with "Elon Musk's release of internal emails relating to Twitter's 2020 censorship is news by any definition, even if the mainstream media dismiss it."

Michael said...

Fascinating to read the string of “journalists” writing as a choir criticizing Matt for what they did not do but spinning it as though reporting was a PR move for Musk. Similar to those who discount stories based on where they appear whether it be Fox News or the NYT. alas.

Ann Althouse said...

@CStanley

Thanks. I'll have to think about that.

Kate said...

The popcorn emoji doesn't mean "fervent anticipation". It means a mud wrestling match is coming and the person (Musk) is going to sit on the sidelines and enjoy watching the others go at it. Despite the high-minded, disengaged tone the NYT chooses to take, Musk sees them as just one more combatant in the pit.

Ann Althouse said...

I did a correction.

Thanks again.

tim maguire said...

Not so long ago, we thought it put the Times into an awkward position when they reported on the reaction to a story that they did not report on. But it seems they don't find it awkward at all.

The attraction, of course, is that absent the fundamental facts of the story--by only talking about what people are saying about them--the Times is free to frame Taibbi's tweets any way it wants.

Which is important when you've cultivated an audience that demands to have its biases catered to.

Breezy said...

The NYT info model can’t compete with that of Twitter, now that free speech will be lifting its wings more robustly. That warms my heart. Thanks for highlighting that aspect, in particular, of this article.

tim maguire said...

Mr. Taibbi clapped back on Saturday, writing: “Looking forward to going through all the tweets complaining about ‘PR for the richest man on earth,’ and seeing how many of them have run stories for anonymous sources at the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, White House, etc.”

I would love it if Taibbi used this as a springboard to go after the "journalists" who are too chummy with the security state. Even if all the other claims don't quite live up to their billing and/or no smoking guns are found, this alone would make it all worth it.

lgv said...

Where are the Twitter correspondence on banning anything about the Steele dossier until it vetted? I agree there isn't much there there, at least for now. But, I have this feeling that if the lap top had an email from Hunter saying, "Dad, I wired you 10% from the Burisma deal to your other account. and Twitter internal correspondence included a direct agreement to suppress it, nothing would be different.

Chaswjd said...

“ It also offered a window into the fractured modern landscape of news, where a story’s reception is often shaped by readers’ assumptions about the motivations of both reporters and subjects.”

But journalist now tell us that they should no longer report on both sides of the story in order to “tell the truth.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/opinion/objectivity-black-journalists-coronavirus.html

Of course, the truth is determined by the journalist. Given that paradigm, how can readers not question the motivations of the reporters and subjects?

The alternative is to be good little sheep gratefully digesting whatever our journalistic betters choose to dollop out for us.

Mike Sylwester said...

skeptical of claims of collusion between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign

A Special Counsel studied this matter for a couple of years and found no collusion.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

Some people are hoping musket shoots thru Twitter’s bottom hull so much so they bought a stake in the company that makes 🍿

Mrs. X said...

“If that was their [Musk’s and Taibbi’s, I think] motive — it's not news, it's a vendetta”

See, this is a problem. The media then: It’s not news, it’s not even Hunter’s laptop. Or it’s not news, it was hacked. Or it’s not news, it was stolen. (They even repeat ‘stolen’ in this article. It was not stolen. It was abandoned by the drug addled Hunter.)

The media now: oh that? That’s old news. Why are you even bringing it up?

The mainstream media together with old Twitter (and maybe even with new Twitter; we’ll see) decided what people were or weren’t allowed to know. And now it’s, at this point what difference does it make.

Quayle said...

The NY Times generates revenue by flattering its readers with the core message that they are better then all those sweaty evil or idiotic low-life’s “over there.” It hardly warrants the time to dissect how they do it.

Howard said...

More ambrosia to fuel a few days of manic scampering on the great hamster wheel under the direction of the humbots pulling the strings.

Far away
Across the field
Tolling on the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

gspencer said...

Didya catch the phrase "stolen laptop?"

Not stolen. It was abandoned / forgotten-about by the big guy's good-for-nothing son.

Gusty Winds said...

The NYTs decides to finally catch up and write about what is now old news. The New York "Behind" the Times. Avant Guard journalism. Things now move faster than they can coordinate talking points and write their bullshit.

They are trying to suppress this corruption just like they did the Biden family corruption. Same old, same old. Enemies of the people.

Clay Travis 12/3: There is not one single article about @elonmuskor the @twitter email release last night on @nytimesapp this morning.

Elon Musk in response 12/3: That is because The New York Times has become, for all intents and purposes, an unregistered lobbying firm for far left politicians

That is the truth.

tim in vermont said...

the FBI sent a letter to Congress stating that it had nothing to add to the statement issued by DNI John Ratcliffe earlier in the week that Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the material found on it, was not the result of a Russian intelligence/disinformation operation.

The FBI had had the laptop for almost a full year, at this point, and certainly knew it was genuine.

Tina Trent said...

Joe Rogan actually exposed Twitter's inner workings in two interviews with Jack Dorsey and his sidekick hag attorney, Vijaya Gadde some two years ago. Gadde did most of the talking, and boy is she one scary velvet gloved fascist.

I'd prefer a truncheon to the skull to being psychobabbled into her sick and evil vision of social credit-style destruction.

I hope now she faces bad legal consequences for the real sedition she clearly conducted with the FBI during the election. And bragged about. Her FBI informants deserve prison too.

Dorsey just sounded addled. Maybe if he wasn't so chemically altered, he might have been smart enough to not volunteer such information to Rogan. And maybe if Rogan wasn't so chemically altered, he wouldn't have voluntarily castrated himself by selling his network while promising his listeners that he and his content would never be censored.

You can never get those balls back now, buddy.

Listen to the two Rogan/Gadde/Dorsey interviews. They're the most frightening peek into our future of speech and human suppression I've ever heard. The roadmap to 1984.

tim in vermont said...

This quotes an email from the laptop and fills it in with what was known at the time:

Burisma’s interest could not be more plainly stated by Pozharskyi, Burisma’s No. 3 official,l with respect to what Burisma wanted from its hiring of Blue Star. Burisma wanted to have a “list of deliverables” agreed upon, but understood why it might be problematic to put those in a contract agreement with “BS” — Blue Star. Burisma wanted meetings/communications with “high-ranking US Officials in Ukraine,” have the “US publicly or in private communications/comment expressing their “positive opinion” in support of Nikolay/Burisma….” and wanted that made to the highest level of decision-makers in Ukraine — the President, Chief of Staff, and Prosecutor General.

The “ultimate purpose was to close down for any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine.”

Burisma wanted the Obama Administration — “How about Joe Biden?” — intervene to shut down the investigations of Zlochevskyi.
- https://redstate.com/shipwreckedcrew/2020/10/21/266890-n266890

"And son of a bitch, the prosecutor was fired" - Joe Biden

Gusty Winds said...

Blogger Shouting Thomas said...
Burying the laptop story was only one element in the psy-ops campaign to sabotage of the 2020 election.

That campaign included:

- Deliberate release of the virus
- Illegal changes to state voting laws
- BLM reign of terror
- Economic sabotage by shutdown
- Russia collusion hoax


Thomas, like Musk is telling a plain and simple truth. It's hard to absorb if you didn't absorb it at the time, in real time.

Many now want to "move on" without reconciling those events. Even DeSantis supporters, of which I am one. But he doesn't stand a chance if the current power structure between the establishment, MSM, and deep state is broken.

That is pure make-believe, and pretend self preservation. At the moment, Twitter 2.0 is the only thing openly challenging those crimes. The NYTs was a huge part of those crimes.

Saint Croix said...

The NYT ignored the initial story, but it's deigning to cover it now because of its larger and more general meaning: It's "a window into the fractured modern landscape of news." You mean, a news "landscape" not controlled by the NYT?

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old-paper.

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old-paper.

Old paper, old paper, old paper

Missed the story

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old paper.

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old paper.

Too old, too slow, too mean, too dumb.

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old paper.

Not fast, not quick, not cool, so numb.

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old paper.

Yesterday's news forever!

Marx is right we swear it's true!

We're not a newspaper!

We're an old paper.

Steven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

One thing that bothers me, which was not emphasized here but is in the NYTimes article and has been emphasized by other critics, is the comment from Taibbi that he "had to agree to certain conditions". Critics say that it's an admission of bias. But, if you read the context, he is apologizing on his substack page for not releasing the news to his subscribers first. The condition he agreed to is to break the news on twitter.

Bob Boyd said...

The NYT said: Many others — even some ardent Twitter critics — were less impressed, saying the exchanges merely showed a group of executives earnestly debating how to deal with an unconfirmed news report that was based on information from a stolen laptop.

The laptop was not stolen. The NYT knows it wasn't stolen.

rhhardin said...

I'm still reading it after all these years, though. I enjoy writing about the gloomy drizzle that mantles the slain President's grave whenever right-wingers come into power.

Kennedy's grave has a perpetual gloomy drizzle feature.

Jamie said...

What the actual story is is not clear to me. To my mind, it's a big enough story that Twitter made a proactive decision not to allow the story to be run or discussed - Twitter execs decided not to allow investigative journalism to happen in their space (if you take their pretexts of "what if it's fake? What if it's 'mis- or disinformation?' at face value). Why not?

But now the WaPo and the NYT are making the case to their readers that the story is something else - WaPo frames it as "The Twitter Files don't bear out the idea that Democrat leadership bent Twitter to their will through coercion or threats" (the last clause implied by the "bent to their will" formulation), the NYT as "Even though it's ultimately not important, this phenomenon, which is not actually a 'story,' highlights the change in how news consumers consume news, so let's examine it in detail, as a J-school question."

And neither what I said not what they say addresses the story of "Is or was our president involved in an influence-buying scheme?"

Jamie said...

Adding to my prior comment - another aspect of the story is, "To what extent, if any, did Twitter's (and everybody else's) decision not to allow, much less encourage, the laptop situation to be reported on affect the outcome of the 2020 election?"

Original Mike said...

"The laptop was not stolen. The NYT knows it wasn't stolen."

Yeah, but their readers don't.

typingtalker said...

Many years ago, I realized that mass-media (TV, radio, newspaper) stories on subjects and topics about which I had some knowledge, were usually full of errors.

If these were wrong, why should I have any confidence in the rest of their stories?

Today we can "Cut out the middleman -- go direct to the source."

wendybar said...

"The current “media”—loosely defined as the old major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, the network news channels, MSNBC and CNN, PBS and NPR, the online news aggregators like Google, Apple, and Yahoo, and the social media giants like the old Twitter and Facebook—are corrupt.

They have adopted in their news coverage a utilitarian view that noble progressive ends justify almost any unethical means to obtain them. The media is unapologetically fused with the Democratic Party, the bicoastal liberal elite, and the progressive agenda."

https://amgreatness.com/2022/12/04/how-corrupt-is-a-corrupt-media/

wildswan said...

In today's fractured news environment some know the truth as much as two years ahead of others, i.e., Russia "collusion", Covid, Twitter suppression of conservatives, the Hunter Biden laptop story. A conservative usually is years ahead on the truth and has to keep track of where others are on the story in order to maintain civility. But I also think that liberals are using being behind on the facts as a filter. People are losing their jobs and their place in life because Stasi-types detect their advanced news knowledge and refuse them jobs and promotions. State legislatures should look into how conservatives are being denied posts in universities in conservative or in evenly divided states. I'm sure the committees are using "aware of facts" as a criteria for exclusion. As a society we need to be aware and as a society we won't survive without conservatives, that is to say, people aware of facts, other than facts of power.

BothSidesNow said...

I emailed a link to this blog post to a friend who read the NYT. Here is his reply:

Ok, ok. I confess. I'm one of those. You know:

That's a great sentence. I'll bet a large percentage of NYT readers stop right there.

And that indeed is exactly where I stopped reading the article. Mea culpa.

Spiros said...

The NY Times and the Democratic Party waged a stunningly effective disinformation campaign. The Russian hacking angle was demonstrably false, it was not even clever. It is obvious that Hunter Biden is a disgusting, worthless thief. Yet legacy media and Big Tech hoodwinked the entire population. This disinformation campaign worked because Democrats have a profound sense that politics is the work of elite conspiracies rather than popular movements. It just made more sense to these people that what was happening was the work of an outside force like the Russian government.

Marcus Bressler said...

The laptop was not "stolen". It was left at a repair shop and abandoned. It became the legal property of the repair shop owner after a period of time specified in the agreement to repair/claim check when Hunter Biden failed to claim it and pay for the repair.

The NYTimes lies. No suprise.

Marcus B. THEOLDMAN

Lurker21 said...

Yes, I also remember the flicks where the NYT was worrying about getting scooped by WaPo or WaPo was angsty about the NYT getting the story first. Crusty editors who pound on their desks and lots of chatter about the Pentagon Papers. Looking back it all feels like fiction. They both get scooped by NYPo or Twitter in a big way, and they don't care, and their readers don't care. Nowadays the big headline is "Other People Reacted To Something We Wished You Didn't Know About."

Joe Smith said...

The laptop WAS NOT FUCKING STOLEN!!!

They can't (or more likely won't) get this simple fact right.

@AA...I understand why you would read the NYT for food, fashion, movie reviews, whatever.

But if you're reading it for news, it should only be a guide for what is not actually real.

In other words, if the NYT thinks something is important, it is 100% leftist bullshit. Guaranteed.

tim in vermont said...

Biden won by 44,000 total votes, per NPR.

Gusty Winds said...

Blogger Joe Smith said...
The laptop WAS NOT FUCKING STOLEN!!!

No it wasn't and the NYTs knows this. So do their deep state handlers. They count on their fading loyal readers to take their word for it. You have to be willfully gullible to believe anything the NYTs prints.

I saw one excuse for the cover up was "how could anybody believe a rich guy like Hunter Biden would just drop a laptop off at a small computer shop with all that damning content?"

Easy. Hunter was a crackhead. If you've ever met one this is no surprise at all.

Original Mike said...

"Looking back it all feels like fiction. They both get scooped by NYPo or Twitter in a big way, and they don't care, and their readers don't care. "

Don't forget the National Enquirer.

Michael K said...

Tina Trent said...

Joe Rogan actually exposed Twitter's inner workings in two interviews with Jack Dorsey and his sidekick hag attorney, Vijaya Gadde some two years ago. Gadde did most of the talking, and boy is she one scary velvet gloved fascist.


I wonder if anyone will ever write a story about how the tech industry is being run by a group of high caste, wealthy Indians whose social outlook is mostly a Feudal one? I suspect no one will touch it because they are POCs. You can kind of see it in the book about Theranos. "Sunny," Holmes' boyfriend was a tyrant in that company.

Gusty Winds said...

Corrupt establishments have always been fearful of new forms of communication being used by the masses.

The Catholic Church didn't want the Bible translated from Latin to any other language. They wanted to tell you what it said and how it should be interpreted. Bible translators were tortured and burned.

You think the NYTs wouldn't want to see Musk burned at the stake??

The printing press and a few brave souls like Martin Luther changed all that by challenging a corrupt Catholic Church leadership. So did the expansion of literacy. It's why entities like to keep their readers stupid. Even the most credentialed.

Musk is doing the same thing. The technology and stakes are just bigger.

Imagine if Martin Luther could have posted his 95 Thesis on Twitter. Of course the NYTs would have ignored and lied about that too. They are no better than the indulgence sellers of the middle ages.

Today the Godless elite don't want to sell you indulgences to get you out of purgatory. They want to sell you carbon credits so you can live your life on earth in their totalitarian purgatory. They also want to sell you snake oil elixirs which killed a shitload of people for profit. They just don't call it and elixir. They call it a "vaccine".

Elon Musk is a Martin Luther trying to push through a righteous reformation. Come on in. Everyone is welcome.

Bob Boyd said...

Don't forget the National Enquirer.

Because enquiring minds want to know, but NYT readers don't.

Iman said...

As if the NYT and their readers would EVER acknowledge the truth if it disadvantaged them.

They are not known for honesty, but blinders and earplugs do provide them some momentary comfort.

Anthony said...

Media/Democrats: It's nothing. If it's not nothing, it's not a big deal. If it's a big deal, it's a good thing. If it's a bad thing, it's old news.

Yancey Ward said...

"Even more atypical was the way the NYT contributed nothing at all."

This was the funniest sarcasm I have seen all week. Well done, Ms. Althouse!

D.D. Driver said...

Taibbi is still on the left but is not marching in lockstep with every new leftist narrative.

This is where the distinction between "liberals" and "progressives" comes into play. They both want the same results, but liberals realize that the results are meaningless if we destroy civil liberties to get there. Liberals care about free speech and due process. Progessive see these things as barriers getting in the way of "justice." Progressive will do (and have done) whatever it takes to get the results they want. ("Three generations of imbeciles are enough.")

Althouse, Dershowitz, Taibbi, Greenwald, Turley, etc. at the last remaining liberals.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Biden and Hunter stuffed their pockets will dirty international pay to play money - and the hack-D press do not care.

Lars Porsena said...

"Joe Rogan actually exposed Twitter's inner workings in two interviews with Jack Dorsey and his sidekick hag attorney, Vijaya Gadde some two years ago. Gadde did most of the talking, and boy is she one scary velvet gloved fascist."

If you watched that episode it was Tim Pool who was doing the exposition. Rogan had him do the work so he (Rogan) wouldn't make Dorsey (a sponsor) upset.

rcocean said...

Breaking it down:

It’s too bad Twitter ceased to exist several weeks ago - Sarcasm Warning! Twitter is still here.

when those layoffs happened and everyone shifted to Mastodon; -Sarcasm Warning! - Obvious if you know almost no one has "Shifted to Mastodon".

I used to like posting there. - sarcasn warning! Matt is posting on Twitter.

Sebastian said...

"set off intense debates in the intersecting worlds of media, politics and tech"

Intense debates that resulted in squashing any discussion of Hunter's laptop, so as to support Dems.

Intersecting worlds, in which some intersections are stronger than others, so as to favor Dems.

Anyway, the Hunter saga reveals, as if we didn't know already, what the NYT means by "news that's fit to print."

rcocean said...

Great Analysis!

Personally, I get upset when people like taibbi write stuff like "its going to get weird" or people on the Center-right start talking about "Pass the popcorn". This isn't a game. Twitter's censorship probably cost Trump the election and got us Joe Biden.

Now, if you think it doesn't matter who is POTUS or controls the congress, and what they do doesn't matter, well go eat your popcorn. In fact, put down the popcorn and stop following politics all together. It gets even odder when people on the center-right INVOLVED IN POLITICS, take this "haha isn't this all amusing" attitude. Its all part of that conservative loser mentality. "Hey lets make a wry comment while the Left runs things".

As for Taibbi's "Weird" comment. That sort of comment just makes things unserious. "Weird" is one of those words which are meaningless. "Strange"? OK. So, what? How is Twitters censorship "strange"? As opposed to what?

rcocean said...

I assume NYT's censored the story in 2020. ANd/or labeled it "Russian disinformation". So, they're more or less stuck on the "Musk and Republicans pounce".

Probably the most hypocritical thing was the NYT's demanding original documents. Sure, NYT. This is a paper that has constantly and repeatedly lied about Trump and Republicans based on made-up "unnamed Sources" and "anonymous quotes".

Not to mention constantly repeating a AP/NBC/ABC/CBS/Wapo/WSJ/PBS story and saying they "Confirmed it" when they actually did nothing of the sort! When they like a story, its print first, facts later (if at all). When they don't like it, its we need to verify it by ourselves or its not true.

Readering said...

I wonder if the saga of Hunter's laptop had any effect on the electronic device repair business in US.

Butkus51 said...

if one were solely to rely on the Chicago Sun-Times for news, they wouldnt know a lot of things.

The Sun-Times is a dumbed down as you can get. Letters to the editor, everything.

NYT is exactly the same, but costs a whole lot more.

Plus, We KNOW they bs, we know it.

yet.........here we go....again

Rabel said...

In her expressions of frustration with her old favorites in the media Althouse used the word "wilful" and mentioned her childhood school days.

The spelling looked odd to me so I looked it up, because spelling is important.

I ended up at Grammerly and while they generally favored "willful," the drawing they used to illustrate the word was this.

It seemed to fit the situation.

traditionalguy said...

The FBIstapo once only covered up all facts with faked facts to protect DC powers. Since Obama/ Pelosi they have morphed into producers, directors, script writers and casting and prop:!costume agents for a Hollywood level movies like the Attack of the White Supremacists and Invasion of the 800 foot MAGA Men and Second Amendment Hell.

Matt Taibbi is a fine writer that fairly presents mostly the truth.

robother said...

As noted on Insty, the NYT is breaking news in this report after all, describing the laptop as "stolen"! Be interesting to see what evidence their crack reporter and fact-checkers uncovered for this new assertion. I wouldn't hold my breath for a correction if it turns out the NYT reporter just made it up.

Ann Althouse said...

“Wilful” is the traditional spelling. It’s like “judgment” and “judgement.” You can keep the tradition or favor spelling the component is the conventional way.


Todd Seibt said...

Pretty good fisking, but missed an important point:

The NYT baldly says the laptop was "stolen."

It was not. It was left at a repair shop by a drug-addled sex addict, who failed to reclaim it. As such, it became property of the shop.

Back when I was in journalism school, such a factual error earned the writer an automatic F.

mccullough said...

“The Times, which received a Pulitzer Prize for publishing false information from unnamed sources who knew the information was false about Trump’s collusion with Russia, says . . . “

Mark Felt was Deep Throat.

“The rain pelted the grave of President Kennedy, a pain pill addict who had sex with multiple young woman who worked for him at The White House . . . “

“Richard Nixon, who was right that Alger Hiss was a spy for the Soviet Union . . . “

JaimeRoberto said...

Totalitarian societies don't have the problem of fractured media landscapes.

Drago said...

Readering: "I wonder if the saga of Hunter's laptop had any effect on the electronic device repair business in US."

That depends.

What percentage of customers for electronic device repair businesses are crack head/meth head sons of politicians being paid millions by foreign governments for shading US govt policy while sleeping around with underage trafficked prostitutes while also sleeping with dead brother's wives while also knocking up stripper baby mama's?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this cautionary tale of documented Biden family corruption will affect only a very, very, very small (some might say, singular individual) sized customer segment.

Drago said...

"Taibbi is still on the left but is not marching in lockstep with every new leftist narrative."

D.D. Driver: "This is where the distinction between "liberals" and "progressives" comes into play. They both want the same results, but liberals realize that the results are meaningless if we destroy civil liberties to get there. Liberals care about free speech and due process. Progessive see these things as barriers getting in the way of "justice." Progressive will do (and have done) whatever it takes to get the results they want. ("Three generations of imbeciles are enough.")

Althouse, Dershowitz, Taibbi, Greenwald, Turley, etc. at the last remaining liberals."

At long last, agreement. Well stated.

Brylinski said...

Ann, was Hunter Biden's laptop stolen? I thought it was established that Hunter Biden signed the receipt at the computer repair place when he took it there.

Will the NYT issue a correction re: stolen?

tim in vermont said...

Does anybody else find it odd that they are trying to put Trump in jail for paying off Stormy Daniels as an unreported campaign contribution and nobody has any problem with Twitter silencing the Biden's and the DNC's critics on-line for no charge?

tim in vermont said...

The suppression of the laptop in contravention of Twitter's own policies is the largest in-kind contribution one can imagine. Far bigger of a deal than paying off Stormy Daniels.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Apologies being late to the thread. I recall a tectonic shift in the reporting of Biden's daughter's "showering" diary under her mattress at the half way house. What started out as "found" by another person under the mattress at the half way house, to being a "stolen" diary after the contents were published. According to NBC the FBI was investigating the possible theft...(Nov 7, 2021 Heavy), and others.

Readering said...

Did Twitter confiscate all copies of the NY Post? Seize all copies of the hard drive. Folks are just upset that the Trump Administration and Trump campaign and Trump acolytes in the Murdoch Empire didn't persuade enough people not to vote for Biden. And 2 years later still did not persuade enough people not to vote for candidates of his party. And so have reason to believe that in another 2 years Hunter Biden's laptop still won't matter anywhere as much as they seem to think it should, even with Twitter now in the hands of a super rich guy telling everyone to vote Republican.

Drago said...

readering: "Did Twitter confiscate all copies of the NY Post? Seize all copies of the hard drive. Folks are just upset that the Trump Administration and Trump campaign and Trump acolytes in the Murdoch Empire didn't persuade enough people not to vote for Biden."

The Murdochs supported Biden.

Try to keep up.

tim in vermont said...

readering has a point. The press is simply copasetic with Joe Biden's influence peddling, the press doesn't care what kind of stake Joe Biden stands to lose in Ukraine if we don't keep sending weapons to the nazis. They don't even have to defend Biden, because they know he's indefensible, they have the power to ignore it. Billionaires control the press, and ultimately, Twitter can only magnify what the press reports.

They also know that they can use prosecutorial discretion to punish Republicans for the tiniest arguable infraction of any law, and to allow Democrats to skate on the most egregious black-letter violations.

Iman said...

Howard hears “The Call of the Dog Whistle”…

Loud and clear.

Dude1394 said...

It is heart warming to see the the jornolist is still alive and well, doing "PR for the democrats". I wonder what it is called now and what is the mechanism where they all get their talking points?

Not twitter, mass emails? Hidden facebooks pages? Wonder where the new jornolist is.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Do any of these journolists ever investigate events, obtain facts, and publish them as news anymore?
It seems like all they do is read Twitter and then talk about it in their opinion laden articles.

Drago said...

BUMBLE BEE: "Apologies being late to the thread. I recall a tectonic shift in the reporting of Biden's daughter's "showering" diary under her mattress at the half way house. What started out as "found" by another person under the mattress at the half way house, to being a "stolen" diary after the contents were published. According to NBC the FBI was investigating the possible theft...(Nov 7, 2021 Heavy), and others."

Oh, our resident lefties narrative power-flexxed to the "fathers showering with their daughters is a perfectly normal thing!" temporary limited modified hangout position some time back.

Inga, gadfly and victoria from Pasadena were all over that one months and months ago.

Prince Hal said...

TypingTalker:

Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Term coined by Michael Chrichton after Murray Gell-Mann.

Achilles said...

Readering said...
Did Twitter confiscate all copies of the NY Post? Seize all copies of the hard drive. Folks are just upset that the Trump Administration and Trump campaign and Trump acolytes in the Murdoch Empire didn't persuade enough people not to vote for Biden. And 2 years later still did not persuade enough people not to vote for candidates of his party. And so have reason to believe that in another 2 years Hunter Biden's laptop still won't matter anywhere as much as they seem to think it should, even with Twitter now in the hands of a super rich guy telling everyone to vote Republican.

At least Readering has accepted that she and the democrats are just fascist amoral shitheads.

Readering said...

Murdoch supported Trump in 2020.
For his troubles he's being deposed next week in the $1.6 billion defamation case over the Trump campaign's voting voting machine lies, amplified by the Murdoch empire.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

VDh:

"The current “media”—loosely defined as the old major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, the network news channels, MSNBC and CNN, PBS and NPR, the online news aggregators like Google, Apple, and Yahoo, and the social media giants like the old Twitter and Facebook—are corrupt. 

They have adopted in their news coverage a utilitarian view that noble progressive ends justify almost any unethical means to obtain them. The media is unapologetically fused with the Democratic Party, the bicoastal liberal elite, and the progressive agenda. 

The result is that the public cannot trust that the news it hears or reads is either accurate or true. The news as presented by these outlets has been carefully filtered to suppress narratives deemed inconvenient or antithetical to the political objectives of these entities, while inflating themes deemed useful. 

This bias now accompanies increasing (and increasingly obvious) journalistic incompetence. Lax standards reflect weaponized journalism schools and woke ideology that short prior basic requisites of writing and ethical protocols of quoting and sourcing. In sum, a corrupt media that is ignorant, arrogant, and ideological explains why few now trust what it delivers.
Suppression

Once a story is deemed antithetical to left-wing agendas, there arises a collective effort to smother it. Suppression is achieved both by neglect, and by demonizing others who report an inconvenient truth as racists, conspiracist “right-wingers,” and otherwise irredeemable. 

The Hunter Biden laptop story is the locus classicus. Social media branded the authentic laptop as Russian disinformation. That was a lie. But the deception did not stop them from censoring and squashing those who reported the truth. "

readering said...

Gibberish

RigelDog said...

The laptop wasn't "stolen."