Dissident journalist Alex Berenson, a villain to the left because of his criticism of left-wing Covidian orthodoxy, has been tapped to produce the next public edition of the “Twitter Files.”
He first announced as much in a cheeky Twitter post he published on Friday.
Guess who’s coming to dinner?
The first meal is already plated.
And it’s delicious…#TwitterFiles
Happy birthday to me! pic.twitter.com/ACbbxd80uk
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) January 6, 2023
He soon after dropped an entire Substack post going into detail about how he’d just been granted his “first peek” at Twitter’s “records on the government and private pressures it has faced to censor free speech and debate.”
“Since buying Twitter in late October, Elon Musk has opened the files to a handful of journalists. He invited me about 10 days ago to look over Covid-related documents at Twitter’s headquarters in no-longer-beautiful downtown San Francisco,” he wrote.
“‘Look over’ is not entirely accurate, though. These files are not separate from Twitter’s other databases, they are part of them. What Musk is really offering is the chance to search Twitter’s systems seeking information about specific topics, in a process akin to discovery in civil lawsuits. Reporters ask for searches. Twitter turns over what it finds to be read or screenshotted at Twitter headquarters but retains the original documents.”
Berenson added that Musk has forced “no conditions” on him, meaning he may make use of the information in any way that he sees fit.
“Beyond that, I agreed to no conditions on how I will use the information from the files. I can write what I like and do not have to preclear anything with Musk or anyone else. I will redact the names of low-level Twitter employees who were not in decision-making roles — I agreed to this condition in my lawsuit discovery too,” he explained.
What lawsuit? The one he filed in late 2021 after he was suspended by Twitter for “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules.” The suit worked, because last year Twitter finally bent the knee and agreed to a settlement.
“In a landmark settlement, Twitter has publicly acknowledged that it wrongly sanctioned independent journalist Alex Berenson, and agreed to reinstate his suspended account,” Mercatornet reported.
Tell a friend.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) July 6, 2022
It was a lucky win for Berenson given how the case had been going.
“Most of the charges Berenson brought against Twitter, including his First Amendment claims, were dismissed by Judge William Alsup. The free speech claim against Twitter in particular was found to be unconvincing because Berenson’s lawyers failed to show that the federal government had a hand in Twitter’s actions,” according to Mercatornet.
“However, the judge did allow the plausibility of a breach of contract claim, meaning the claim that Twitter had failed to honour its contractual obligations toward Mr Berenson, including the fair application of its five-strike rule against tweets containing dangerous and misleading Covid information,” the outlet reported at the time.
It appears that this was enough to spur Twitter into bending the knee, though this isn’t known for certain.
As noted by Mercatornet, “[w]hy exactly Twitter made this out-of-court settlement, we may never know.”
Dovetailing back to the “Twitter Files,” it’s not clear when Berenson will drop the next installment. What’s known is that the one that’s expected to drop next, but not from Berenson, will be the “Fauci Files” edition.
As it stands, the “Fauci Files” were supposed to have dropped at the end of last week but have apparently been delayed:
Later this week
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 1, 2023
One of the more recent editions of the “Twitter Files” was published by left-wing journalist Lee Fang of The Intercept. This edition showed that pre-Musk Twitter had allowed the Pentagon to use its platform to conduct psyop campaigns.
And it’d done so despite pledging publicly — even reportedly to Congress — “to rapidly identify and shut down all state-backed covert information operations & deceptive propaganda,” as reported by Fang.
“But behind the scenes, Twitter gave approval & special protection to the U.S. military’s online psychological influence ops. Despite knowledge that Pentagon propaganda accounts used covert identities, Twitter did not suspend many for around 2 years or more. Some remain active,” the left-wing journalist reported last month.
In 2017, for example, U.S. Central Command requested that 52 Arab language accounts used to reportedly “amplify certain messages” be whitelisted so that they would be safe from flags and suspensions. Twitter eagerly complied.
Once whitelisted, the accounts were subsequently used to broadcast drone strike announcements, discuss certain legal issues, promote anti-Iran messages in Iraq, promote U.S. supported militias in Syria, etc.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 21, 2022
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