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    Facebook, Google, Twitter defend censoring Biden family corruption story; face Section 230 regulatory changes by Congress to protect 1st Amendment

    By Michael Hernandez

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—The executives of Facebook, Google, Twitter defended censoring the Biden family corruption story first reported by the New York Post, then later by the Wall Street Journal and Breitbart News during hearings held today by the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

    Big Tech companies have prevented the Biden scandal from posting on their platforms with Wikipedia citing the New York Post—the nation’s oldest newspaper established in 1801 by federalist and founding father Alexander Hamilton—as an “unreliable source” 

    The bombshell story that came out on Oct.14 details the Biden family’s business dealings in a “pay-to-play” scheme that allegedly netted millions if not billions in what conservatives are calling the “worst political scandal” in modern times.

    The New York Post scoop came after emails were obtained from a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden that show Burisma pushing Hunter to help them gain access to his father who was in charge of Ukraine policy under President Barack Obama. The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April, 2019 according to the store’s owner. The laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s late brother and former Delaware attorney general.

    Vice President Joe Biden has bragged (on video) of pressuring President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk into getting rid of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin by threatening to withhold a one billion U.S. loan guarantee during a December, 2015 trip to Kiev. “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” said Biden to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018. “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

    Shokin was investigating Burisma and all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden. An email dated May 12, 2014 (shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board—despite a lack of experience in the energy industry) shows Vadim Pozharskyi, a top executive for Burisma, attempting to get Hunter and his business partner, Devon Arches, who also sat on the Burisma board at the time, to use his political leverage to help the company.

    (Editor’s Note: To see the original Citizens Journal story go to the following link https://www.citizensjournal.us/big-tech-companies-war-with-president-trump-gop-over-hunter-biden-burisma/.)

    “Was it wrong for (Hunter) to take that position, knowing that it was really because that company wanted access to you,” asked NBC’s “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie to Joe Biden on a Feb. 3 interview. “Well, that’s not true. You’re saying things you do not know what you’re talking about,” said Joe Biden.

    Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (Texas); Lindsey Graham (South Carolina); and Josh Hawley (Missouri) requested Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Google CEO Sundar Pichai; and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before committee members today on the subject of: “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?”

    Dorsey, Pichai , Zuckerberg

    “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear, and why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?” asked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

    “You’re testifying to this committee right now that Twitter, when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that it has no impact on elections? Dorsey countered: “People have a choice of other communication channels.”   Senator Cruz responded: “Not if they don’t hear information. If you don’t think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?”

    Senator Cruz had said last week: We need to find out why Twitter “is abusing their corporate power to silence the press and cover-up allegations of corruption. Twitter and Facebook and Big Tech billionaires don’t get to censor political speech and actively interfere in an election. That’s what they are doing right now.”

    Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJO sent a letter to congressional leaders advocating for changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law passed in 1996, that prevents tech companies from being sued for user content posted on their platforms.

    “The events of recent days have made reform even more urgent. Today’s large online platforms hold tremendous power over the information and views available to the American people. It is therefore critical that they be honest and transparent with users about how they use that power. And when they are not, it is critical that they can be held accountable,” said the letter.

    “Under the current text of Section 230, an online platform that removes content in bad faith or that demotes the speech of others based on political viewpoint should not be entitled to immunity. That text provides immunity only for content removed ‘in good faith’ because it is ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable’—not merely because the platform operators themselves dislike or disagree with it.

    “Citizens are relying on the internet more than ever for commerce, entertainment, education, employment, and public discourse, and children are spending more time online, at times unsupervised, just as more and more criminal activity is moving online. All of these factors make it imperative that we maintain the internet as an open and safe forum.”

    The letter was signed by the U.S. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd and included the names of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR); and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle responded to accusations of bias and possible antitrust actions against the internet companies that have become larger and more powerful and more central to American political discourse and news distribution.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Section 230 is the internet’s most important law for free speech and safety. Weakening Section 230 protections will remove critical speech from the internet.”  According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Section 230…(removes) the threat of constant litigation we might otherwise face.”

    “You see what is going on with Big Tech, censoring these stories to try and get Joe Biden out of this impossible jam,” said President Donald Trump. “He’s in a big jam. He and his family are crooked and they got caught and now they’re being protected by Big Tech.

    “If Big Tech persists in coordination with the mainstream media, we must immediately strip them of Section 230 protections. It’s very simple. We’re going to take away their Section 230 unless they shape up.”

    President Trump’s battle with Twitter began the end of May when the company first added fact-check warnings to tweets that called mail-in-ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed” among other things which was then followed by the president accusing Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.” Previously, the social media platform had allowed all the President’s tweets to stand with a “hands-off approach” to political leaders.

    Both Twitter and Facebook have taken massive criticism for having key executives leave their companies to join the staff of Joe Biden or for hiring Democratic operatives that have worked for Joe Biden.

    Carlos Monje is the former Twitter Public Policy Director that left the social media company to join the transition team for Joe Biden. He will serve as co-chair of Biden’s infrastructure policy committee. He previously served as the director of agency review on the team preparing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s administration during the 2016 election and also worked on President Barack Obama’s 2008 national security working group.

    Facebook Executive Jessica Hertz is serving as general counsel for ethical issues on Joe Biden’s transition team. Hertz is responsible for “enforcement, oversight, and compliance.”

    Anna Makanju, Facebook’s Election Integrity official, is a former Joe Biden special policy adviser for Europe and Eurasia. She now works also as a legal expert for Facebook.

    Senator John Thune (R-SD) asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “How do you respond to (the) argument that there isn’t sufficient balance in terms of the political ideology or diversity in your companies and how do you deal with the lack of trust (this) creates among conservatives?”

    “I think having balance is valuable, and we will try to do that,” said Zuckerberg as he denied that he knew that Makanju had worked for Joe Biden.

    Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that Facebook was “reducing (the Hunter Biden’s stories) distribution on our platform.” The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the articles, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: “I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.”

    Twitter’s censorship “sets a bizarre precedent, implying that the company might become an arbiter of journalistic rigor or public interest and derails the conversation around platform accountability,” wrote Atlantic writer Kaitlyn Tiffany. “It’s hard to see how linking to a news outlet would constitute ‘directly’ distributing hacked content, or how Twitter would apply this interpretation of its own rules consistently. It’s an arbitrary decision.”

    Meanwhile, Fox News Tucker Carlson asked his viewership: “Where are the real journalists who make a living by freedom of the press?” The news anchor went on to report on the “cash for influence” Burisma scheme to engage Joe Biden through his son, Hunter.

    The Media Research Center recently found that employees of both Facebook and Twitter gave over 90 percent of their political contributions to Democrats for the 2020 cycle so far. This came after another recent report showed the overwhelming majority of campaign contributions from employees at big tech firms went to Democratic candidates.

    Glenn Greenwald, co-founding editor of The Intercept, a liberal award-winning news organization, attacked Facebook and Twitter for their censorship of the New York Post’s  article revealing Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s alleged meeting with executives of a Ukrainian energy firm in an article titled: “Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous That What They Censor.”

    “Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate,” writes Greenwald. “Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked.

    “For the crime of simply noting the story on Twitter, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was instantly vilified to the point where her name, along with the phrase ‘MAGA Haberman,” were trending on Twitter. “She is responsible for countless front-page Times stories that reflect negatively on the president; moreover, the 2016 Clinton’s campaign considered Haberman one of their most favorable reporters.”

    The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Twitter for an “illegal corporate in-kind contribution” to the Joe Biden presidential campaign. According to the RNC, Twitter “is a partisan actor, run by partisan Democrats” and is “using its corporate resources to provide active support for Joe Biden’s campaign in violation of federal law.”

    Meanwhile, the Biden campaign claimed that the New York Post story is “false” because Twitter censored it—while not denying any of the facts released. Jamal Brown, the national press secretary for the Biden campaign, said: “Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and are not true.”

    Joe Biden claimed during the second and final presidential debate that he had never talked to his son about his business dealings and that he had never benefited from any business transaction. The Biden campaign claims they are fighting a smear campaign based on Russian disinformation—a claim that was completely refuted by former Hunter Biden business partner, Tony Bobulinski, in an interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson yesterday.

    Bobulinski, is the CEO of a former joint venture between: James Biden; Hunter Biden; two other partners; and Ye Jianming, billionaire founder of a Chinese Communist Party energy conglomerate named CEFC China Energy with the joint venture incorporated in Delaware in 2017.

    (Editor’s Note: To see news developments reported by The Epoch Times go to: https://www.theepochtimes.com/joe-biden-and-the-biden-family-are-compromised-by-china-says-former-business-partner_3555550.html.

    While on paper a private enterprise, CEFC had a rare contract to store part of China’s strategic oil reserves, received financing from a regime-owned bank, and hired a number of former top officials from CCP-owned energy companies, according to Reuters. The company also had more layers of Communist Party committees than many private Chinese firms.

    Joe Biden has said that he has had no involvement in his son’s business dealings, a claim Bobulinski vehemently refuted. Bobulinski described two in-person meetings with Joe Biden, which he says were set up solely because Bobulinski was taking on the role of the CEO of SinoHawk LLC, the joint venture between the Bidens and Ye.

    Bobulinski addressed in more detail some of the corporate records, emails, and text messages he released to the media and authorities. He noted that one of the partners in the joint venture, Rob Walker, clarified in a 2017 text message that Hunter Biden’s mention of “my chairman” in a heated text message was a reference to his father.

    Bobulinski says he “came forward” against the Biden family because of disinformation claims that were initially made by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

    Tony Bobulinski, the former business associate of Hunter Biden, said he came forward on the record to speak about the Bidens’ overseas business dealings because of a claim made by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month. Schiff suggested that emails allegedly sourced from a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, were part of a Russian disinformation plot. 

    Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe later said the emails and surrounding reports weren’t disinformation, while the FBI didn’t dispute Ratcliffe’s claims.

    “When I saw Adam Schiff go on record, talking about Russian disinformation, after this email had been posted online by the New York Post … I was at the end of my rope,” Bobulinski said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last night.

    Schiff told CNN days that the report was a “smear from the Kremlin,” while Joe Biden and other Democrats later echoed the disinformation claim.

    (Editor’s Note: To see today’s Epoch Times story on why Bobulinski “came forward”: https://www.theepochtimes.com/bobulinski-says-he-came-forward-with-biden-allegations-because-of-russian-disinformation-claims_3555964.html .)

    According to Bobulinski: “I called [former business partner] Rob Walker and I told him that if that statement isn’t retracted by Congressman Schiff by midnight on Sunday, that I was going on record, and I was disclosing all the facts to the American government, to the American citizens, and the world. I was hoping the Bidens would do the right thing, or Schiff would retract his statement,” Bobulinski said.

    Bobulinski, 48, is a former four-year Navy veteran (a lieutenant) with top-level security clearances. He is the grandson of a 37-year Army Intelligence Officer and the son of a 20 plus year career Naval Officer and the brother of a 28-year career Naval Flight Officer.

    Besides, Big Tech companies censoring this story—CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC have either not covered the Biden corruption or diminished the story as Russian misinformation.

    (Editor’s Note: This story was assisted with some quotes taken from Breitbart News, Fox News, and The Epoch Times.)

     

    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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