Aletho News


‘Tucker Twitter Files’ Reveal How WHO Helped Twitter Censor Tucker Carlson

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | April 28, 2023

Tucker Carlson made headlines this week for being suddenly ousted by Fox News — but in the latest release of the “Twitter files” the former news commentator made headlines for a different reason.

The documents, titled the “Tucker Twitter files,” released Thursday by investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker, show that in June 2021, Twitter sought to censor Carlson after he published an op-ed for Fox News saying that the COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous for children.

Carlson’s op-ed cited information that was, up until that point, publicly viewable on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website. However, after Carlson’s op-ed was published, that information disappeared from the site.

The files released Thursday also reveal that Twitter executives held internal debates over how best to censor the content in Carlson’s op-ed — an initiative that was led by a former press secretary for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In an exclusive interview with The Defender on Thursday, Thacker expounded on the significance of these findings — and hinted at what the next “Twitter files” dump might reveal.

Twitter ‘clipping Tucker Carlson’s wings’

Thacker, who wrote about his findings on his Substack, said that the “bird factory” — referring to Twitter — engaged in “clipping Tucker Carlson’s wings” via its attempted censorship of his op-ed.

Despite being “controversial and polarizing,” Thacker said, Carlson was “One of the few Americans to challenge the official framework of acceptable narratives” and, as such, was “hated by the mainstream reporters for daring to throw darts at liberal pieties.”

“Why did Twitter censor Tucker Carlson? Better yet, who helped Twitter do that?” Thacker asked.

Thacker noted that while he was “reading an endless sea of #TwitterFiles” pertaining to efforts to “censor alleged ‘COVID misinformation,’” he unexpectedly discovered documents detailing attempts to censor Carlson.

These efforts appear to have begun on June 24, 2021, when Elizabeth Busby, a policy communications specialist with “Twitter Comms,” sent an email to colleagues inquiring if an op-ed Carlson had written the previous day should be flagged for COVID-19 “misinformation.”

In her email, Busby inquired whether links to Carlson’s op-ed “violate our COVID-19 misleading information policy and qualify for enforcement under our URL policy.” She added, “We’ve seen some Tweets with the link … and some that contain counterspeech.”

In the same message, Busby noted that “in the past,” Twitter had applied a boilerplate warning “to sites containing COVID-19 misinfo” and “Given Tucker’s visibility, we anticipate there may be some press interest regardless of the enforcement outcome.”

Thacker discovered that Busby was not just an ordinary Twitter employee. She joined Twitter in 2020, after leaving the U.S. Senate, where she worked as the deputy national press secretary to then-Senate Majority Leader Schumer.

According to Thacker, “Busby’s work history includes a stint at SKDKnickerbocker, a PR and lobby shop closely aligned with the Democratic party. Busby now leads ‘trust and safety communications’ at Twitch.”

He also noted that Schumer was “a frequent critic of Tucker Carlson.”

WHO ‘stealth-edited’ its COVID vaccine guidance for children after Carlson’s op-ed

What was all the fuss about? Carlson’s June 23, 2021, op-ed for Fox News — “The COVID vaccine is dangerous for kids, Big Tech doesn’t want you to know that” — referred to language available on the WHO’s website that explicitly did not recommend the COVID-19 vaccines for children.

In that op-ed, which was adapted from Carlson’s opening commentary on that day’s broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” he referred to then-new guidance from the WHO and also recommendations from medical experts.

Carlson said:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, key pieces of medical guidance from the World Health Organization have proven to be disastrously false — false enough to cost lives. It was the WHO, you’ll remember, that told us COVID couldn’t be transmitted between people, even as the virus was spreading into the United States. It was the WHO that worked in stealth with the Chinese government to obscure the source of the outbreak at the beginning, and then hide its origins from the world. …

“… bureaucrats at the WHO published new vaccine guidance. Here’s what it says: Children should not take the coronavirus vaccine. Why? The drugs are too dangerous. There’s not nearly enough data to understand the long-term effects or to show that the benefits are worth the risk that they bring.

“This is terrible news, of course, for the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma has been planning to test the vaccine on 6-month-olds.”

According to Thacker, the WHO published an evaluation of vaccine safety and efficacy on April 8, 2021, for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

For children, the WHO issued the following recommendation:

“Children should not be vaccinated for the moment. There is not yet enough evidence on the use of vaccines against COVID-19 in children to make recommendations for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults. However, children should continue to have the recommended childhood vaccines.”

The information that Carlson appears to have referenced was still on the WHO’s website as of June 22, 2021, according to Thacker. However, after Carlson’s op-ed was published, the WHO “stealth-edited their page,” according to Thacker, and replaced it with new guidance, which stated:

“Unless they are part of a group at higher risk of severe COVID-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers.

“More evidence is needed on the use of the different COVID-19 vaccines in children to be able to make general recommendations on vaccinating children against COVID-19.

“WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) has concluded that the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above.”

“In other instances where the WHO has updated their vaccine guidance, they note this change with a date at the top of the webpage,” Thacker wrote. “But no update exists for changes the WHO made the day of Tucker’s essay.”

Thacker added:

“While some of the language in Tucker’s piece could be viewed as inflammatory — the WHO did not say the vaccines were ‘dangerous’ — independent experts also were advising that children not receive the COVID vaccines, as rare but serious adverse events were not studied.”

The subtitle to Carlson’s op-ed read: “Even posting WHO guidance could get you censored.”

On April 10, 2021, WHO tweeted: “#COVID19 trials for children are under way. Following proven health measures is still the best way to keep everyone, including children, safe from COVID-19.” The tweet remains online to this day.

Twitter sought to censor Carlson while avoiding ‘political risks’

According to Thacker, the day after the WHO “stealth-edited” its vaccine guidance, Twitter officials began discussing Tucker’s essay — after Busby brought it to their attention.

Twitter employee Brian Clarke responded to Busby’s June 24, 2021, email that same day, writing, “We are going to proceed with labeling any Tweets linking to the article we detect that advance the claim that WHO has deemed the vaccine dangerous for children.”

However, Clarke said, “Given that this article’s narrative is related to ‘big tech censorship’, I want to be mindful that taking action on the URL level could lead to this particular article gaining more traction rather than mitigating the harm associated with it.”

“We’re going to keep an eye on any ongoing discussions related to the article and if it happens to gain traction we will review again under our URL guidelines,” Clarke added.

According to Thacker, “Twitter officials also discussed looping in top Twitter execs, such as the general counsel, due to the ‘political risks’ associated with such actions. Yoel Roth [then-head of Trust and Safety for Twitter] agreed with this approach to ‘escalate.’”

This included a recommendation that then-general counsel for Twitter Vijaya Gadde review any actions taken against Fox News, “given political risks,” while Roth stated that any action against Fox would be “escalated” internally within Twitter.

Joseph Guay, at the time Twitter’s senior policy specialist for “misinformation,” then shared an email with Busby, Clarke and other Twitter personnel, advising them on various options they had available to them to take action against tweets containing a link to Carlson’s op-ed, without directly censoring Fox News.

Thacker noted that Guay, who “seems to have made the [final] call on Tucker’s op-ed,” departed Twitter earlier this year for a position as TikTok’s “Global Policy Lead on Deceptive Actors & Behaviors.”

Upon departing Twitter, Guay, in a post on his LinkedIn page, referred to his work at Twitter policing “the bad guys”:

“Our teams worked tirelessly to ship bold new policies (such as the COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy, or the Crisis Misinformation Policy) to prevent virulent misinformation and cognitive manipulation from bringing harm to vulnerable people.

“I remain as committed as ever to building resiliency to weaponized information, and making it a little harder for the bad guys.”

Guay’s LinkedIn profile states he is engaged in “fighting information threats globally.”

Thacker also noted that Twitter’s apparent distaste for Carlson was evident in more than just this instance.

“Tucker Carlson would have never known this happened, but when Twitter held a meet and greet months, later, they wrote of Tucker’s producer, ‘[I]t was pretty apparent from the get-go we understood the very different goals we have at work,’” Thacker tweeted, referencing internal Twitter documents regarding a meeting between Twitter officials and Alex Pfeiffer, Carlson’s producer.

Thacker wrote:

“Months after Twitter took action against tweets advancing claims in Tucker’s essay, the company met with reporters in New York to strengthen ties with journalists covering social media.

“In their assessment of reporters, one Twitter official noted of Tucker’s producer, Alex Pfeiffer, ‘[I]t was pretty apparent from the get-go we understood the very different goals we have at work, this was mainly to relationship build.’”

In remarks he shared with The Defender, Thacker noted that Twitter was attempting to strike a balancing act between censoring Carlson’s narrative while not running afoul of Fox.

“They were trying to limit Tucker Carlson’s impact,” he said, “and they were doing it in a way that they would not be brought into direct conflict with Fox.”

According to Thacker, this balancing act nevertheless belied Twitter’s political bias.

“There’s this issue they had with conservative media, and they’re biased in one direction,” Thacker told The Defender. “The way you know this is that the person who brings it to their attention is the former deputy national press secretary of Sen. Chuck Schumer.”

Thacker said that while some of what Carlson had written in his op-ed was “inflammatory,” it nevertheless “wasn’t inaccurate.” He added:

“The WHO edited its website on the same day Tucker’s article came out, and the next day, Twitter starts to go after his story. What do you say about that? Who does Twitter work for?

“Apparently, you don’t question the WHO, or you don’t write what the WHO says. It shows you that you cannot trust these social media people. They are in the tank in one direction.”

Furthering this point, Thacker highlighted a potential conflict of interest between Twitter and one of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, J&J. In Thacker’s previous “Twitter files” revelations, he found that Twitter partnered with J&J on a COVID-19 vaccine “marketing strategy.”

Such efforts were not limited to COVID-19 vaccines. “By the summer of 2021,” Thacker wrote as part of his previous “Twitter files” release, “Johnson & Johnson began a full court press to market a ton of their products on Twitter, including a controversial antidepressant.”

“I don’t know what else is influencing Twitter,” Thacker told The Defender. “Johnson & Johnson was one of the vaccines mentioned on the WHO site, and that was a client of Twitter’s.”

Remarking on the revelations made in the “Tucker Twitter files,” Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., author of “Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom” and a former New York University liberal studies professor, told The Defender :

“This installment of the Twitter files proves that not only the government but also international governance bodies like the WHO established direct censorship channels within Twitter — to censor information that contradicted the narrative of vaccine safety, even when ‘the science’ contradicted the narrative.

“No doubt we will learn that international NGOs like the World Economic Forum also had such channels.”

Rectenwald was a guest on the final “Tucker Carlson Originals” broadcast on Fox News before Carlson was let go by the network.

WHO partnered with social media platforms to combat ‘misinformation’

Indeed, in several instances, the WHO has partnered with social media platforms such as Twitter to police alleged “misinformation” and “disinformation” pertaining to COVID-19 vaccines and countermeasures — and has also previously expressed misgivings about Elon Musk’s plans to allow more “free speech” on the platform.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, stated on April 26, 2022 — when Musk was contemplating purchasing Twitter — that Musk will have a “huge influence” over the curbing and potential spreading of vaccine misinformation on Twitter, and that Twitter and all social media platforms must address “misinformation.”

Thacker: Twitter attempted to ‘manufacture consent’

Thacker compared Twitter’s actions to what Noam Chomsky once described as “manufacturing consent.” Chomsky described manufacturing consent in a 2018 interview, during which he said:

“The myth is that the media are independent, adversarial, courageous, struggling against power.

“That’s actually true of some. There are often very fine reporters, correspondents. In fact, the media does a fine job, but within a framework that determines what to discuss, not to discuss.”

However, in an Oct. 24, 2021, interview, Chomsky suggested that unvaccinated individuals should be isolated, claiming they were placing the public at risk.

Chomsky said at the time:

“If people decide ‘I am willing to be a danger to the community by refusing the vaccine’ they should then say, ‘well, I also have the decency to isolate myself. I don’t want a vaccine but I don’t have the right to run around harming people.’

“That should be a convention. Enforcing is a different question. It should be understood, and we should try to get it to be understood. If it really reaches the point where they are severely endangering people, then of course you have to do something about it.”

In a follow-up interview, Chomsky doubled down on his previous remarks. “How can we get food to them? Well, that’s actually their problem.”

On his Substack, Thacker noted that the media’s response to the recent news that Carlson was ousted from Fox News is characteristic of what Chomsky had once warned about. He wrote:

“The majority of reporters have shrugged aside their colleagues’ reporting fiascoes and the damage done to their own reputations, and continue to blame most failures in journalism on one person: Tucker Carlson.

“So it was not surprising that reporters began a week-long celebration this Monday when Fox fired Tucker.”

Referring to the latest Twitter files revelations about Carlson, Thacker told The Defender, “I can’t believe this is not everywhere, that everyone is not reading this right now.”

He said he will soon release more documents as part of the “Twitter files”:

“There are more stories. I had another story that I was working on, and I pushed that aside to work on this one.

“There’s probably another 10 stories, with more examples of the way they were working with the media, especially the media they favored.”

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., based in Athens, Greece, is a senior reporter for The Defender and part of the rotation of hosts for CHD.TV’s “Good Morning CHD.”

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

April 30, 2023 - Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , ,

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