MSNBC analyst Brendan Buck warned on Saturday that the recently revealed internal Twitter communications may justify concerns about big tech bias.
A Twitter thread from Substack journalist Matt Taibbi Friday reported on the private communications among Twitter employees surrounding the censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020.
The thread sent shockwaves across Twitter, causing many liberal journalists and commentators to express outrage. One MSNBC commentator, however, acknowledged the revelations do lend credence to conservative claims of bias among big tech.
MSNBC anchor Lindsey Reiser summarized the incident and asked Buck for his opinion.
"Brendan, last night, Elon Musk promoted a series of tweets revealing internal documents claiming Twitter took steps to restrict access to a New York Post article from October 2020 about Hunter Biden," Reiser said. "We should note NBC has not seen or verified those documents, but why do you think Musk is doing this and what impact could it have if Republicans launch investigations into Hunter Biden when they take control of Congress?"
Buck said Republicans will "launch an investigation into Hunter Biden and this angle of it, but also Twitter in general."
He also suggested that the incident has major implications for political debates around big tech in general.
"There is a long-running theme through Republican politics right now, that big tech has censored conservatives, the term is ‘shadow banning,’ all these things that people talk about-how free speech from ‘just conservatives’ has been muzzled, and I think they’re gonna use this whether or not it shows anything of that," he claimed. "What it does show is that [Twitter] had a close relationship with Democrats - much closer relationship than with Republicans."
He suggested that this one incident of censorship will bolster a larger narrative.
"That is enough. That is enough to have Republicans say, ‘Aha!, this is exactly what we have been talking about. We have been cast aside. People are censoring our speech,’" Buck said. "The entire ethos of Republicans is victimism, and the fact there are elites in power who are holding them back and this plays perfectly into that theme."
Taibbi’s initial thread said that one major reason Twitter moderation leaned leftward was "Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right," he tweeted.
"The resulting slant in content moderation decisions is visible in the documents you’re about to read. However, it’s also the assessment of multiple current and former high-level executives," Taibbi wrote.
One significant quote that came to light was former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth appearing to claim that "the facts remain unclear" regarding the Hunter Biden story’s veracity while encouraging staff to suppress it with the "lessons of 2016" in mind.
Musk has promised "more smoking guns" about how Twitter has been run in the past will be revealed soon.