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Tipsheet

WH Claims Biden's 'Long Been Concerned' About Big Tech's Power, But What About That NY Post Story?

AP Photo/Nick Wass, File

Among other stories that were raised in Monday's White House press briefing, Twitter's announcement that it had reached a deal to be taken over by Elon Musk elicited the typically self-unaware answer from Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki. 

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When asked for a response to Musk's now-successful attempt to get Twitter's board to accept his offer and whether President Biden has any concerns that former President Donald Trump would be allowed back on the platform, here's what Psaki had to say:

"Well I'm not going to comment on a specific transaction, what I can tell you as a general matter, no matter who owns or runs twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives, he's long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause."

Yes, that's what the Biden White House claims as a position on big tech.

"He's been a strong supporter of fundamental reforms to achieve that goal," Psaki continued of what she proclaimed as Biden's concern regarding the power of social media companies, "including reforms to Section 230, enacting antitrust reforms, requiring more transparency, and more."

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In yet another attempt to ignore events of the not-so-distant past, Psaki's response is a real head-scratcher given what Facebook and pre-Musk Twitter did in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election that ended with her boss Joe Biden in the Oval Office and her behind the briefing room podium. 

In case some 15 months of Biden in the White House has triggered a Psaki-esque amnesia spell, here's what went down: The New York Post obtained the contents of a laptop that belonged to Joe Biden's son Hunter, and it was quickly dubbed the "laptop from hell" for its insane contents. The Post's report on emails, photos, and more on the laptop's hard drive was damning in the final days of the 2020 presidential campaign. Facebook, even before it had fact-checked the story, limited its distribution on the platform. Twitter, not wanting to be left out of the censorship, then prohibited links to the story from being shared on its site and locked The New York Post's account — despite then-CEO Jack Dorsey admitting Twitter had no proof backing up the claim that the story about Hunter's laptop was false. 

Where was Joe Biden's allegedly long-running concern about the power of large social media platforms then? Condemnations of Twitter and Facebook for thinking the American people wouldn't be able to read the story and decide for themselves? Calls for big tech CEOs to explain their decision before Congress? Not only wasn't he exhibiting any concern about social media's power to control information available to everyday people, but he also didn't "long-argue" that they should be held accountable for censoring Hunter's laptop. Even worse, as most perceived at the time and now others have confirmed, the laptop was real — as Joe Biden surely knew.

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Conveniently, more than one year after Biden took office, The New York Times and Washington Post finally got around to confirming the story that big tech tried to erase from the internet. But social media companies, the power of which Psaki said with a straight face President Biden "has long been concerned about," did everything they could to prevent Americans from learning details of the Biden family's convoluted business and personal lives while Biden remained silent on the power wielded by social media. His campaign team and Democrats furiously advanced the actually-false claim that Hunter's laptop was a Russian disinformation campaign, and those phony posts, of course, were allowed to flow freely on Twitter and Facebook.

Apparently the "long" timeframe Psaki referred to is roughly equal to the length of time between Joe Biden finishing a speech and then trying to shake an imaginary person's hand. Or perhaps it has something to do with how many times Vice President Kamala Harris invokes "the significance of the passage of time" that's warped the space-time fabric?

Whatever the reason for Psaki's claim — one that's even more unbelievable than the content of Hunter Biden's hard drive — it's yet another case of the Biden administration assuming they can say whatever they want and it will be received with warm applause and approval from the American people. It's not working, but as Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted this week, the White House apparently isn't worried that their boss' approval rating is underwater more often than a U.S. Navy submarine lurking beneath arctic ice. 

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