Censorship Matt Taibbi Press Freedom

YouTube Censors Reality, Boosts Disinformation: Part 1

YouTube censored this site for accuracy, yet new news today underscores that they continue to hype fake news.

By Matt Taibbi / TK News

As subscribers by now are aware, I’m very upset about YouTube’s recent decision to censor a factually accurate video about “rigged election” comments produced for this site by Matt Orfalea. The company has given Matt a strike and labeled his/our work “misinformation,” an insult I’ve decided not to take lying down. I’m going to search for new ways to embarrass the company until they reverse their decision. As it happens, today offers an excellent opportunity.

CBS This Morning today came out with a story claiming they obtained a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop, sent for an “independent forensic review,” and determined it “appears genuine.” This follows up confirmation from The New York Times back on March 16th, and more importantly, the exhaustive earlier work of Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger confirming key emails in his book, The Bidens.

Matt did an exceptional job back in March in the video above, compiling clips of people who went on air and with absolute certainty proclaimed the laptop “a lie,” “altered or fake,” “pure distractions,” and of course, “RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION.”


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Whether or not you thought the actual content of the story was important, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop affair was a crossroads moment in the history of modern censorship. YouTube played a major role in this event.

This was a case in which major news media — including CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and countless other outlets — actively embraced disinformation, in the form of a group letter from 50-plus former intelligence officials saying the laptop story (they referred to a “laptop op”) had the “classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” All the aforementioned news agencies fell for this, as did Twitter (which blocked access to it, in what then-CEO Jack Dorsey later admitted was a “total mistake”) and Facebook (whose increasingly adrift founder Mark Zuckerberg later told Joe Rogan the story was throttled down at the suggestion of the FBI).

YouTube also pushed this disinformation campaign. It still does. Despite the total absence of evidence ever existing that the laptop was either fake or part of a Russian “information operation” and a growing pile of evidence that the laptop is real, YouTube continues to leave unmolested on its site countless videos promoting the conspiracy theory — that’s what it is, let’s be clear — that the laptop story is both bunk and an intelligence op.

Here’s a brief sample of materials they still have up, unmarked as “misinformation” or “disinformation”:

  1. Are Trump allies peddling Russian disinformation about the Bidens? PBS October 16, 2020 Judy Woodruff: “Today we learned more about concerns expressed by the President’s most senior advisors, that the President’s personal attorney was peddling Russian disinformation.” Nick Schifrin: “The bottom line is we cannot confirm the story, Judy, but… the Biden campaign says that this is Russian disinformation, and disinformation experts I talk to tell me that pro-Russian actors have been packaging their disinformation next to apparently legitimate information.” The irony, of course, is that PBS and YouTube were the ones pushing disinformation here.
  2. Hunter Biden tabloid story raises disinformation campaign fears, CBS October 15, 2020 Experts say it has all the hallmarks of information laundering…,” said correspondent Norah O’Donnell, before quoting former FBI agent Eric O’Neil saying, “This looks like your classic disinformation campaign.”
  3. US investigating if emails connected to Russia disinformation against Biden, CNN October 16, 2020 This is a beauty. Wolf Blitzer introduces correspondent Alex Marquardt by talking about how there are “fears that [the laptop story] could actually be part of Russia’s latest and very massive disinformation campaign in the US presidential election.” To which Marquardt answers, “Massive indeed Wolf,” before going on to “report” that “we are being told by two people who’ve been briefed on what the FBI is doing, that they’re looking into whether these unverified emails about Hunter Biden that were published earlier this week by the New York Post… are part of this bigger Russian disinformation effort in the 2020 election.” We have no proof this campaign existed, no proof this story was connected to it, and no proof of it being “bigger” than any other campaign. Unflagged by YouTube.
  4. Bash On Pushing Of Disinformation On Biden: This Looks, Walks, & Talks Like Russian Intelligence, MSNBC October 19.2020 This piece is extraordinary because it’s almost exactly the same message as the one written by the 50 “former” intelligence officers. Nicolle Wallace starts off humorously, scoffing at the idea that someone is “suggesting somehow that Joe Biden is a corrupt politician — one of the most vetted politicians in this country.” Jeremy Bash, a former CIA chief of staff now posing as a media figure, concurs. “This looks like Russian intelligence. This walks like Russian intelligence,” adding that the laptop story “looks like a classic Russian playbook, disinformation campaign.” If you go back and look, you will find countless instances of reporters using words like classic, hallmarks, earmarks, and disinformation campaign.
  5. Joe Biden on 60 Minutes, CBSOctober 26, 2020 Remember, CBS just did a story contradicting their own earlier 60 Minutes piece in which Lesley Stahl berated then-President Trump that the laptop story “can’t be verified.” Indeed, CBS just by doing its new story proved that its previous position — that verification was impossible — was a lark. In their other 60 Minutes interview from that season, they soft-balled Joe Biden on the laptop story. CBS: “Do you believe [Hunter’s laptop] is part of a Russian disinformation campaign?” BIDEN: “It’s just what it is. It’s a smear campaign.”

There are plenty more of these. If you want to widen the criticism to Google, these “Russian disinformation” stories still pop up high in searches (see herehereherehere, and here, for instance). YouTube and Google now become exhibit A in the ultimate truth about any attempt to “moderate” content at scale. If you make even a good-faith effort to weed out “disinformation,” relying on official bodies to help, what you’ll be left with is… official disinformation.

But this isn’t a good-faith effort to weed out untruths. YouTube has become a place that censors true content but traffics in official and quasi-official deceptions. It’s become indistinguishable from a state censorship bureau. If they feel they’re right about their decisions, they should be happy to explain themselves to people me. Until then, they can expect more love letters from this address.

Subscribers should know I don’t believe in letting things like this go, but I also don’t believe in annoying faithful readers. In the future, if there are similar entries in this campaign, I’ll make them public but won’t clog your email with notices. The idea is to be a pain in Google’s backside, not yours.


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Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement, was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary.

12 comments

  1. The role of corporate media is to push narrative useful to corporate rule and, along with corrupt corporate government, to quash information which challenges those narratives, exposes corruption or effectively increases class solidarity or creates resistance to oligarchy and the goals of empire.

  2. Thanks Matt for confronting this hypocritical public absurdity. As you doubtless know not only do these stories quote current and former FBI, and CIA heavies, the review boards for You Tube and Facebook are full of ex? intelligence people .
    The weirdest leap in Biden laptop story is the accusation of Russian involvement with zero evidence. Not one reporter asks how they know it is Russian operation, or how Russians got all those selfies with Biden and his whores and crack. We are back to Joe McCarthy only he has multiplied. And in my opinion we are still being distracted from the political ethical questions raised about Joe Biden by the emails and Biden’s actual behavior concerning Burisma.

    Please keep us informed on what the response of you tube is. Someone needs to answer some questions.

  3. Ok, everyone who has ever believed that America has free and fair elections in the service of democracy, please raise your hand?

    I am amazed at what Americans do actually believe at times. But still, believing the above is about the same as believing that Santa Claus is going to bring you gold bars for x-mas and fill your stockings up with valuable crypto tokens.

    Data point … of the 6 Presidential elections held since 2000, 3 have been challenged as ‘stolen elections’. One of those was effectively proven to be so, as a state-wide audit of the votes in Florida showed that Al Gore did win and should have been the 43rd President of the United States, except it was stolen by the Bush Family.

    And, if one of the Rules of the Rules Based Order is the old Golden Rule, “do undo others as you would have done unto you”, then the list of countries where America has interfered and outrightly stolen elections,and who thus have the ‘du unto’ right, is a very long list.

    Why would anyone believe that powerful people in America have been rigging and stealing and ’tilting’ elections around the world ever since WW2, but that they would never, ever consider doing exactly the same things within the Land of the Free? Do people hold this belief because of the clear morality and dedication to honesty repeatedly shown by powerful Americans?

  4. Blah,blah,blah – all this stuff about whether the lap top is real and little or nothing about what was actually, as opposed to what was “reportedly” or “allegedly” on it – THAT”s what I am interested in . Matt seems, like too many others, to be getting more and more lost in the weeds …

  5. I think that a Class Action should be filed against You Tube based upon many theories, one being Fraud in the content it allows and the manner in which it censors. This type of intentional propaganda must be exposed and You Tube must be made to pay Damages to the general public for the mis/disinformation it peddles, and the false narrative it fosters. Just because it is a Corporation it should not escape responsibility for its Fraud and Lies no matter how it carries this out. Humanity is moving toward greater truth and transparency, as it must if it wants to advance and be able to deal with future challenges across all spectrums. Humanity cannot afford to have the You Tubes of the world supporting a False Narrative which supports Secrecy which in turn has been the hallmark of our False Democracy. We the People control NOTHING. Fascist Corporations and their owners control everything. People such as Heir Klaus Schwab are self-appointed guru’s/ dictators who claim they know how to make us happy, or what will make us happy, and they further claim that the lack of material possessions in the hands of the masses will make them happy. Yeah right, in a material world? And Klaus and crew will be the ones who will own and control all of the material wealth, and food sources, health maintenance, pharmaceuticals and the toxins they peddle. Bill Gates buying up all of the Farmland is a recipe for disaster. Moving people into cities like cattle has become the goal by using scalar beam space-based lasers that start pinpoint fires in residential communities or worse at the twin towers, that fizzled out of existence before our eyes in seconds. This is evidence of the power the Corporations have right now, and of their willingness to use it to destroy humanity, and thereby commit heinous crimes against humanity, all in the name of the Great Reset (Regret), New World Order, etc. etc. Who are they to tell us how we should live and exist? What qualifications do they have that make them better than us? Who appointed/elected them? Why should anyone listen to them? Who authorized world leaders to deal with them? Well it all boils down to the God Almighty Dollar does it not? Grease the wheels, and things happen. Read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” and learn something. We the People need to act NOW, and withdraw our support from such insane ideas, and demand our representatives to do the same. Global insanity does not mean it must be our insanity. Namaste, EWC.

  6. Here’s a suggestion for a follow-up story. I recall seeing a video by a French journalist who covered then VP Biden’s efforts to protect his son’s position on the board of a Ukrainian oil company.

    At the time Ukraine was seeking a 3 billion dollar loan from the US and Obama had put Biden in charge of it.

    Biden was clear, fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company, or he’d cancel the loan. With this financial gun to their head, the Ukrainians caved. Biden later claimed he was protecting this American investment from corruption.

    The French reporter dug deeper and discovered that the prosecutor had a reputation for honesty. His replacement was a former felon, who did time for corruption and didn’t even have a law degree.

    But the investigation was quashed and Hunter continued to collect his rather substantial fee, even though he had no experience in the energy field.

    The former prosecutor sued claiming unlawful dismissal and under EU law, he won. But by then Ukrainian politics was moving in the dangerous direction it finds itself in now.

    I think this story appeared in Consortium News. It was a two part video expose and should have been picked up by mainstream media.

    It wasn’t, for obvious reasons. Maybe it can see the light of day as part of Taibbi’s new efforts.

    1. ukraingate.info has the series on Biden and Ukrainian American corruption in Ukraine, including the dismissal of Shokin and his replacement by an unqualified, but acceptable to Joe Biden, felon.

      What is remarkable is that most Ukrainians seem to accept corruption as normal, but thought that VP Biden, the Viceroy of the US Puppet State Ukraine, was “breath-takingly” corrupt. As Biden stated “Corruption is a cancer.” The Ukrainians noted that Biden was the biggest tumor.

  7. The whole ‘disinformation/misinformation/malinformation‘ back-and-forth is incredibly dangerous B.S. What about Freedom of Speech?! We have LAWS for dealing with speech that constitutes personal threats, harassment, incitement to violence, etc. And we used to have reasonable public expectations regarding corporate policies on ‘problematic‘ speech that generally reflected those laws.

    Instead, we are locked into – not a pitched battle to protect every person‘s inalienable right to freedom of thought and expression – but a battle over which opaque ‘authorities‘ we will DEMAND be installed as the all-powerful Arbiters of Truth vs. Falsehood.

    Welcome my son
    Welcome to the machine
    Where have you been?
    It’s alright we know where you’ve been

    1. The US indeed USED to have an anti-domestic propaganda law, the Smith Mundt Act, that was “modernized” (gutted) under Obama essentially putting the State Dept (and CIA) in charge of the five or six main media, now State Media (better and more modernized technically than what the Gestapo or Stasi had). State/ CIA now controls LEGALLY all “Official Narratives” and spikes all inconvenient truths, particularly from Biden’s political opponents. No doubt alternative media sites will be eliminated soon enough, several have been intermittently censored and demonetized (such as MintPress News, the Grayzone, Black Agenda Report, etc and even consortiumnews, which shares many of Scheerpost’s articles. ) Additionally scientists and physicians discussing/ debating Covid Public Health policy (natural to scientists) have been continually censored, no doubt contributing to the US having by far the largest number of Covid deaths in the world, and among the worst Covid death rates (16th out of >200 countries. Thirteen of the worst death rates are in countries close to Ukraine; possibly a coincidence.)
      I was surprised that Taibbi did not mention Glenn Greenwald, who was forced out of The Intercept, which he had founded, for investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop and validating many e-mails, but his story could not be allowed before the 2020 Election!

  8. “But this isn’t a good-faith effort to weed out untruths.”

    I am flabbergasted that anyone with even the most basic commitment to the principles and exercise of freedom of thought and expression cannot recognize that the LAST thing we need is ‘authorities‘ – governmental or corporate – empowered to ‘weed out untruths‘ expressed by anyone in the online ‘public square‘. To do so is not only to invite, but demand authoritarian control of what is ‘true‘ and what is ‘dangerously false‘.

    How would Galileo, or Darwin, or Hubble (etc… ad infinitum)… or any present-day ‘heterodox’ thinker fare under such a regime? (And what of the present-day purveyors – in MY opinion – of demonstrable ‘untruths‘…? ‘Young Earth’-ers, transubstantiationists, Bigfoot believers, Moon-landing hoaxers… etc etc etc…? ) The very recent past – up to the present moment – is chock-a-block with orthodox ‘demonstrable truths‘ that have subsequently been proven false. (So many that a comprehensive list would be impossible. As always.)

    Why are we demanding that someone – anyone – in a position of ‘authority’ be empowered to tell us which thoughts and opinions are ‘VERBOTEN!‘ in the public square??!

    George Orwell would be horrified. Joseph Goebbels (and Ayn Rand, and Chairman Mao, and…) would be ecstatic!

  9. Most Americans alive today have been conditioned their whole lives to reflexively see Russia and Russians as bad guys. From childhood, maybe even early childhood.

    That makes it easy to scapegoat them whenever a villain is needed, and was the purpose of doing it in the first place and in particular continuing it after the cold war.

    (And they rarely even get to be cool villains. It sucks.)

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