Twitter’s Treatment of Project Veritas Reveals Double Standard on Leaked Materials

Jack Dorsey at Bitcoin conference ( Joe Raedle /Getty)
Joe Raedle /Getty

Twitter is allowing the posting of a New York Times article based on materials leaked by federal investigators about Project Veritas, the investigative journalism organization whose offices were recently raided by the FBI. This flies in the face of the treatment of the New York Post blockbuster articles on Hunter Biden’s laptop, which twitter censored because it was “content obtained without authorization.”

When the first Hunter Biden “laptop from hell” stories were published by Emma-Jo Morris at the New York Post in 2020, Twitter said it would censor the Post’s reporting because it had a policy against posting “content obtained without authorization.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden, wife Dr. Jill Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn in as U.S. president during his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden, wife Dr. Jill Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn in as U.S. president during his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Now Twitter is allowing the spread of a New York Times story that contains privileged attorney-client information between Project Veritas and its lawyers, leaked to it by federal investigators who are using their power to intimidate and persecute journalists.

James O'Keefe of Project Veritas

James O’Keefe of Project Veritas ( MANDEL NGAN / Getty)

As Breitbart News reported at the time, Twitter took extreme measures to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story, locking the accounts of not only the New York Post, but also the account of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and the official account of the Trump campaign.

Via Breitbart News:

Twitter not only censored the Post’s story across its platform but also temporarily locked the accounts of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as well as the New York Post’s official account. Notices were added to their tweets stating that they had violated Twitter’s rules on prohibiting the publishing of hacked materials. Twitter also temporarily locked the account of the Trump campaign.

Twitter cited its “hacked materials” policy to justify the blanked blocking of URLs and images of the Hunter Biden material, even though there was no evidence that it had been obtained through hacking.

Via Breitbart News:

In a statement made to the Daily Caller, a Twitter spokesperson said that the decision to restrict sharing of the story was motivated by the company’s “Hacked Materials Policy.”

“In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.

However, reporters at the New York Post claim that the information was not sourced through hacking. The information contained in the report was allegedly uncovered when a man failed to retrieve his laptop from a computer repair shop in Delaware. Twitter’s heavy-handed action against the Post bombshell seems inappropriate when considering the source of the story, which is not a clear cut case of hacking by any normal definition, and the gravity of the information just weeks before the election, which has led many to label the actions of Twitter and Facebook as election meddling.

After the fact, amid pressure from Republicans including a looming senate testimony, Twitter backtracked, saying blocking URLs was “wrong.” By that point, the early momentum of the Hunter Biden story has already been dampened.

Nothing the New York Times has published about Project Veritas shows any evidence of wrongdoing.

All it has discovered is that Project Veritas consults with lawyers to ensure that its reporting stays within the law — something that every serious media organization does.

“[T]he group has worked with its lawyers to gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws,” writes the New York Times.

“Most news organizations consult regularly with lawyers,” The New York Times admits halfway through the piece. “but some of Project Veritas’s questions for its legal team demonstrate an interest in using tactics that test the boundaries of legality and are outside of mainstream reporting techniques.”

This claim is inaccurate. The principal tactic used by Project Veritas, undercover journalism, is very much in the mainstream of reporting techniques.

The UK’s Channel 4 network, ranked as the third most popular TV channel in the country, has run a series, Dispatches, for over three decades, which makes extensive use of undercover reporters.

There’s a long history of undercover journalism in mainstream American news outlets as well — here’s the Columbia Journalism Review praising an elaborate undercover sting by reporters at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977. 

The New York Times has no objection to some undercover reporting as evidenced by this piece published in 2017. Only when conservatives do it, and do it effectively, does the newspaper frame it as a potential ethical problem.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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