TruthDAO: 30 Columns, 27,000 Words of Media Criticism

It was a grand experiment, and it enabled me to write some of the best stuff of my long career: 30 columns and 27,000 words criticizing the mainstream media for their blatant bias, dissecting their intentional lack of coverage of inconvenient truths, and examining their hidden motives and underhanded trickery. 

We called my column The Mediaverse, written for A valiant venture aimed at providing fair and balanced news coverage and clearly labeled, sequestered opinion. Now TruthDAO has gone formant, lamentably, for lack of fundraising. 

And I offer here every single word, all 27 columns chained together: to have it on record. Observations, facts, statistics and analysis of the mainstream media which you never will see anywhere else–and especially not in the media. They can’t handle the truth. You can.

Thanks & best regards, Dennis Kneale 

Color Blinded: Big Media and (White) Racism (OPINION)


Sep 15, 2022 3 min

(OPINION) The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO Columnist

In the race for a U.S. Senate seat in the Republican stronghold of South Carolina: Imagine the outrage and uproar in the national media if a white Republican were caught on a hidden recording saying this about black people:

“And let me tell you something. You oughta know who you’re dealing with, like, you gotta treat them like sh*t. That’s the only way they respect you.”

Indeed, a candidate did say those words—about white people. She is a black Democrat named Krystle Matthews, and she is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who also is black. She was recorded saying a string of anti-white things to an undercover sleuth for Project Veritas, the conservative video-sting operation.

The recording has so far received more than one million views — so howizzit this story is almost nowhere in the national media? The New York Times and The Washington Post, which help set the agenda for the rest of media, have turned a blind eye. Type “Krystle Matthews” into the search box at the Times website, and you get an entry from 1980 about a college football player.  Do the same on the Post site and a string of recipes – by Becky Krystal – pops up.

The story broke on Twitter last week and got picked up by some news outlets, mostly right-leaning, but local reports noted only that Matthews had bashed “constituents.” When Veritas founder James O’Keefe spoke to a Republican group in Charleston, S.C. last week, he said local reporters had questioned him — about “ambush journalism.” No one asked him about the rant itself.

Matthews, a state representative in South Carolina, won the Democratic primary and will run against Sen. Scott eight weeks from now. Here’s what she says on the audio tape:

“My district is heavily Republican, and it’s heavily white. I’m no stranger to white people, I come from a mostly white town. And let me tell you one thing. You oughta know who you’re dealing with, like, you gotta treat them like sh*t. That’s the only way they respect you. I keep them right here, like, under my thumbs… otherwise they get outta control, like kids.”

Her words are condescending and anti-white, and Matthews should have known better. She already was stung once by Project Veritas, which released video in June of her call with a prison inmate, discussing blatantly illegal fundraising tactics to tap drug dealers for campaign donations – “dope boy money,” as she put it. A month later, Matthews won the Democratic nomination to run against Sen. Scott in the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina.

Even Democrats are calling for her to resign from the state House and drop out of the race. Matthews is having none of it.

On Sept. 8, a day after the video surfaced, Matthews doubled down and insisted she was referring to MAGA Republicans. She issued a statement – recounted here verbatim, including capitalization — saying she told the Veritas journalist “to treat these MAGA Republicans like SH**.” “I SAID WHAT I SAID! Play the whole tape ‘PROJECT VERITAS,’ so the people will know who I was referring to.”

Cue to the White House. During his now-infamous Sept. 1 Philadelphia speech, President Biden argued that Trump and his supporters are a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.” Reporters, alas, largely embraced the message.

Matthews has since pivoted, saying the audio recording was edited to make her sound racist; she now claims she was talking about people in the legislature.

Press hounds of the national media respond rabidly to claims of whites behaving in racist ways against people of color, usually without question.  See the actor Jussie Smollett (who hired two black men to fake a MAGA attack on himself), and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace (who found a “noose” in his garage at the Talladega Superspeedway; 15 FBI agents discovered it was a garage-door handle that had been there for months).

In both cases, the initial charges of racism received wall-to-wall coverage by national media. And when those charges turned out to be not so much? Crickets.

Why: The initial stories fit the narrative stoked by Democrats and their media allies, and the reality contradicted it. Reporters openly embrace the idea that systemic racism reigns, and that blacks never can get ahead. Tacitly, they also embrace a corollary: blacks and Latinos are incapable of being racist against whites because whites are in control and minorities are powerless.

That view, held by some white liberals, is itself racist and condescending to the minorities they say they want to help. Hatred is hatred no matter who spews it, and the media should start covering it that way.

Stelter Skelter: Lionizing a Trump Basher (OPINION)


Sep 23, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO Columnist

Mainstream media are fascinated with themselves. This is why they covered the cancellation of a low-rated Sunday morning news show as a blow to our democracy.

In mid-August, CNN killed “Reliable Sources,” anchored since 2013 by Brian Stelter, a vociferous critic of President Trump. Instantly, hordes of journalists spewed out hundreds of stories suggesting darker motives were at work. Some argued John Malone must be responsible.

Malone is a libertarian billionaire and the founder and chairman of Liberty Media, which, with a partner, holds a 40% stake in CNN’s parent, Warner Bros. Discovery.

The New York Times — Stelter’s former employer – reported that Malone’s stated interest in a more fair-and-balanced CNN “seemed to put Mr. Stelter… in possible “jeopardy.” This basically confirmed what critics of the show had been saying for a while: Stelter was biased.

The paper quoted an email from John Malone himself, saying he had “nothing to do with” the show’s cancellation. Malone is famously reclusive and rarely comments to reporters. At one time, a straight-up on-the-record denial like this one might have derailed a story. Now it is just more grist for the mill.

At the ultra-liberal New Yorker, the headline likewise suggested darker motives were in play: “A TV Face of the Trump Resistance Exits.” The story says Stelter “got the boot” because CNN’s new owners are “in thrall to the libertarian billionaire John Malone.”

Slate: “With Brian Stelter off the air, CNN seems determined to repeat the grotesque errors that led to President Trump.”  A question for Slate: Since when is “fair and balanced” grotesque?

Recode picked up the thread, declaring that “some people in and outside CNN believed there was a direct throughline between Malone’s perspective on CNN and Stelter’s departure.” Note the operative term: believed.

None of these supposed sleuths offered a single shred of evidence to confirm their hunches. No secret emails or recordings were found. No internal memos with Malone ordering CNN’s new chief, Chris Licht, to fire Stelter.

Nothing: just a bunch of surmise, rumor and speculation by unnamed wags wondering if he pulled the trigger.

NPR somberly reported that Licht’s efforts to “return the cable channel to its news-driven roots” have “sparked concerns inside and outside the network.” In other words, “fair and balanced” offends CNN’s openly liberal ranks – a remarkable turn, because for most of its 42 years of existence, fair and balanced was CNN’s calling card.

Nowhere in all the coverage did anyone dare say it out loud: CNN went too far left and hurt its own business. This was also quite deliberate. Under the direction of the then-network chief, Jeffrey Zucker, CNN went all-in on demonizing President Trump, infecting straight news with politics and slanted reporting. Zucker’s not-so-hidden agenda also spilled over to Stelter’s show.

For a while, the gambit worked. With Zucker at the wheel, CNN in the 2Q 2020 drew its highest ratings ever. And as the presidential campaign heated up, so did “Reliable Sources” – viewership doubled to 1.4 million compared with 2Q 2019.

The network should have just called it “opinion” and reaped the ad revenue. But it didn’t, and by the time Stelter exited nothing was reliable about “Reliable Sources.” It was also drawing its lowest ratings since 2015, pulling just 600,000 viewers, less than half the audience of Fox News in the same time slot. In the key ad target — viewers ages 25 to 54 — only 75,000 people were tuning in to listen to Stelter’s partisan rants, down 34% year-over-year.

The Wrap, a media and entertainment news site founded by former New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman, was one of the few news outlets to report these feeble numbers. The rest of the media ignored them, preferring, instead, to focus on the theory that Malone engineered his exit.

Chris Licht’s push to move CNN back to center, I am guessing, is more about business rather than ideology. Licht himself has impeccable liberal credentials. Before making the jump to CNN, he ran “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” which proudly leans way left.

Brian Stelter landed on his feet, taking a post as a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he will host chats on threats to democracy. Once any non-compete clause expires, media outlets may be clamoring to hire him – because Trump-bashing is still a hot commodity with seemingly limitless demand.

Rescuing Biden: Will Media Play Down Bad News for Midterms? (OPINION)


Oct 7, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

We now have less than six weeks to go till the mid-term congressional elections, when voters might blame Democrats for soaring costs of food and gas, higher interest rates for new mortgages, and plunging stock prices.

Will the American mainstream media come to the rescue of Joe Biden—again?

In the closing weeks of the presidential election in 2020, the New York Post published a scoop on a laptop owned by his wayward son, Hunter. It held emails showing he had used his dad’s status to raise money overseas and had set aside a 10% cut for “the Big Guy”; and photos and videos of Hunter, bare-chested or buck naked, smoking crack and cavorting with women.

The media covered it up or ignored it, with Twitter and Facebook imposing an unconstitutional prior restraint on the Post by refusing to let the paper publish a link to the story online. Some 51 former U.S. intelligence officers signed a statement declaring the laptop likely was Russian disinformation.

The media lapped it up, even though nobody had seen the laptop, and the petition was led by two Trump haters: John Brennan, Obama CIA director, now on MSNBC; and Jim Clapper, Obama director of national intelligence, now on CNN. Only after a delay of 16 months did the media admit what was obvious: the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic.

The New York Times waited until March 16, 2022, when a story on a Hunter Biden tax probe cited the laptop evidence down in the 24th paragraph. The Washington Post waited until March 30 to yield, in the fifth paragraph of its story.

Later, various polls by conservative firms reported that 5% to 16% of Biden voters said they would have changed their votes had they known the laptop was authentic.

Even now, the media are incurious about whether President Biden was receiving a 10% cut of his son’s panhandling. These are the same guys who spent four years promoting Russiagate without discovering it was an FBI-orchestrated hoax aimed at tarnishing Trump.

This raises a question: are the media suppressing bad news to protect Biden and the Democrats, stories that might convey a sense of chaos and disarray? Consider:

— Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines likely were sabotaged beneath the Baltic Sea on Sept. 26, releasing, in a few days, hundreds of thousands of metric tons of greenhouse gases into the sea and the atmosphere. The equivalent of a mid-sized city’s emissions for a full year.

— Usually this would be huge news for the Climate Change fear mongers, but the media response has been muted. The New York Times carried a whirlpool photo on Page One on Wednesday, but confined the story to page A10, with no mention of it on the opening page online. The Washington Post on Thursday cited the biggest methane leak ever, “but it may not be enough to have a major effect on climate change, experts say.”

— Two weeks after President Biden declared that MAGA Republicans were a threat to democracy, a 41-year-old Biden supporter mowed down an 18-year-old Trump supporter with his SUV, killing him. Shannon Brandt confessed to the cops—and was let out on $50,000 bail. Hardly covered at all; his name doesn’t show up on the Times website.

— Several hundred thousand homes in Puerto Rico were still without power 10 days after Hurricane Fiona devastated the island. As conservative radio host Mark Levin pointed out, in the Trump era this story would have been a national scandal. Only on Monday (Oct. 3) did Biden head to Puerto Rico, saying “they haven’t been taken very good care of.”  On Wednesday, he visited visit a ravaged Florida, where the death count has surpassed 100 people from Hurricane Ian, and 2.5 million people are without power.

— The media are eager to report any whiff of white supremacy. Yet a total of 26 blacks were murdered in white-on-black racist incidents nationwide in 2021; in Chicago, more blacks are murdered by other blacks in a single month, and the media ignore it. According to the FBI, in 2019 more than 88% of blacks who were murdered in the U.S. were killed by other blacks.

— Last month, when a black Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate was caught on tape saying whites should be treated like sh*t, the media stood down, as I wrote here. They also trumpeted the allegations of a black Duke University volleyball player who said fans at a match in Utah had shouted racial slurs at her last month, and dropped the story when a thorough investigation failed to find any evidence supporting her account.

At this point it is hard to discern: are the media simply anti-white, or do they suppress news coverage because they are pro-Biden? The answer is a singular one: yup.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC,and Fox Business.

Ignoring an Impeachable Act (OPINION)


Oct 21, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

The Saturday quiz in the New York Times summarizes the world’s most notable events from the previous week. The latest edition offers 11 questions whose topics range from the resignation of a Los Angeles City Council member to the latest “Halloween” sequel.

Missing was a surprising disclosure: On the evening of Oct. 12th, Saudi Arabia released a rare statement disclosing secret details of private talks with the Biden administration. It said Biden officials had implored Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ to delay oil production cuts—which will send U.S. gasoline prices even higher—for just one month.

Meaning, until after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

The startling story—a foreign government’s tattling on a U.S. president for asking for a favor just before the next election—was left out of the quiz. Why? Because the Times has all but ignored this controversy altogether. So has the Washington Post.

Yet when President Trump in September 2019 asked a foreign government for a favor before the 2020 presidential race, the Times and Post ran wild, writing story after story claiming Trump was trying to rig the election.

This led to Trump’s impeachment, the first time, anyway. He had asked the new Ukraine president to look into reports that Biden’s son was getting paid millions in consulting fees from a shady Ukrainian energy giant. (He was.)

This time around, the Times and the Washington Post display an odd lack of curiosity and scrutiny. And those two pillars of the press set the agenda for rest of the media, cable news in particular. I saw this in my six years as an anchor at CNBC and Fox Business: rip & read, baby!

Conservative news outlets reported this story. This underscores the question I raised in a previous column, here: are the media coming to the rescue of Joe Biden once again?

The Times and Post devoted a lot of ink and pixels to the administration’s harsh criticism of the Saudis after OPEC+ went ahead with output cuts. On Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 11th, the Times posted an updated story online saying “Biden to Re-evaluate Relationship with Saudi Arabia After Production Cuts.”

This later was toughened up: “Biden vows ‘Consequences’ for Saudi Arabia…”

The Post followed suit Tuesday night with a similar story: “Biden Vows ‘consequences’ for Saudis after OPEC+ cuts output.” Both papers failed to note that this amounts to a Biden threat to punish Saudi Arabia for refusing his pre-election plea. Double standard?

They ran those stories on Page One of their print editions the next morning, Wednesday. That evening at 7:40 p.m. in Washington, Saudi Arabia fired back, releasing a 533-word statement on Twitter and, three minutes later, on the government website, to “express its total rejection” of the U.S. view.

In the fifth paragraph, it tacitly drops a bombshell, saying “postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have negative economic consequences.” (Italics mine.)

Less than three hours later, posted a story about the “Joe Pro Quo?” Within half an hour the quid pro quo angle was all over Twitter on Wednesday night, meaning the Times and Post had plenty of chance to see it.

The Washington Post waited until 5:13 a.m. on Thursday morning, 10 hours after the Saudi statement went out, to post a story online (“U.S., Saudi Arabia spar over decision to cut oil production”). It avoided any mention of any questions over a possible quid pro quo and noted “in Washington, the cuts were widely seen as a political blow to President Biden… a month before midterm elections.”

Meanwhile, the Times waited five more hours to publish its online account at 10 o’clock that morning, pointing out the pre-election timing in the story’s deck and second paragraph but avoiding any controversy or comparison to Trump/Ukraine.

The next morning, Friday, Oct. 14th, the Times buried the story on page A5 of the print edition.

Conservative media did a better job. The New York Post nailed it in a dotcom story posted at 11:52 a.m. Thursday morning: “White House cops to pushing Saudi Arabia to postpone oil cuts until after the midterms.” At 1:28 p.m., the Daily Caller posted the bluntest story so far: “Accusations Fly As Saudis Say Biden Used US Resources for Political Gain.”

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday evening, Oct. 18th, the Times and Post have run no further stories on any quid-pro-controversy involving Biden and the Saudis. Albeit the Post ran an item online about Democrats’ efforts to find new ways to punish the Saudis for cutting production and hurting the Dems’ election chances.

And just like that, this story will die in darkness. To borrow a phrase from the Washington Post ad slogan. For my part, I never believed Trump deserved impeachment for a simple phone call.  Same goes for President Biden now. My wish is that the Times, the Post, and their acolytes were better at spotting the parallels. And more willing to report them.

Crime and Punishment — and the Media (OPINION)


Nov 2, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

As the midterm elections approach, both political parties and the media focus on national hot-button issues that drive donations and clicks: abortion, gun control, open borders, Climate Change, the Jan. 6 “insurrection.”

Those issues, however, have little direct impact on our daily lives. Crime is the more personal, visceral issue this year. It is what got Eric Adams elected as the new mayor of New York City, and it is what might get Lee Zeldin elected as New York state’s first Republican governor in 20 years.

An awkward issue of race pulses beneath crime headlines: blacks comprise 13% of the U.S. population, yet they make up 54% of all murder victims and 33% of all targets of violent crimes. Black suspects comprise 33% of all arrests for violent crimes, 53% of murder arrests, and 43% of crimes with multiple assailants. Black convicts make up 33% of the U.S. prison population.

This is why the national media shy away from covering the crime issue in-depth, confining their attention to the most lurid stories without doing a deeper search for solutions. Play up crime too heavily, and liberals might cry racism and white fearmongering; plus, it might benefit Republicans, and most media want to avoid this.

The unfortunate result is that epidemic crime in the poorest, blackest neighborhoods goes unreported by the media, so politicians feel less pressure to take action to fix it, and the most victimized people end up on their own. See: the city of Chicago.

In the debate on Oct. 24 between Lee Zeldin, a Republican congressman from Long Island, and Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic incumbent who took office after Andrew Cuomo resigned in a sex-harassment scandal, Zeldin hammered the crime issue repeatedly. At the halfway mark, he criticized Gov. Hochul for avoiding talking about “locking up anyone committing any crimes.” She replied tartly:

“Anyone who commits a crime under our laws, especially with the changes made to bail, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you.” The New York Times, in its summary of five takeaways from the debate, let this one pass unnoted.

As a longtime resident of Brooklyn, I can tell Gov. Hochul why it’s so important. Just in the single month of October, four people were murdered on four different subway lines—the A train, the 4, the L, and the F—and I have been riding on all of these trains all month long.

It feels more personal than her call for tougher restrictions on guns I don’t own, or her stance on easier rules on abortions I’ll never have.

In New York City, year-to-date, as of October 30, the seven major crime categories are up 30% over all, including a 39% spike in grand larceny, a 35% rise in car thefts, robberies up 32%, burglaries up 29%, felony assaults up 14%, and rape up 11%. (Source: NYPD CompStat data.)

On the subways, where you have no escape, crime is up more than 40% this year to almost 7,000 reported offenses. Robberies are up 34%, felony assaults are up 17%, arrests are up 40%, and summonses issued for public urination and the like are up 200%. Lovely.

That is newsworthy, yet media outlets struggle with the balance between covering crime and supporting social justice. In The New York Times on Oct. 7, writer John Leland captured this perfectly in a well-told tale of woman and her dog, Moose, a golden retriever killed by a mentally disturbed homeless man wielding a walking stick in Prospect Park.

“The adjoining neighborhood is famously progressive, often critical of the police and the jail system. At the same time, crime is up in the neighborhood, with attacks by emotionally disturbed people around the city putting some residents on edge,” Leland writes here. “How do you protect the public without furthering injustice against this man?”

Moose’s owner posted on about her grief, and neighbors called for the man’s arrest and imprisonment for killing her dog. To which one neighbor said they should consider “400 years of systematic racism which has prevented black people from building generational wealth through homeownership resulting in the extreme disparity we see today.”

Really? What about justice for Moose and the owner?

Similarly, a Bloomberg story in July, Fear of Rampant Crime Is Derailing New York’s Recovery, noted that the number of shootings per month in the city is on par with a year earlier. However, headlines about shootings are up from fewer than 100 per month last year to 750 per month now. “Widespread anxiety obscures the fact that crime is still at decades-long lows,” they write, alluding to the more than 2,200 murders in 1990 compared with 341 now.

Guess I should be grateful.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.

Musk Man: The Media’s New Public Enemy No. 1 (OPINION)


Nov 6, 2022 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

Now that Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, he is Public Enemy No. 1 for the media and Democrats.

Little more than a week has passed since Musk took control of Twitter, yet media reports have him  firing up to 75% of staff (over the weekend, layoffs went out to 50% of the staff, quite a jolting start), which could unleash “harmful content” on users (Washington Post); and enduring an “exodus of executives and advertisers” (New York Times); and sparking a wave of celebrities to quit the Twit (; and posing a U.S. security risk (Bloomberg).

Also, Musk is accused of sparking an explosion in hate speech (; and encouraging the harassment on Twitter of a woman of color whom he fired with three other Twitter execs (; and having “contaminated the information environment he now reigns over” (; and running Twitter into the ground (

That is a lot of ink and pixels for a ton of supposed evildoings by one man in one week.  A lot of it, upon cursory inspection, is overdone bunkum. My question: why are the media so dead set against a new effort to rid Twitter of onerous political censorship, election interference, and secret collusion with government regulators? Shouldn’t the press oppose all of this?

Before we dive into this sturm und drang, let us stipulate a few key points. Twitter has very little to do with anything that happens in real life, and nothing that happens there has to “harm” anyone. People harm people.  In my view, “harmful content” is oversold and is a pathway to censorship. Words are incapable of rising off the screen and smacking us in the face; only people can do that.

Second: if we dislike the new Twitter, we are free to change the channel or fly away.  And third: Twitter now is a private enterprise owned by Elon Musk and his investors, and they can do whatever they want to it.

Now, to debunk some of the bunkum: the story on a surge in hate speech was based on a Montclair State University “study”of only the 12-hour period from midnight, Oct. 28, when Musk formally assumed control of Twitter, to noon the next day. It found 4,778 mentions of hate-speech terms, compared with 2,000 per day in the previous week.

The study reflects zero changes made by Musk regarding content monitoring, and it makes zero effort to discount a factor that inflated the data: wags in 4Chan chatrooms urged everyone to post racist words to jack up the “hate speech” count.

Elsewhere, the Post story (by six reporters) on staff cuts’ unleashing “harmful content” was picked up by AP,, and thousands of websites. Yet Twitter’s 7,500 people never were able to monitor the postings of 240 million people. This is a job for Superman—read: software and AI—and Musk and his team will be better at it.

Plus, the story says Twitter workers’ median pay is $240,000 per year, meaning half of them earn even more than that. At that rate, Elon should fire as many Twits as possible.

Likewise, the Times story (by four reporters) on an “exodus” involves only five execs, who quit before Musk could fire them. As for sponsors, when the story was posted, the only sponsor that made news for pausing ads on Twitter was General Motors. Even then, GM says it merely is following the “normal course of business” when a media platform changes ownership—a point most stories left out. Why let that cut into the clickety-sizzle?

Since then, GM has been joined by Mondelez (Oreos), Volkswagen, and VW‘s Audi. One reason may be pressure from outside groups.

The Times, down in the 19th paragraph of its story, says 40 civil rights groups sent an open letter to 20 big Twitter advertisers, including Amazon, CBS, Coca-Cola, and Disney, urging them to halt ads “if Mr. Musk throws out the platform’s content moderation safeguards.” If. A contrived possibility in a statement with no impact.

Unmentioned: this was a pre-fab protest to pressure advertisers now, orchestrated by a cabal of social justice warrior groups funded by liberal billionaire George Soros. They include Media Matters, Free Press, and Public Citizen. To learn this, I had to read it on a right-leaning site I hadn’t heard of, the unfortunately named

The protest group had mobilized back in May, as a story in the Daily Mail said at the time, when it sent advertisers a letter saying, “Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized.” How so?

Elsewhere, the Bloomberg story (five reporters) on Oct. 31 says Musk’s lining up $1.89 billion from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal raises national security risks, in the view of Sen. Chris Murphy (D- Conn.). The prince, a venture billionaire, was a frequent guest for years on CNBC with anchor Maria Bartiromo, who now is at FoxBiz; where were security concerns then?

Unmentioned: this is part of a harder U.S. line against the Saudis since they rejected a Biden request to delay an OPEC production cut till after the midterm elections, see here.

The media, however, are uninterested in that angle. Nor are they asking: What are Elon Musk’s plans for revealing the unconstitutional requests by the federal government to censor accounts on Twitter? And disclosing all previous private communications regarding reining in conservative content? And releasing all election-related emails? And naming an independent audit panel to examine all of this and report the findings publicly?

One gets the feeling the media want to avoid knowing any of this.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.

Liars, Deniers and Double Standards (OPINION)


Nov 10, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

On the morning after the Red Wave That Wasn’t, it became clear that the media and their relieved Democrat allies have a new nemesis: election “deniers,” Republican candidates who have dared express any doubts about the 2020 election.

The media are copiously tracking down election deniers and calling them out by name, publishing their photographs, and monitoring their election efforts closely. Down to the state government level. The media see a dark threat to democracy.

Cut to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and slick co-host Willie Geist, who hails the results (“election deniers got stopped in their tracks”) and declares: “We think that we shouldn’t have people who deny our elections. We think we should have people who respect the way we’ve done things for more than 200 years.”

Columnist Mike Barnacle responds that we teach our children, “don’t be a sore loser, just accept it and go on.”

Note: They are talking only about Republicans here. Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Stacy Abrams don’t count. Nor does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted in May 2017: “Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy #FollowTheFacts”

“Deniers” is a particularly pejorative term. “Holocaust deniers” argue the extermination of six million Jews never happened. “Sandy Hook deniers” believe crackpot Alex Jones’s bizarre fabrication that the school shooting was a hoax. “Climate deniers” doubt a crisis is imminent.

In fact, the phrase “climate deniers” was deemed to be so loaded with innuendo that the Associated Press banned its use in 2015. Now “election deniers” are in the media’s gunsights.

The Washington Post cites victories by “at least 143 Republican election deniers running for the U.S. House.” That searing, two-word scarlet letter is used 11 times, including in the headline: “Key election deniers concede defeat after disputing Trump’s 2020 loss.”

Republicans classified as “deniers” by the Post include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rand Paul, and the brother of former Vice President Mike Pence. Yet the paper says the deniers ran on inflation, abortion, and crime, rather than election denial:

“Voters did not necessarily vote for or against them because of their stance on the 2020 presidential results. But the outcomes of those races could nevertheless have lasting consequences for the U.S. democracy.” Oh, please.

The New York Times, in an opinionated article masked as news “analysis,” says “more than 200 election deniers will take office at the national and state level in January.” It chastises Republicans’ “devotion to the false premise, promoting their baseless assertions relentlessly…”

A separate Times article says, “Spreading lies, misinformation and doubt about the 2020 election have (sic) proven to be a winning strategy for many Republicans.” It invites readers to “See Which 2020 Election Deniers and Skeptics Won in the Midterm Elections.”

This includes color mugshots of the 210 just-elected Republican “deniers” who “questioned” the 2020 election, and who now have won seats in the House, Senate, and state races for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

Online, you scroll past a flashcard that reads: “More than 30 of them have denied President Biden’s victory outright,” and, suddenly, the mugshots of the dirty thirty move to the foreground, their backdrops suddenly shaded in red. Like targets in a bullseye.

The Times notes that a “vast majority” of the winners “have not denied the 2020 results entirely, but have sown doubt in other ways.” This includes “suggesting, sometimes again and again, that there were irregularities or unresolved questions about the way the election was conducted, or by saying that further investigation was needed.”

If making unwanted suggestions “again and again” is a threat to our constitutional republic, then we are so frail and fragile that we already have lost it.

The Times also lists 31 states with Republican “deniers” elected to the House, and it breaks out what percentage of each delegation is made up of deniers: Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota lead the list at 100%. Hide the children!

The Newspaper of Record put seven reporters and 12 photo researchers on this story; at some point it starts to feel like an effort to shame and intimidate. One wonders how many staffers are investigating, say, the Mexican cartels shipping fentanyl here, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. They must be too busy to get to it.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.

Turning on Trump: Et Tu, Rupert? (OPINION)


Nov 18, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

Former President Trump, who often says the liberal media are the “enemy of the people,” has a new nemesis: the conservative media. They are turning on him with a startling vehemence in the wake of the Republican bellyflop in the midterms.

Even more startling, this turning on Trump is led by conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch. He controls Fox News and the New York Post, two of the most enthusiastic media backers of the former president, and The Wall Street Journal.

All three national platforms are taking potshots at Trump, and this clearly is by design rather than happenstance. For Rupert Murdoch, turning on Trump now, just as the he is announcing his run for 2024, is a business decision, more so than a political one. Fox News will have a harder time holding on to viewers if it devotes tons of coverage to a candidate who is likely to lose. It needs a new winner: enter Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Rupert loves to be a kingmaker,” says a veteran journalist who has covered the mogul since the 1990s. “There’s a consensus that ‘Trump is damaged, and we’re gonna put the knives in him now.’ They think he can’t win.” Murdoch is 91 years old—and still in charge.

One devastating stab from the plucky and puckish Post came two days after the election, with a full-cover illustration of an egg-shaped Trump, sitting on a red-brick wall outside Mar-a-Lago, his combover intruding on the newspaper nameplate with the following:

Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great  fall – can all the  GOP’s men put the party back together again?”


ThePost‘s headlines can be artful, and this one, promoting two separate columns  criticizing Trump, had a subliminal message embedded in it: Dump Trump. The tabloid cover delighted the liberal end of the mediascape, which covered it gleefully and hilariously.

Vanity Fair headline: “Rupert Murdoch Knees Trump in the Balls While He’s Doubled Over Coughing Up Blood”.

Followed by: “The message from the Murdoch-owned New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News is clear: Pack your bags, bitch. You’re done.”  This, for a column by the sardonic and snarky Bess Levin.

In London, the Telegraph said Trump was “ridiculed by his favourite newspaper,” while the Guardian asked, “Has ‘Trumpty Dumpty’ taken a great fall from Rupert Murdoch’s grace?” The Financial Times was more certain: “Trump and Murdoch’s marriage of convenience breaks down after midterms.”

The anti-Trump turn showed up in the Post’s news pages, saying Trump, in his “latest tirade,” had “bizarrely suggested” CNN should make him the centerpiece of its coverage; and that the former president snubbed Gov. Ron DeSantis after his huge re-election win in Florida; and said the governor could “hurt himself very badly” by running against him for the 2024 nomination.

At the Journal, the editorial board, long critical of Trump, went ballistic: “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser,” it decreed after the Republican belly flop. “Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat… Maybe by now Republicans are sick and tired of losing.”

The beatdown continued at “Trump blasted across media spectrum over Republicans’ midterms performance: ‘Biggest loser tonight,’” one story reported, quoting an über-liberal anchor on MSNBC, Chris Hughes, saying Trump “screwed Republicans.”

Another article asserted, “Many conservatives put the blame on former President Donald Trump,” while the Media Buzz column of Howard Kurtz said “the consensus” is that Trump “made the election all about him(self).”

In other stories by Fox News, “Mike Pence says Trump ‘endangered me and my family’ with ‘reckless’ words on January 6,” and Trump offended black conservative Candace Owens.  In another story, a huge headline jeers: “Some conservatives turn on Trump for attacking Ron DeSantis: ‘What an Idiot.’”

Two takeaways on this Murdoch-led media massacre. First: doing it as clearly labeled opinion is defensible, so long as it doesn’t infect the news pages.  And second: In the eyes of millions of his fervent followers, the conservative media’s going all in against President Trump may further clinch his claim that the media are against him, elevating his mantel as martyr and underdog. This is something they might want to avoid doing.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.

How the Media Turned a Loser into a Hero (OPINION)


Dec 1, 2022 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

The overnight collapse of the FTX crypto trading platform wiped out $8 billion in investor funds and sparked $200 billion in crypto losses. Yet, up until a few weeks ago, FTX was adored by the media and admired by some of the most powerful investment firms in the world.

Blackrock, Softbank, Sequoia, Tiger Global, Paul Tudor Jones, Greylock Partners, and others pumped $1.8 billion into FTX in a year. They did so despite FTX’s having no chief financial officer, no board of directors, lax financial controls, and an accounting firm that bragged about having an office in the metaverse, where it supported a group of scantily clad women known as @DCLBabyDolls. The media made nothing of this.

How could this happen? We love the fever dream of get-there-first, get-rich-quick, and the media adored FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, known for his mussy mop of brown hair and shabby gym shorts and t-shirt. He was to crypto what Marc Andreesen was to the internet in 1996, when he graced the cover of Time magazine in blue jeans and bare feet.

Best of all, SBF, whose wealth peaked at $25 billion, wanted to give it away as fast as he could earn it, part of an approach called EA for “effective altruism,” as if most altruism were otherwise. He signed up a platoon of celebrities to promote FTX, from cranky Larry David in a Super Bowl ad to the NBA’s 3-point superstar Stephen Curry, Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, quarterback Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the legendary QB Tom Brady and his ex, supermodel Giselle Bundchen.

Brady and Bundchen each held 0.15% stakes in FTX (once worth $10 million combined, now worthless). SBF named Giselle FTX’s “Head of Environmental and Social Initiatives” and promised to donate $1 billion in 2022 to help alleviate global poverty, “animal suffering,” and climate change, appearing with her in print ads about their “shared passion for philanthropy.”

It was a fantasy sequence right out of “Revenge of the Nerds.”

More cunningly, SBF was the second-largest donor to the Biden campaign ($5 million, vs. $56 million from #1, Michael Bloomberg). In the midterms, SBF was the second-largest donor to Democrats, after George Soros. He cited plans to spend up to $1 billion in 2024.

Bankman-Fried also funded liberal media outlets, including the Intercept, Vox, and ProPublica, and a reported $25 million to help bankroll a new media site called Semafor, co-founded by a former CEO of Bloomberg Media and the former editor of Buzzfeed, which gave the world the bogus Russia dossier on Donald Trump, leaded by a Hillary operative.

Thus, FTX bought a lot of buzzy, breathless coverage, including stories in the Intercept, Vox, and Semafor. Last August saw a gusher of positive coverage: on Aug. 4 Politico ran a glowing story on SBF. Lead: “One of the biggest donors in Democratic politics this year isn’t sure if he really wants to be a Democratic megadonor—at least not on the party’s terms. But then, part of life as Sam Bankman-Fried is about embracing paradoxes.”

Oh, yuck.

On Aug. 5, the Intercept ran a favorable story on SBF’s Democrat donations; on Aug. 7 the Washington Postfeatured SBF as having donated almost $40 million to the midterm elections. Headline: “Crypto finds a bright spot in a stormy summer: Congress.” On Aug. 8, Vox, another SBF beneficiary, ran a long piece on “How effective altruism went for from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force,” mentioning Sam Bankman-Fried 26 times (and disclosing an unspecified grant from SBF in the sixth graf).

Fortune went wild, running five stories on SBF in the first six days of August. It started on Aug. 1 with a cover story suggesting he is the next Warren Buffett, likening him to 19thcentury banker J.P. Morgan, and observing that “underneath the goofy façade is a trading wunderkind whose ambition knows no limits.” Swoon. Then came four Fortune follow-ups:

Aug. 2: a story on SBF bailing out other crypto firms. Aug. 3: SBF calls Solana the “most underrated token” (it fell 62% in the FTX meltdown), and, in a second story, says, regarding bitcoin at $35,000 by year-end, “I would f—ing take that.” (Bitcoin now is at half that price.)  Aug. 6: SBF says the end of the “crypto winter” doldrums is “just around the corner.”

When journalists turn out to be flat wrong, we choke on the crow. On Nov. 11, Fortune CEO Alan Murray told readers, “it’s a little intimidating to see someone like Sam Bankman-Fried” build a company and have it “collapse in a day. We at Fortune went along for that ride…”

On Nov. 14, Fortune published a takeout on SBF’s “rise and fall,” and it is almost mournful, saying he “was seen as a benevolent and stabilizing force in crypto,” and soft-pedaling “unanswered questions,” such as: “Was he idealistic and overconfident? Slick and fraudulent? Or was he just a risk-taker who got outplayed?”

SBF outplayed them all. Even now, a lot of reporters are unable to see it.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.

Media Yawns at the Twitter Files (OPINION)


Dec 9, 2022 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

If you are one of the 290 million Americans who aren’t on Twitter, have you even heard of the Twitter Files exposé? Maybe not, because The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN and other mainstream media have ignored this story or undermined it for days.

As a longtime journalist, I gotta ask: how dare they? This is a monumental story by most any measure, and their disdain and lack of interest seem to arise more from their own bias rather than from incompetent news judgment.

Elon Musk, the $200 billion man, began releasing internal emails in a document dump called #TheTwitterFiles starting last Friday night (Dec.1), detailing how Twitter interfered in the 2020 election by censoring the New York Post’s exposé on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal weeks before Election Day. He did this via journalist Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi), paragraph by paragraph, with email screen shots attached here and there.

A second batch dropped at 7:20 p.m. ET last night (Thursday, Dec. 8), in a series of 30 tweets by Bari Weiss (@bariweiss), the former New York Times editor. She shows Twitter censorship of conservative views went far beyond the Hunter Biden story: “teams” of Twitter staff “build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”

It is an unmitigated outrage—and most of the media are silent on it. Neither the Washington Post nor the Times had filed anything on the second salvo of Twitter documents by noon Friday.

The first batch of internal documents, unveiled a week ago, showed the FBI had been in frequent contact with Twitter executives leading up to the election, warning them that Russian “disinformation” could be coming. The FBI did this having had the Hunter laptop in its possession for almost a year, and knowing it might leak.

Taibbi also shows that Biden campaign officials made multiple requests to Twitter staff to muzzle certain accounts, so routine that one employee in an email responded to a new batch: “handled these.”

The Democratic National Committee got Twitter to silence voices it disliked, including actor James Woods (@realJamesWoods), and his acerbic commentary. Now Woods claims he will sue the DNC. I talk more about this on my podcast, “What’s Bugging Me,” on the Ricochet platform.

Is this a great story or what? Fox News and the New York Post jumped on it, of course, filling up most slots on the first couple of pages of Google search by that first Friday night and into the weekend. jumped on it early, too—and made sure to play down the story.

Taibbi posted his first tweet about the Twitter Files at 6:34 p.m. on Friday night, Dec. 2. Less than four hours later, at 10:23 p.m. on Friday night, posted a story by Brian Fung that would make a defense lawyer proud:

— the document dump “largely corroborated what was already known”;

— Twitter staff “grappled with fears” of  a “Russian hacking operation” (poor babies);

— Taibbi said Dems prevailed on Twitter more than Republicans did, “but provided no internal documents to back up his assertion.” (Has CNN ever provided internal documents to back up any assertion in any story? Unlikely.)

CNN updated the story 48 minutes later at 11:11 p.m. to add four extra paragraphs of exoneration, my search on the Wayback Machine reveals, so as to point out:

— “The Taibbi posts undermine a top claim by Musk and Republicans, who have accused the FBI of leaning on social media companies to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop stories.” (That is debatable: they leaned on the already-willing platforms to produce the same result. Suckers.)

— Musk tweeted Friday night that Twitter acted “under orders from the government,” but Taibbi said “there is no evidence – that I’ve seen – of any government involvement…” (The latter falls short of disproving the former.)

— Facebook lawyers say the same about Republican claims that the FBI “coerced” Facebook to suppress the laptop story, CNN states. (The FBI’s warning Big Tech of coming Russian interference—which never happened!—was a cunning form of coercion or cooperation, and it still is newsworthy.)

At The Washington Post, a blasé article by Cat Zakrzewski and Faiz Siddiqui ran online Saturday evening, saying, “It was billed as a bombshell,” but “by the time the dust settled Saturday, even some conservatives were grumbling that it was a dud.

The part about “even some conservatives” was true: former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka tweeted, “Big Whop.” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine told Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson the Twitter Files scoop “wasn’t the smoking gun we’d hoped for.”

This is a questionable take, and the rest the Post story drops the election interference angle to focus on the “chief twit” (Elon Musk) and a cascade of challenges facing the company, which is now a privately owned enterprise rather than a publicly traded company. Who cares?

The Times ran nothing online on Friday night. And nothing all day long on Saturday.

Finally, after 6 o’clock on Sunday night, the Times ran an essayistic take by Michael N. Grynbaum that called the “Twitter Files” a “tempest” and ignored the FBI’s intervention, instead focusing on the “intense debates in the intersecting worlds of media, politics and tech.” A day later, the Times buried this navel-gazing thumb-sucker on page B5 with the headline:

“Musk and an Independent Journalist Ignite Debate by Releasing the ‘Twitter Files’”

Rather than, say, “FBI, DNC pressed Twitter to Interfere in 2020 Election.” Which they did do, essentially. Neither the Times nor the Post have published follow-up stories on the Twitter Files as yet. Why so shy, guys?

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Inside the Twitter Files: More Media Ignorance


Dec 18, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

“Inside the Twitter Files” is a special three-part Mediaverse series on how some in the news media have covered the release of internal conversations among Twitter employees and government officials related to the social network’s policies and decisions.

The Twitter Files exposè is one of the biggest scandals in decades in business, politics, and government—and most media outlets are ignoring it or undermining it.

Many Americans might feel outraged by the latest revelations: The FBI used Twitter as a veritable private listening post to monitor, restrain, and censor the comments and retweets of even small-time accounts on the social media platform.

A total of 80 FBI agents assigned to a social-media SWAT team are “in contact with Twitter for all sorts of reasons,” journalist Matt Taibbi reports. He calls it a “grotesque master-and-canine relationship,” with Twitter staff eagerly seeking the approval of their FBI overlords.

Taibbi says the FBI and Twitter’s chief censor, Yoel Roth, exchanged “over 150 emails” from January 2020 to November 2022. This means the coziness continued well into the Biden administration.

This included “a surprisingly high number” of FBI requests to censor supposed election misinformation, “even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts,” Taibbi said.

His newsletter to subscribers describes this in stunning and alarming terms, no matter what your political bent.

“We now have clear evidence that agencies like the FBI and the DHS are in the business of mass-analyzing social media activity—your tweets and mine, down to the smallest users with the least engagement—and are, themselves, mass-marking posts to be labeled, “bounced,” deleted or “visibility filtered’ by firms like Twitter.

“The FBI is not doing this as part of any effort to build criminal cases. (Italics mine.) They’ve taken on this new authority unilaterally, as part of an apparently massive new effort to control and influence public opinion.”

Tap-tap-tap!!! Hello New York Times and Washington Post and CNN—is this mic on? They and the rest of the mainstream media have devoted little to zero coverage to the Twitter Files, like a bad cop who looks the other way. See my Mediaverse column last week.

This is a monumental story, and the media want to bury it. Keith Kelly, who wrote 2,000 Media Ink columns for the New York Post, told me here that this story warrants far more coverage than it is getting.

In contrast, when Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, briefly suspended the accounts of reporters for the Times, Washington Post, and CNN and a few others on Thursday, the big guns of the liberal media finally woke up and took notice—skipping past #TheTwitterFiles6 to focus on themselves.

It was as if the Hindenburg had crashed in flames all over again: oh, the humanity! Musk’s move “alarmed free-speech advocates,” the Times reported, solemnly, quoting a spokesman for CNN criticizing same. CNN called the suspensions “impulsive and unjustified,” and Washington Post editor Sally Buzbee said the suspension of Post scribe Drew Harwell “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.”

C’mon, ma’am. Even as the reporters’ Twitter accounts were silenced for a short while, they still could tell their stories in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and on CNN.

That used to be a big deal, remember when? Now, apparently, this no longer is sufficient. They need Twitter, which is one reason they continue to criticize Elon Musk.

The 12-digit billionaire restored the journalists’ accounts a day later, having made his point: what a bunch of babies. He said the reporters were promoting a now-banned account that tweeted updates of the exact current location of Elon’s private jet, which he viewed as publishing “assassination coordinates.”

This is understandable: on Wednesday, (Dec. 14) Musk tweeted video of a “crazy stalker” in black-bloc and a black facemask—antifa-style. Musk said the man had tailed a car carrying Musk’s toddler son and at one point had climbed on the car’s hood. Intimidation.

Now that the reporters’ Twitter accounts have been restored, might they find time to report on the Twitter Files and all the government and private misdeeds the files reveal? Doubtful: the media seemingly are on a mission to explain away this story and say it doesn’t matter at all.

And that is the subject of Part 2, coming up next.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Inside the Twitter Files: What You Need to Know
About ‘What You Need to Know’


Dec 19, 2022 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

“Inside the Twitter Files” is a special three-part Mediaverse series on how some in the news media have covered the release of internal conversations among Twitter employees and government officials related to the social network’s policies and decisions.

The media love to use Twitter to reach potentially millions more people than their own websites ever would attract, and by now one of their favorite come-ons is cliché:

“What you need to know.” Though, most times, their claim is untrue: rarely do you need to know these things, and sometimes the things cited can miss the real point. Missing the real point seems to be the media’s objective as they try to bury #TheTwitterFiles.

Elon Musk’s release of internal documents has made it clear Twitter executives were drunk with power and lefty bias as they silenced the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story a month before the 2020 election; and banned a U.S. president; and muted conservative accounts at the behest of the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign. And served a few Republicans sidling up for some censorship requests, as well.

Twitter staff did all of this and more—after meeting weekly and separately with agents from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence.

In the latest document drop, Twitter Files Part 6, it is clear the FBI turned Twitter into an obedient listening post for monitoring and muting even the smallest accounts that espoused views the government disliked. See Part One of this series.

Like a bad cop who keeps looking the other way, the media refused to cover this story for almost two weeks (see my Mediaverse column last week). Now, at long last, the media are speaking up—so they can try to kill it.

A few days ago, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, the Economist and others began posting primers on the Twitter Files, telling us their version of what it all means.

Though they hadn’t covered it at all.

Here’s the eerie thing about it: their primers bear disturbing similarities in wording, thinking, takeaways, and efforts to gainsay this story. It is as if this outbreak of Group Think came from the same memo. To spot the parallels in the stories below, see the words in italics. Various outlets now are saying that:

— this is an issue of “content moderation,” rather than what it really was: censorship.

— Twitter staff struggled to strike a balance in a business that is “messy,” as stories in The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR put it.

— there is nothing surprising or new here, we already know most of this. “Show’s over, folks, move along.”

In the Washington Post, an “analysis” (read: opinionated news story) by Will Oremus on Thursday calls the Twitter Files an “exercise in hypocrisy” and adds: “Whether you find Twitter files a bombshell or a ‘nothingburger’ probably depends on how much you already knew about the messy, often subjective work of online content moderation—and whether you were predisposed to see a political conspiracy at work in the documents.”  So, it must be my fault.

On, an “analysis” by business writer Claire Duffy is headlined: “The real revelation from the ‘Twitter Files’: Content moderationis messy.” She pontificates:

“In the absence of meaningful coordination or government oversight, a select few powerful tech platforms are left to make incredibly impactful and difficult decisions around content moderation—and, even when well intentioned, the people at these companies often struggle with how messy that process can be.”

Well intentioned? The Twitter Files are replete with ill intentions. Also: why is a CNN writer all but inviting “government oversight” of a free-speech platform?

In the Economist, we are told “What to Make of the Twitter Files”: “Perhaps the most important thing the Files do is demolish the notion that a centrally controlled entity can write down a set of rules to facilitate the control of a public digital space in which hundreds of millions of users send billions of messages a day.” A longwinded, British way of saying messy.

At (“Twitter Files: What they are and why they matter”), writer Aimee Picchi reports that “Twitter executives were confused over, and sometimes didn’t agree with, the decision to suppress the story.” This leaves out that any disagreement was a rare exception. She says Twitter staff got censorship requests from “connected actors,” without citing Biden staff.

At super-liberal, government-supported NPR, correspondent Shannon Bond, who covers “how misleading narratives and false claims circulate online and offline,” took a slanted cut in her story posted on Dec. 14. Headline: “Elon Musk is using the Twitter Files to discredit foes and push conspiracy theories.” Which is quite the mouthful.

The NPR writer posits that “many tech journalists, social media experts and former Twitter employees say Musk’s claims are over-hyped,” and that the documents “largely corroborate what is already known about the messy business of policing a large social network.”

So, move along.

She quotes Renée DiResta, a research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, saying, “What is really coming through… for me is: people who are confronting high-stakes, unanticipated events and trying to figure out what policies apply and how.” How noble.

Then at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, Dec. 15, the same Renée DiResta published a column online in the Atlantic, a platform even more jubilantly liberal than NPR: “The Twitter Files Are a Missed Opportunity.”

She writes: “Depending on your perspective, you might conclude that suspending Trump was an essential safety measure, a big scandal, or utterly inconsequential.” Inconsequential? That is a foolish thing to say.

Elsewhere, in an op ed for, Joan Donovan of the Harvard Kennedy School says the Twitter Files “are a desperate attempt to legitimize a well-worn conservative narrative” about the Hunter Biden laptop. She contends “the details of the ‘Twitter Files’ do not seem to hold new revelations,” but they are “demonizing” Twitter’s now-fired censors, who are “in the crosshairs, quite literally.” Yoel Roth has “fled his home amid death threats.”

Donovan, like so many others in the media, worries more about Twitter’s now-fired chief censor than she does about the Constitution.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”


Inside the Twitter Files: Chasing Down a Little Lie


Dec 20, 2022 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

“Inside the Twitter Files” is a special three-part Mediaverse series on how some in the news media have covered the release of internal conversations among Twitter employees and government officials related to the social network’s policies and decisions.

A Little Lie pops up in the media when they are forced to acknowledge the existence of the Twitter Files. Or, perhaps, it is just an innocent fact error: that the Twitter censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop exposé in the New York Post lasted only a day or so.

The inference being, so, what’s a little delay to ensure the sanctity of U.S. elections?

This fib has appeared in articles on literally hundreds of websites, though it is incontrovertibly false. And how long the lockdown lasted is beside the point: Twitter had no legal right to question the reporting standards of the Post, a 220-year-old newspaper. The Hunter Biden story posed zero danger to the public, zero hate speech, zero “harmful content.”

Plus, Twitter executives’ frequent contact with the FBI before the 2020 election opens the possibility that the government sought a prior restraint, in violation of the First Amendment. See Part One of this series. Yet the media avoid talking about this, yawning at the Twitter Files, as I wrote here.

Back to the Little Lie. This came up last week as I was recording a chat with Lanny Davis for my new pod, “What’s Bugging Me.” He is the venerable Washington insider, diehard Democrat, and advisor to presidents. Lanny asked me: is it true Twitter’s lockdown of the New York Post account lasted barely more than a day? He had read this in a New York Magazine article.

I didn’t know the answer, which I admitted only reluctantly, as you can see here. Later, I did a cursory search that any reporter could do and found that the Post itself reported that Twitter “locked The Post out of its account for more than two weeks.” Varietyreported that the Twitter lockout period, in fact, lasted 16 days.

Then I did a deeper dive into the New York piece, “The ‘Twitter Files’ is What it Claims to Expose,” by senior writer Eric Levitz. Oh my, 3,596 fightin’ words, almost five times the length of an op ed in The Wall Street Journal, devoted to defenestrating the Twitter Files.

Samples: “Musk is using his newfound power over discourse” to “promote the conservative movement’s demagogic narratives…” The Post “ostensibly obtained” emails from the Hunter Biden laptop… forensic analysts confirmed the authenticity of “some” (their italics) but not all of the documents. Regarding Hunter’s selling access to his VP dad: “This is sordid. But it’s also mundane.” Wrong: it cannot be both.

On page 5 of an eight-page printout, the New York piece says of the Twitter ban on the Post: “Within 24 hours, Twitter reversed course.” Wrong again.

The New York screed ran on December 10. Five days later, weighed in with its own long story: “Why the Twitter files actually matter,” 2,834 words to commit the same error and make many of the same points, in more tentative language.

The article, by senior politics correspondent Andrew Prokop, uses a blasé tone, as if we’ve all been here before: “Big surprise: The Twitter Files…have landed as a polarizing salvo in the culture war. . . . (M)ost liberals and many mainstream journalists are unimpressed. They say Twitter’s policies… generally seem at least defensible.”

“Still, it is worth evaluating the documents on their own merits to the extent we can, without a too-hasty dismissal of all (anti-Twitter) arguments or a defense of Twitter’s old management regime.” Right, never be too hasty in dismissing all anti-Twitter arguments, you have to take your time when you do this.

And then this: “The ban lasted a little over one day before Twitter lifted it, but the recriminations have continued ever since.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The two long stories in New York and Vox join a raft of “What You Need to Know” primers from The Washington Post, CNN, and other media companies (see Part Two of this series).

New York and Vox are owned by the same parent company, Vox Media. If they get it wrong, the Internet is so vast and democratic that surely other outlets will offset this and correct the record, right? Maybe, but then I did a Google search of the Vox story’s headline.

Results: more than 200 websites carried the same article, with the same error, under the same headline, making the same arguments. Usually without identifying Vox or Andrew Prokop as the originators, and often under a different byline.

This includes a version “by Cathy Blank” on, one by “browsing author Sophia” on,” another by Cable and Company, and no-byline copies on, unshared news,,, and

Surely there is some sophisticated technology reason, beyond my ken, for all of this erroneous sameness. Still, it feels like I just opened a hidden door, and suddenly we see inside a cavernous, darkened room filled with hundreds of android clones, all chanting the same things, over and over. Which works pretty well as a metaphor for the media, now that I think about it.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Twitter Files: Media Silent on New Round of Violations


Dec 30, 2022 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

The mainstream media’s concerted campaign to ignore the Twitter Files exposé has lasted for a full month now, and they continue to look the other way amid a torrent of disclosures that usually would occupy the front page for days.

Thanks to the tenth and latest chapter of #TheTwitterFiles, released on Tuesday (Dec. 27), we now know the Trump administration, the Biden administration, and the FBI and other federal agencies descended on Twitter to censor Americans’ dissenting views on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They got Twitter to silence and shut down contrarian views that questioned the wisdom of Covid lockdowns; and block Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from reaching his more than 300,000 followers to tell them about a legitimate medical journal article; and ban accounts from printing publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

None of this forbidden information was aimed at helping the feds prevent or investigate a crime; none of it was “dangerous” in terms of inciting a riot or violence of any kind; and much of it was valid, accurate, scientific information, yet it was banned anyway.

These latest outrages follow previous Twitter Files releases that revealed a stunning array of efforts by our government to impose an illegal, unconstitutional prior restraint on the expression of U.S. citizens, in blatant and rampant violation of their First Amendment right to free speech. Twitter executives, to their discredit, happily complied, cheered on by a staff that was over 90% liberal Democrats.

Thanks to the Twitter Files, we now know the machinations behind Twitter’s unwise decision to block the New York Post’s Twitter account for 16 days, rather than let it publish its scoop on the Hunter Biden laptop on the platform; and the details of its unacceptable and biased decision to permanently ban President Trump’s account.

We also know—not from the media at all, but from the tweets put out by three independent journalists working with new Twitter owner Elon Musk—that the FBI had 80 agents prevailing on Twitter frequently to censor even small accounts with little engagement. The Democratic National Committee also tapped Twitter to censor opposition voices.

The CIA also was involved, and the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the State Department, the Department of Defense, a foreign intelligence committee, state police departments, and state elections officials—all of them pressing Twitter to censor, mute, and muzzle accounts and remove even joke tweets as “misinformation.”

In addition to silencing the Twitter accounts of Americans, the FBI and other agencies further instructed Twitter to play up the messaging of accounts whose views they supported. They were manipulating public opinion, secretly and without any legal authority to do so. Further, the DoD and State Dept. set up fake accounts to shill U.S. propaganda overseas.

Key point: If these powerful government entities did this to Twitter, with some 40 million Americans on that platform, it seems a good bet they were doing it to Facebook, too, with well over 200 million Americans onboard, two-thirds of them every day.  And most other platforms.

Yet the media are letting all of this pass without a peep of protest. They are lying about the real import of the Twitter Files; and couching their scant coverage in similar language and sentiment to play down any outrage; and reprinting fact errors on hundreds of websites.

For proof of this, see my three-part series on #TheTwitterFiles, here:

Part One: The Twitter Files: More Media Ignorance

Part Two: What You Need to Know About ‘What You Need to Know’

Part Three: How One Media Lie Spread to Hundreds of Websites

The glaring question I have for the media is: why are you burying this story? Here are a few possibilities:

  •      Fear of Trump. The media detest him and want to avoid doing anything that might help his run for president in 2024. The Twitter Files could make Donald Trump a more sympathetic figure.
  •      Political bias. If Republicans were revealed to have done to liberals what the Biden administration pressured Twitter to do to conservatives, the media uproar would last for months.
  •      Professional jealousy. The New York Times and Washington Post, which set the agenda for most media coverage, usually would be spoon-fed this scoop. But Elon Musk, wisely, declined to go that route, instead relying on independent journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger.
  •      Professional embarrassment. They have gotten beaten badly on this exposé, and they failed to follow up after the first few “chapters,” hoping the story would fade. Now they are too embarrassed to start covering this bona fide national scandal.

Another possible explanation looms, this one more disturbing: maybe the media themselves have something to hide. What communications did the media have with Twitter and government agencies regarding their coverage of election “misinformation,” voting glitches, Covid policies, the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” Black Lives Matter protests, trans women in sports, LGBTQ issues, and more?

My hope is that ensuing chapters of the Twitter Files will tell us what the media won’t.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

The Twitter Files: Whatever Happened to ‘Just Say No’?


Jan 6, 2023 4 min

Credit: Rolling Stone

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

The 11th and 12th installments of The Twitter Files came out on Tuesday of this week, revealing a new round of startling details of how Twitter executives conspired to censor or otherwise muzzle thousands of accounts at the behest of government officials.

All along, one question gnaws at me: Why didn’t the Twitter executives Just Say No?

The clearest explanation I can find is that Twitter brass hats abided this rampant violation of the First Amendment because they agreed with it. Ultra-liberal Twitter execs were eager to silence conservative or contrarian voices, including President Trump, the New York Post, radio host Dan Bongino, former New York Times reporter and vaccine sceptic Alex Berenson, lockdown doubter Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and reporter Paul Sperry.

This is corroborated by the latest release of the Twitter Files, showing Twitter agreed to act as the “belly button of the USG (U.S. Government),” as FBI agent Elvis Chan put it in one email. It silenced accounts and tweets that were factual and accurate, from credible sources. Twitter banned people from publishing publicly available CDC data on Covid-19 cases. It strangled accounts with teensy followings and scant activity—and it even deleted jokes because they might be “election disinformation.”

None of this was done to investigate a crime, or prevent some terror plot, or protect the American people. Most of it was done to suppress unwanted opinions and silence Republicans—even as the Trump administration itself was making its own censorship demands.

And for 32 days since the first Twitter Files release, the media have been all but silent on it. This is my fifth Mediaverse column on this scandal—more coverage than the entire staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post have provided. #ShamelessShills.

You can read the first part of my recent three-part series on this, here, and listen to a longer take on the latest episode of my podcast, “What’s Bugging Me,” here.

The censorship “requests”—which Twitter, government and the media euphemistically label as “content moderation”—escalated in early 2017, in response to criticism about social media’s role in electing Donald Trump. The intervention continued under the Biden administration, as well.

This started at the FBI and soon spread to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, State Department, Department of Defense, Treasury, Foreign Influence Task Force, the Democratic National Committee, the Trump administration, the Biden administration, members of Congress, dozens of police departments, state elections offices, and various think tanks.

Now that is your slippery slope, writ large.

But one government agency was told to go pound sand by the folks at Twitter: the GEC or Global Engagement Center, the de facto intelligence arm of the State Department.

Journalist Matt Taibbi reports that in early May 2020, in the last year of the Trump presidency, the GEC sent Twitter a list of 5,500 “suspicious” accounts that were helping China bury information on the Covid-19 pandemic.

This put Twitter executives “in a lather,” Taibbi says. They noted that the accounts included those belonging to government entities in Canada and the Americas, and western NGO’s, human rights organizations, and journalists, including a CNN account.

While Twitter’s leaders were fine bowing to dozens of government actors, they viewed the GEC as “a weak sister of the intelligence community, and also ‘political,’” Taibbi writes, “which in Twitter-ese was code for ‘pro-Trump.’”

The clincher: One former defense intelligence source said Twitter preferred the FBI because it was “less Trumpy.” Separately, a senior Twitter legal exec, Stacia Cardille, said in one email that GEC “cannot be trusted, particularly if they can score political points.”

Finally, Twitter execs grew some courage and said no to just one government agency. And even then, they relented. Ultimately, they agreed to let the GEC monitor a listen-only communications line during their regular briefings with the FBI and other intelligence agencies.

They should have told the feds to jump off, from the very first request, and then gone public with the rejection. That is what journalists proudly did for decades when government officials tried to stop them from printing information they disliked.

Twitter executives aren’t journalists, yet, even tech companies have been known to flatly reject government intrusion. In December 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif., a husband-and-wife terrorist team, ISIS supporters, shot and killed 14 people at the husband’s holiday work party. They died later in a shootout with police.

Yet Apple refused the pleas of law enforcement officials to help them crack open the iPhone used by the husband—even though it was owned by his employer, who consented to the search. In that case, Apple CEO Tim Cook went way too far. No terrorist, alive or, especially, a dead one, has any right to privacy after he murders 14 people and fires 76 rounds at the police.

But Apple’s response shows the braver course that Twitter executives could and should have taken. Big Tech was okay with protecting a terrorist—and all too eager to crack down on the free speech rights of thousands of Americans.

Something is woefully out of whack here.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Twitter Files Part 14: How the Media Stoked a Democrat Conspiracy Theory


Jan 13, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Twitter Files Part 14 came out on Thursday, and it may offer one reason why the media have ignored this exposé for six weeks now: their own embarrassment about #Russiagate and how they covered a kerfuffle called #ReleaseTheMemo in early 2018.

Thanks to journalist Matt Taibbi, we now know that the media eagerly joined Democrat efforts to discredit and dismiss the Nunes Memo, a classified report saying the FBI had lied to the U.S. foreign surveillance court to get warrants to spy on the Trump campaign back in 2016.

Moreover, they promoted the false assertion that a Russian bot plot was circulating news of these anti-FBI charges on Twitter. They did so even after Twitter executives had warned reporters and Democrats that they had found zero evidence of any Russian involvement, at all. Twitter acquiesced in this deception and stopped short of publicly disavowing it.

Thus, with the media’s help, the Democrats were able to pull off a twofer. They diverted attention away from the FBI’s lies to the court. And they further stoked the bogus conspiracy theory of Trump collusion with the Russians by playing up the fake bot attack.

And know this: two years after this went down, a special investigation conducted by the Inspector General of the Justice Department found that “virtually all” of the allegations in the classified Nunes Memo were true, Taibbi points out. Yet the media jeered at it.

As outlined in 40 tweets, this story begins on Jan. 18, 2018, one year into the Trump administration. Republican Devin Nunes, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, releases to the committee a classified report on the FBI’s lies and the fabricated falsehoods in the  Steele dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Instantly, reports of the Nunes Memo started trending on Twitter under a new hashtag: #ReleaseTheMemo. This set off a “panic” among Democrats, who denounced the Nunes memo, “saying it was boosted by Russian bots and ‘trolls,’” Taibbi says.

Three days later, on Jan. 21, 2018, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat, sent an open letter to Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, asserting that #ReleasetheMemo was being propagated by Russian bots: “We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans.”

Two days after that, on Jan. 23, Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Diane Feinstein of California sent an open letter to Twitter’s Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, insisting the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag has “gained the immediate attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations.”

But Twitter officials were “aghast,” Taibbi reports, “finding no evidence of Russian influence.” He quotes an internal memo in which one Twitter executive says, “We are feeding congressional trolls.” Twitter revealed this lack of evidence to the Democrats and the media and was “roundly ignored,” as Taibbi tweets here.

So, for two months in early 2018, the media went all in to dismiss the Nunes Memo “in oddly identical language, calling it a ‘joke,’” Taibbi writes. “Two ex-DOJ officials on Nunes memo: ‘a bad joke.’” NBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell, quoted in the Hill: “Nunes has turned House Intel Committee ‘into joke.’” MSNBC shill Joy Reid: “So, the Nunes memo is a dud, failing to prove that the Russia investigation was illegitimate…”

The Washington Post, by columnists Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman: “The Nunes Memo is Out. It’s a Joke and a Sham.”

The joke is on us. We are being played.

Previously, I told you how one “little lie” about the Twitter Files got picked up by major media outlets and repeated on hundreds of websites; and how the media are ignoring this scandal in concert; and trying to undermine it; and playing down shocking censorship of valid Covid-19 content by both the Trump and Biden administrations. In another article, we explored why Twitter leaders failed to Just Say No.

That is more coverage than the entire staffs of the New York Times and the Washington Post have provided—combined. Search “Twitter Files” on their websites, and you find only this tiny trickle of verbiage: WashPost, NYT.

In the #ReleaseTheMemo pressure campaign from Democrats, Taibbi writes: “Despite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story, Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record.”  He continues: “As a result, reporters from the AP to Politico to NBC to Rolling Stone continued to hammer the ‘Russian bots’ theme, despite a total lack of evidence.”

As in this Associated Press headline: “Russian Twitter accounts push #releasethememo conservative meme, researchers say.” And this one in U.S. News & World Report: “Nail in the Coffin.” And this headline in Rolling Stone, where Matt Taibbi clinched his reputation as a fearless journalist: “Release the Memo: What’s the Conspiracy Behind the Right-Wing Meme?”

The media also blamed Russian bots for other memes, such as “#SchuymerShutdown, #ParklandShooting, even #GunControlNow – to ‘widen the divide,’ according to the New York Times, Taibbi reports. This, despite Twitter’s finding zero Russian involvement.

Yet, in their public comments, Twitter execs stopped short of contradicting the Russian conspiracy theory put out by Democrats. An internal note shows that, for on-the-record comments, Twitter said it “is committed to addressing malicious activity on our platform.” On “Deep background not for attribution,” Twitter spokesmen could say the #ReleaseTheMemo and #SchumerShutdown hashtags “appear to be organically trending.” Meaning: no Russians.

Matt Taibbi says that “NBC, Politico, AP, the Times, Business Insider and other media outlets who played up the ‘Russian bots’ story—even Rolling Stone—all declined to comment for this story.” No wonder. As did spokesmen for Democrats Schiff, Feinstein, and Blumenthal

But Devin Nunes tells Taibbi: “Schiff and the Democrats falsely claimed Russians were behind the Release the Memo hashtag, all my investigative work… By spreading the Russia collusion hoax, they instigated one of the greatest outbreaks of mass delusion in U.S. history.”

And the mainstream media accompanied them, applauding every step of the way.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

An Open Letter to Elon Musk


Jan 20, 2023 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Please help me, Elon, you’re my only hope.

My worry is that your Twitter Files exposé is dying, buried by the biased media. Surely there must be some way we can coax them—or force them—into telling this story.

So far, only conservative outlets like Fox News and Newsmax are covering this story. The New York Times and The Washington Post, once great newspapers, are ignoring it to an embarrassing degree. The Times has run just one story on Dec. 4. The Post has been silent since Dec. 16, after running three stories (a debunker, a glowing profile of a Democrat), and an “analysis” calling it “hypocrisy”).

By contrast, this is my eighth Mediaverse column on the #TwitterFiles since the first one on Dec. 9. Plus a few columns on, and several appearances on Newsmax TV. As well as my podcast, “What’s Bugging Me,”  every week since early December.

Frankly, Elon, some of my friends think I may be getting a little obsessed. And it’s not enough! It is as if nobody is hearing any of it. Am I being shadow banned—or does no one care?

Most people never have heard of the Twitter Files, I would bet. Some who have heard of it see it as no big deal—in part because of stories that tell you “What you need to know.”

Last Wednesday, I was having lunch in a Cuban restaurant near Times Square with a lifelong friend, an incisive lawyer whose parents fled Castro’s Cuba, and he tells me the Twitter Files are a “nothingburger.” A favorite one-word dismissal in the media, lately.

Then on Twitter the next morning, an account with 45,000 followers, @CALI4AZ, tweeted this: “I’m starting to think the Twitter Files is actually a distraction, we’ve known for a long time what’s really been going on, nothing new. Am I wrong?”

Yes, CALI4AZ is wrong. Most Americans don’t yet know that the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and dozens of other agencies set up shop at Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. That they were pushing Twitter to silence even tiny accounts with little activity, and promote others that carried messages they preferred.

One big PSYOPS campaign. And they are getting away with it, Musk Man!

In Davos this week, at the World Economic Forum, FBI Director Christopher Wray gave you the finger, basically. On a panel, he said, as seen in this tweet:

“And I think the sophistication of the private sector is improving, and, particularly important, the level of collaboration between the private sector and the government, especially the FBI, has, I think, made significant strides. Pretty much every technology we could talk about today, we see both opportunity but great, great dangers in the wrong hands.”

The tech already is in the wrong hands: those of the FBI and the CIA. The utter gall, Mr. Musk: the “sophistication” of the private sector? He means “obedience.” “Collaboration”? Try “collusion,” and “quid pro quo,” government censorship in exchange for less competition.

What to do, Elon? How can we shake the media and the people out of their blasé, cynical stupor and make them wake up to the dangers revealed by the Twitter Files? Do all of these:

  •  Crowdsource it! Release to the public all of the thousands of Old Twitter documents in the #TwitterFiles exposé and let the people have at it. Thousands of Taibbis.
  • Set up separate, exclusive document releases with the Times and the Post, on a topic they are more likely to cover: how the Trump administration demanded Twitter silence 5,500 accounts that supposedly were in cahoots with China on Covid-19 news; how the Trump State Department set up fake accounts to influence foreign affairs.
  •  Find any shred of evidence that a government agency or conservative group pressured Old Twitter censors to mute publicly available information on abortion referral services. Leak it through Planned Parenthood, and the media will go crazy with it.
  •  Reveal all Old Twitter emails and Slack conversations involving the Times, the Post, and any other media outlets that were in touch with Twitter censors and the FBI about election “misinformation” and anything else.

That last move might be worth doing first, Elon, given their uncharacteristic lack of interest in a government plot to censor Americans’ free speech on a massive scale.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

The Things the Media Don’t Say


Jan 27, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

“It’s not what you say that counts, it’s ‘What You Don’t Say.’” This catch phrase for a TV game show 60 years ago aptly describes the media today, on the left and on the right.

What they leave out can speak volumes about their ideological bent. We have seen this on shocking display as the media ignore the Twitter Files, perhaps to avoid the risk of aiding the re-election bid of their No. 1 enemy, Donald Trump.

Myriad other examples are popping up lately, as in the coverage of the Antifa riot in Atlanta on Saturday night, Jan. 22.  Protesters torched a police car, shattered the windows of office buildings in downtown Atlanta, and sent tourists fleeing. Police arrested half a dozen people on charges of domestic terrorism, rioting, arson, and more.

Five of them were from out-of-state, meaning: imported by Antifa to make trouble.
The rioters were part of a crowd protesting the police shooting, four days earlier, of an activist who had shot at police first, striking an officer in the pelvis and requiring him to undergo surgery. The site of the shooting was a forest where activists have set up dozens of tents in the past year, to try to stop plans to build a new police training facility on a nearby 85-acre site. They call it Cop City.

This is a compelling story, but the New York Times didn’t cover the Atlanta riot, at all. Even though the paper had covered the story of the cop’s shooting the protester earlier in the week. In that story, The Times waited 11 paragraphs to explicitly quote an official’s saying the protester had fired first, “hitting the trooper, and officers returned fire.”

Other media outlets that did cover the Atlanta riot avoided mentioning Antifa. The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, NPR, and the Guardian left out any reference to the radical group. On the right, stories on, the Free Beacon, and the Daily Mail made sure to cite Antifa—seven times in the Free Beacon story, 12 times in the Daily Mail.

The Associated Press account, carried on and hundreds of other websites, describes Antifa’s black-bloc uniform without naming Antifa: “Masked activists dressed in all black threw rocks and lit fireworks in front of a skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation,” part of a march “to mourn the death of the protester, a nonbinary person who went by the name Tortuguita and used they/it pronouns.”

What do nonbinary and pronouns have to do with police shooting back in self-defense after coming under fire? It insinuates the possibility of a hate crime where there was none.

CNN came under fire for over the weekend for featuring an on-air guest on “CNN Newsroom” who minimized the Atlanta incident: “You keep using these words, ‘violent, violent, violent, violent, violent’… The only acts of violence against people that I saw were actually police tackling protesters.”

By Monday, CNN had dropped the story, even though Atlanta has been its base since its founding in 1980. In six hours I recorded from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the riot got a teaser at 2:28 p.m. edt which lasted nine seconds, with no follow-up story. And that was it.

The Guardian played the police shooting as an attack on the environmental movement. Its story opens with the tragic loss felt by the mother of the protester, who was called Tortuguita (“little turtle” in Spanish), and says: “The killing has stunned and shocked”—what is the difference between those two?—“not only Tortuguita’s family and friends, but also the environmental and social justice movement in Georgia and across the United States.”

The story, published on Jan. 21, says officials say the suspect shot first, “but they have produced no evidence for the claim.” Actually, a day earlier, Atlanta’s Fox5 local TV station reported that bullet fragments removed from the cop’s body in surgery matched the gun found at the scene.

Meanwhile, here is how the Free Beacon, a conservative outlet, covered the riot:

“Far-left Antifa rioters on Saturday rampaged through downtown Atlanta, smashing storefront windows and torching a police cruiser. Several agitators were armed with explosive devices, which they used to destroy an Atlanta Police Department vehicle… The anti-police rioters also damaged three businesses and threw rocks and fireworks at the Atlanta Police Foundation building.”

The Beacon further reported that a group called “Scenes from the Atlanta Forest” had called for a “Night of Rage” aimed at “reciprocal violeThe Things the Media Don’t Saynce” against police. Which other outlets left unmentioned.

One of those arrested, an Antifa follower who is the 22-year-old scion of a surgeon in Maine, had been let out on bail after getting arrested on December 13th in an earlier protest. So, sure, we had hundreds of Trump supporters sit in jail for almost two years after walking into the Capital building in the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” but this Antifa brat is released on bail?

Albeit you had read this in the Daily Mail of London. Most other media left it out.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

On Covering Crimes Against Asians (part one)


Feb 1, 2023 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

The headlines and TV coverage two weekends ago were at once shocking and all too familiar. Two mass shootings in California within days of each other, both of them targeting Asian-American communities, one in Chinatown in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles, the second in Half Moon Bay, 40 miles south of San Francisco.

Instantly, the media machine raised the specter of anti-Asian racism and a surge in hate crimes perpetrated on Asian people since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in January 2020. In each case, it was known only hours later that the shooters were elderly Asian men, rather than white skinhead neo-Nazis in stormtrooper boots and body armor.

Yet many media outlets plumbed the racism angle, anyway.

After the first attack in Monterey Park, on Saturday night, Jan. 21, within hours it was known the suspect was a 72-year-old Asian man. He had entered a dance studio he knew well, shot 20 people (killing 11 of them), and then tried to do the same thing at a second site in Alhambra but was thwarted by a hero. He later shot himself when cornered by the police.

On Sunday evening, eight hours after local authorities held a press conference and identified the first shooter as Asian, the New Yorker published an online essay by the editor of, Michael Luo: “The Spectre of Anti-Asian Violence in the Monterey Park Shooting.” The deck cites the “familiar apprehension and dread experienced by so many Asian Americans since attacks against them began to soar during the pandemic.”

He invokes the 1880s and how more than 100 western communities expelled Chinese immigrants, and “a massacre that had taken place about a hundred fifty years earlier in Los Angeles,” when 15 Chinese men were hanged. Forgive me, but we are better than that now, yes?

Luo then cites an incident at his daughter’s middle-school basketball game at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn: an opponent on the other team blurts out, “If we lose, I’m going to smack one of those Chinese girls.” He says something to her, the girl’s mother intervenes and gets angry, the girl denies it, and Luo retreats. He felt “palpitating fear.”

From a middle school girl and her mother. What if the girl was simply describing the opposing players, rather than issuing a racist threat?

On Monday morning, a USA Today newsletter to subscribers said that “Asian Americans across the nation say the incident has revived the fears and trauma brought on by a wave of hate incidents and tragedies over the last few years.” How did the reporter manage to interview so many people overnight?

CNN spent most of the day on Monday, after the first shooting, covering the aftermath as an issue of gun control and anti-Asian prejudice. Meanwhile, CNN devoted all of nine seconds to the Antifa riot the previous Saturday night in Atlanta, its home base, as I wrote here.

One guest on CNN, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, cited a rise in hate crimes against Asians and mentioned an arson case that killed 87 people in a New York social club. This was more than 30 years ago, and it involved no racism element at all. By Tuesday, the network had moved on to other news.

So, what are the real statistics regarding racism-motivated attacks on Asians in America?

In the first half of 2022, attacks on Asians fell almost 50% in New York City and 17% in Los Angeles, the two U.S. cities with the largest Asian populations. Also, FBI stats for the year 2020 show hate crimes against Asian Americans rose 70% from the year before—albeit, to just 274 incidents from 161. This was of a total of almost 7,800 hate crimes against all groups, up all of 450 reports from the year before.

This, in a nation of 330 million people, including 24 million Asians.

In the 18 months from March 2020 through September 2021, the group Stop AAPI Hate took in 10,370 complaints nationwide, and over 80% of them involved “verbal harassment” or “shunning.” This amounts to fewer than 7,000 complaints per year, or one incident for every 3,400 Asian people.

In response, Congress passed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act to create a new post in the Justice Department for prioritizing the investigation of Covid-related hate crimes. It went into effect in May 2021. Only 40 people have been charged in two years.

None of this was pointed out in the aftermath of the two mass shootings of Asians in California, by two elderly Asian men. This is about feelings rather than statistics, and these days, feelings are all that matter in the media.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Startling Stats: Are Hate Crimes Overdone?


Feb 1, 2023 4 min

Part two of Mediaverse hate crime series

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

In May 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas testified to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee that the

greatest domestic threat facing our country came from white supremacists.

As a white person, I keep wondering: where are they? The two U.S. officials weren’t talking about Antifa, which played a role in more than 500 violent riots in the 2020 election year, often from inside one of some 4,000 peaceful protests by Black Lives Matter supporters in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.

It is a dubious, overly broad claim. The statistics on hate crimes show the problem is overstated, the relative number of hate crimes is lower than many people would assume, and the vast majority of reported incidents involve harsh language or shunning rather than violence.

The media have a hard time pointing this out, lest they be criticized for putting forth a “white” view that is insensitive to the concerns of anti-racism activists, who garner publicity and better fundraising by speaking out. I have written previously about the media’s uncomfortable approach to covering race asan element in crime, or when a black politician derided whites.

Last month, the FBI released hate-crime statistics for 2021: 7,262 total incidents, involving 9,024 victims, in a country of 330 million people. The numbers are understated somewhat because only 11,883 of 18,812 law enforcement agencies reported. A database changeover impeded data sharing.

Even if you double the number of cases, however, the total still is somewhat small.

Of these 9,000 victims, most were in the 18-to-34-year-old age group, as were most hate-crime offenders, many of whom commit offenses for the “thrill” and out of “boredom,” studies suggest. FBI stats show 65% were targeted for their race, ethnicity or ancestry, with black people comprising 63% of that 65% subset.

Anti-white reports were at 13% of the total race-based subset, Hispanics at 6.1%. Asians, despite reports of high rates of offenses against them since the Covid-19 pandemic, were only 4.3% of all race-based incidents, albeit higher than their 7% makeup of the U.S. population.

As for the perpetrators of hate crimes in which their race was known, the feds count a total 6,561 offenders in 2021. Some 56% of them were white (on par with the U.S. population), blacks comprised 21% (vs. 13% of the population), and Asians just 66 perps or 0.1% of the population.

Here is a surprising fact: “hate crimes against Asian Americans are more likely… to be committed by non-White offenders,” than are hate crimes against blacks and Hispanics, says one study. It was published in the Journal of American Justice in January 2021, and it reviewed all hate crimes  reported from 1992 to 2014.

The report says over 25% of attacks on Asian Americans were perpetrated by non-whites, compared with only 1% for blacks and 19% for Hispanics.

The authors suggest other people of color may resent Asians as the “model minority.” They note that Asian Americans in 2015 had median household income of $77,166, 23% more than white households, 70% more than Hispanics, and more than double that of black families. “Their success may be perceived as potential threats by members of other racial groups.”

This may be one reason why the U.S. media dropped the story of attacks on Asians as the Covid pandemic ebbed, as video of random attacks on Asians by black assailants ran on Twitter.

The media revived the theme, though, after two mass shootings in two Asian communities, perpetrated separately by two elderly Asian men, as I wrote here.  Go figure.

Another government report, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Department of Justice, studied hate-crime data from 2004 to 2015 and found zero statistical change in the rate of incidents over that period. It cited an average of 250,000 “hate crime victimizations” per year or 0.7 per 1,000 people. But 99% of these incidents involved “offenders’ use of hate language as evidence of a hate crime,” the report states.

Wait, so, only 2,500 offenses a year involved a violation that was worse than mere words? When I was raising my daughter, I always her to ignore namecallers: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” And please note: in the U.S., hate speech falls short of qualifying as a crime, and the First Amendment bans government from imposing a prior restraint on it by criminalizing it.

The same study also says that almost 5,000 “known hate crime offenders committed  crimes against persons in 2019,” and 75% of the offenses involved intimidation or “simple assault” (shaking a first at someone or slapping them). The total included only 19 murders nationwide.

Racism remains a serious problem in various aspects across American society, but it’s important that the coverage reflect the data rather than just the feelings of those involved in the debate. The U.S. justice system is a primary focus for attention and reform. The media make it harder for us to arrive at sound solutions, though, when they ignore the data and simply repeat the protestations of politicians who are plying a point rather than following the facts.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Newsmax vs. DirecTV: A Fight for Right


Feb 10, 2023 4 min

via techradar.

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

My life in journalism was steeled by early fights for the First Amendment. In high school, a scathing concert review I wrote for the Trojan Times newspaper sparked a riot by members of the chorus, and the chorus director grabbed me by the collar and marched me to the vice principal’s office, demanding my suspension.

The vice principal refused, citing “freedom of the press.”  I was drunk with power.

At the University of Florida, I joined the Independent Florida Alligator, which had been kicked off campus a few years earlier for publishing abortion referral information. Ron Sachs, the editor-in-chief in that battle, talks about it on my podcast, here.

We challenged the administration for barring reporters from covering the weekly President’s Council meeting, in possible violation of Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine law. The student editor at the time, to prove his point, had a reporter show up for a meeting and refuse to leave, so that he got arrested by campus police as a result.

That editor was Thomas R. Julin, who went on to become a respected First Amendment lawyer, handling almost 300 cases; you can hear my chat with him here. At one point in the battle, Tom’s predecessor advised him: fight back against the administration on the front page of the paper. “It’s the only weapon you have.”

It was an early lesson, and it lies at the heart of the savage battle now underway, almost 50 years later, between the Newsmax cable network and AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service, which recently bounced Newsmax off its platform.

Newsmax has been deftly deploying its equivalent of the front page and then some—on-air segments, online stories about those segments, commercial announcements, a new fight website, email blasts, and a call to arms to conservative allies—to escalate a common fight over fees into a righteous crusade against Big Tech censorship.

Newsflash: this may be the best thing ever to happen to Newsmax. Any attempt to block content results in raising the interest people have in seeing what was blocked.

I do have a dog in this fight: runs my column, “What’s Bugging Me,” and I am a guest on the network, appearing on Sunday mornings on “Wake Up America.” Newsmax owner Chris Ruddy has invited me to gatherings, and he has treated me kindly. I like the man.

Under his watch, the Newsmax response has been passionate and brutally effective. It has used Twitter as a megaphone and a rallying point for supporters, and its response offers lessons for any outfit taking on a formidable foe in a public clash over private business.

Newsmax has rallied supporters to its cause. They include former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, and former House Speaker  Newt Gingrich, and rising stars in the House: Andy Biggs (Arizona), Lauren Boebert (Colorado), James Comer (Kentucky), Matt Gaetz (Florida), and Elise Stefanik (New York).

Even Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat vice presidential candidate, and Alan Dershowitz, the famed liberal lawyer, have taken up Newsmax’s cause. As have Sean Hannity of Fox News and Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business, and Prager University founder Dennis Prager. As well as Hercules (actor Kevin Sorbo) and actor Jon Voigt.

A week before DirecTV and Newsmax parted ways, 41 Republican members of congress, led by Rep. Wesley Hunt of Texas, sent a letter to DirecTV, warning that hearings would be held if it ousted the network. DirecTV shut down Newsmax at midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and the next morning ran its first salvo:

“AT&T’s DirecTV Cancels NEWSMAX in Censorship Move.” The story said DirecTV “cut Newsmax’s signal, immediately shutting the network off for more than 13 million customers,” and mentioned that DirecTV had jettisoned the OAN network last April.

It quoted Ruddy, Newsmax CEO: “This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax.”

There is something to this, for it is unlikely that DirecTV would have banned, say, CNN or MSNBC in a dispute over fee negotiations. Newsmax, the fourth-ranked news network, was seeking its first-ever fee payments from DirecTV, which pays fees to more than 20 other liberal networks Newsmax cites, such as MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, PBS, and Vice.

President Trump picked up the theme at 10:38 p.m. on Wednesday night, tweeting on his platform, Truth Social: “WOW. AT&T DIRECTV REMOVES NEWSMAX FROM ITS CHANNEL LINEUP. This disgusting move comes after ‘deplatforming’ OAN last year. The Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T.”

Rand Paul followed suit soon after, tweeting: “I would cancel @DIRECTV for censoring @NEWSMAX but I already cancelled them for cancelling @OANN.” A puckish twofer.DirecTV is within its rights, as a private platform, to vanquish a channel partner rather than submit to its demands. The question is whether this is good business, and whether the partner you vanquish ends up making it a more painful decision than you ever anticipated. In this case, AT&T miscalculated. Advantage, Newsmax.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Covering—or Ignoring—Controversy Over Covid Vaccines


Feb 18, 2023 4 min

via The Harvard Gazette

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

A nationwide audience was stunned by the on-the-field cardiac arrest of 24-year-old Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, on “NFL Monday Night Football” on Jan. 2. Instantly, one portion of the audience wondered something that never occurred to another portion: was Hamlin’s near-death experience related to the Covid-19 vaccine?

Twitter lit up with speculation, as conservatives including Charlie Kirk, president of Turning Point USA, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, and vaccine critic Dr. Peter McCullough jumped to the Covid conclusion.

Just as quickly, many media outlets rushed to correct them. Headline on the next day: “Blaming Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on the COVID vaccine is ‘wildly and irresponsibly speculative,’ says expert.” “Anti-Vaxxers Exploit Damar Hamlin’s Crisis With Unfounded Covid-19 Vaccine Claims.”  The Washington Post: “Covid misinformation spikes in wake of Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse.”

And this in the Los Angeles Times: “COVID-19 vaccines almost certainly didn’t cause Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. Here’s what may have.”  Almost certainly, got that?

Just one problem: these stories ran within a day or two of the scary events on “NFL Monday Night Football,” so, they were based on the same lack of evidence and information as were the claims that the vaccine might be the hidden cause.

The New York Times, meanwhile, refused to address the issue at all. In the days after Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, I counted 17 stories on the incident—and none mentioned the vaccine angle. It is an example of the things the media don’t say, as I wrote here.

This week, a new interview with Damar Hamlin on ABC’s “Good Morning America” thickened the plot. Hamlin is asked, at one point, “How did doctors describe what happened to you?” He pauses for 10 seconds and says, “Um, that’s something I want to stay away from.”

That one moment, four and a half minutes into an eight-minute-long interview, was turned into a 68-second clip that ran on Twitter and drew 3.4 million views—compared with fewer than 50,000 views of the official ABC News video on YouTube.

On Twitter and other social media, reports circulate of thousands of cases of myocarditis, a swelling of the heart, linked to the vaccines. Thousands of people say they suffer from bad side effects, or they have lost a loved one. Disturbing videos show young people toppling over in public, some of them athletes.

The media are quick to demonize any doubts as conspiracy theories, while rarely exploring the data. A year ago, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker columnist, Glenn Kessler, published an impressive refutation: “How the falsehood of athletes dying of coronavirus vaccines spread” and cited “mysterious Austrian websites with ties to that country’s far-right populist party” and “right-wing media in the United States.” in June 2022 published a takedown here. In December, a Reuters Fact Check article risked a back sprain with this headline: “Fact Check-Finding that most people dying from COVID-19 are vaccinated does not mean vaccines don’t work.”

The media are burying an important medical story, perhaps wary of making more people reluctant to keep getting the Covid vaccines our government is pushing so hard.

It was inevitable that mRNA vaccines, tested on only tens of thousands of patients and then injected into three billion people worldwide, might result in millions of cases of severe side effects or even death. Yet the media continue to dismiss this prospect rather than study it. said that “online, people have baselessly speculated—some within minutes of the collapse—that Hamlin’s condition is a result of COVID-19 vaccination.”

Baselessly? CDC data as of May 2022 show that in the U.S. population, regardless of vax status, myocarditis can appear in up to 2.2 cases per one million people in a seven-day period; but the rate was 75.9 cases—34 times as high—for males ages 16 to 17 on their second dose of an mRNA vaccine. Among boys 12 to 15 on a second shot, the rate was 46.4 cases per one million, 21 times as high as in the general population

Among men ages 18 to 24 with a second mRNA vaccine, the rate of myocarditis was 38.9 per one million, a 17-fold higher rate than in the population at large. You can find these numbers on page 10 of a 41-page CDC report, here.

Elsewhere, a Nordic study of 23 million people, published this month on the JAMA Cardiology website of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found similar results: “Both first and second doses of mRNA vaccines were associated with increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation).”

The study tracked 23 million residents in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from December 2020 to October 2021. It found the risk was highest among young males ages 16 to 24, after a second dose: up to 70 “excess events” per million for Pfizer and up to 280 excess events per million for Moderna—vastly higher than the 2.2. rate for the general U.S. population.

Last October, a study of vaccinated Florida residents from December 2020 to June 2022 found an 84% increase in cardiac-related deaths among men ages 18 to 39 within 28 days after getting an mRNA vaccination. It was conducted by the Florida Department of Health, which offers its analysis here.

As a result, the Florida state surgeon general put out guidance recommending that men younger than 40 forgo the Covid vax, given that “the benefit of vaccination is likely outweighed by this abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death among men in this age group.”

It adds: “Non-mRNA vaccines were not found to have these increased risks.”

Interestingly, people older than 65 comprised 75% of the 1.1 million Covid-labeled deaths in the U.S. thus far, and they have very low rates of myocarditis among vaccinated men. So, the vax is a great benefit to them, at low risk.

By contrast, fewer than 1,500 people under age 18 have died from the Covid virus, and they have a vastly higher risk from the vax—and the government wants to inoculate all 74 million of them. Critics should be allowed to raise questions about the Covid-19 vaxes. The media should be more willing to cover them.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

OutFoxed: Lawsuit Bares Fox News’s Duplicity


Feb 24, 2023 3 min

via Fox News

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Tucker Carlson is the highest-rated anchor at Fox News. In the $1.6 billion defamation  lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems, his name shows up 89 times in the 192-page complaint—and not in a good way.

The lawsuit, filed publicly in Delaware Superior Court on Feb. 16, shows that Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, other anchors, and Fox executives aired claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election—even as they exchanged emails doubting the veracity of the charges and the people making them.

In the aftermath of the Trump loss, Rudy Giuliani, lawyer Sidney Powell, and MyPillow owner Mike Lindell were slinging accusations that Dominion had rigged the vote count in favor of Joe Biden. Carlson hosted two guest segments (Powell on Nov. 20, 2020, and Lindell on Jan. 26, 2021); Hannity hosted two more (Giuliani on Nov. 20, and, Powell on Nov. 30), according to information in the Dominion complaint; and Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs had Powell on his show a total of six times from Nov. 13 to December 10, 2020.

Yet in private communications, Tucker Carlson referred to Sidney Powell in various emails as “lying,” a “crazy person,” a “lunatic,” an “unguided missile,” and “dangerous as hell.” Killer line: “I’ve got a high tolerance for crazy, but Powell is too much.”

Laura Ingraham of “The Ingraham Angle” said of Giuliani, “Rudy is such an idiot,” and Sean Hannity wrote, “Rudy is acting like an insane person.” As for Mike Lindell, one Fox manager emailed: “He’s on the crazy train with no brakes.”

None of this skepticism was expressed on air by the Fox News talent. They feared losing viewers if they did so.

The media have covered this gleefully. (Fair game.) New York Times: “Fox Stars Privately Expressed Disbelief About Election Fraud Claims. ‘Crazy Stuff.’” Forbes: “‘Mind Blowingly Nuts’.” Slate: Tucker Carlson’s Dominion Text Messages Are a Thing of Beauty. The Atlantic, even more sanctimonious than The New Yorker: “Why Fox News Lied to Its Viewers.”

The Dominion lawsuit builds a credible case that Fox ran with the fraud allegations to win back angry viewers who had defected to Newsmax, after Fox, on election night, raced to be the first to call Arizona for Biden.

A few days after the election, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News’s de facto owner, took a dim view of the election-fraud claims, and he made this clear to the network brass, who then fretted over how far the anchors would take this theme.

A senior vice president, Meade Cooper, discussed “whether their primetime hosts Hannity, Carlson, and Ingraham would push false claims of election fraud,” the lawsuit states, and she wrote: “I feel really good about Tucker and Laura. I think Sean will see the wisdom of this track eventually, but even this morning he was still looking for examples of fraud.”

The catty nature of the TV news business also is laid bare. (I was an anchor at CNBC and Fox Business.) “Crazy Tucker and crazier Hannity,” wrote one Fox manager as the coverage unfolded. “Hannity is a little out there,” an SVP emailed. Another executive said host Jeanine Pirro was “just as nuts,” and Tucker’s executive producer said, “she is crazy.”

Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, took a shot at Fox Business’s No. 1-rated anchor at the time, Lou Dobbs, the most outspoken Fox anchor on election fraud allegations, emailing: “Lou was reckless.” Jay Wallace, Fox News president back then, wrote about Dobbs: “the North Koreans do a more nuanced show.” When anchor Bret Baier suggested Fox buy Parler, a rival to Twitter, Wallace said: “we can barely contain Dobbs—imagine all the crazy we’d be responsible for.”

In later testimony, a Dominion lawyer asks Dobbs, “It was a false statement that Powell had revealed groundbreaking new evidence on your show, indicating that the 2020 presidential election came under massive cyberattack orchestrated with the help of Dominion, wasn’t it?” Dobbs: “It was an overstatement, yes.”

He abruptly left Fox Business on Feb. 5, 2021, and his top-rated show was yanked, possibly as a sacrificial sop to a future Dominion lawsuit. Disclosure: I have known and admired Lou Dobbs for many years, and I helped him write his most recent book, “The Trump Century.”

The $1.6 billion figure cited as damages in the Dominion lawsuit has more to do with political retaliation and headline-grabbing than economic value. Dominion is valued at $80 million, and it remains in business with $100 million in annual revenue.

Still, Fox News loses even if it were to win this case. Its biggest stars have been exposed as duplicitous and disingenuous, not to mention catty, and driven by ratings rather than the pursuit of a fair and balanced truth. My guess is Fox settles soon, rather than endure the embarrassment of more media coverage.

Whether all the anchors survive their awkward moment in this harsh spotlight depends on whether they hold on to their viewers and their advertisers. As ever.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Chasing Newsmax: How Fox Heard Footsteps


Feb 24, 2023 4 min

via Fox News

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Two nettlesome questions arise in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems. Why did Fox executives, anchors, and producers carry on with the coverage, even after the claims became wilder and remained unverified? And why didn’t senior executives rein in the anchors and push for more balance?

The answer lies in the beastly nature of the TV news business. Network executives, deathly afraid of audience loss, are reluctant to crack down on star anchors, who help draw viewers and ad dollars; they prefer, instead, to talk behind the talent’s back.

Tucker Carlson’s show rakes in more than $100 million a year, part of $6 billion a year in total ad sales at Fox News. And Fox news brings in virtually all of the almost $3 billion in annual profit at parent Fox Corp.

Fox brass, and Tucker himself, worried about losing viewers to Newsmax (where I write “What’s Bugging Me”), even as they scrambled to track which charges had been disproven. Newsmax was playing up Trump’s allegations of fraud, going even farther than Fox.

“With respect to Newsmax, the lack of any meaningful editorial guidance may be a positive for them at least in the short term,” a Fox SVP in viewer analytics said in one memo, which was quoted in the Dominion lawsuit. “This type of conspiratorial reporting might be exactly what the disgruntled FNC viewer is looking for.” He concluded, “Do not ever give viewers a reason to turn us off.”

Another Fox executive emailed about Newsmax: “They’re not a news organization. We have to follow journalistic rules they do not have to, and they simply do not.” He told his boss that Rudy Giuliani, one of the three main accusers, had mentioned voting servers in foreign countries on the Lou Dobbs show, but “this claim had not been verified.”

Hours later, the same veep was told that anchor Maria Bartiromo was sharing conspiracy theories about Dominion on Parler, responding, “I don’t know why she invites this.”

On Nov. 19, 2020, two weeks after the election, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani held a disastrous press conference. They looked a bit unhinged, and they failed to offer evidence of their stunning allegations. That night, Tucker Carlson dared to express some doubt on-air.

He did so with “his voice ringing with incredulity in a 10-minute monologue at the top of his show,” as Jeremy Peters of The New York Times put it the next day. Carlson told his four million viewers that Powell “never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests.”

But Tucker stopped short of revealing that he believed she was lying. “Instead,” the lawsuit states, “he closed by saying, ‘Maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it. We are certainly hopeful that she will.’”

This reasonable monologue sparked a backlash from pro-Trump viewers, and this concerned him. Carlson complained in a text to Sean Hannity about a fact-checking tweet by Fox reporter Jacqui Henrich, who had responded to a Trump tweet that cited both Carlson and Hannity’s shows, pointing out that there was no evidence of voting systems’ switching votes.

Carlson: “Please get her fired. Seriously What the f— ? actually shocked it needs to stop immediately , like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.” Bad punctuation left intact.

Hannity agreed and said he had sent a “really?” email to Fox executive Suzanne Scott. Later, he texted to his staff that he had “dropped a bomb.”

Scott, in turn, texted two other Fox SVPs: “Sean texted me he’s standing down on responding but not happy about this and doesn’t understand how this is allowed to happen from anyone in news. She [Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted.” Disgusted?

For the record, folks, Jacqui Henrich, a news reporter who covers the White House, was doing her job. “By the next morning,” the Dominion complaint recounts, “Henrich had deleted her fact-checking tweet.”

Yet Hannity, who is cited 78 times in the lawsuit, “knew Powell’s claims were false,” the lawsuit states. In testifying for this case, he said, “I did not believe it for one second.”

By Nov. 30, on Hannity’s radio show that day, Sidney Powell was unable to provide proof of her allegations, and Hannity later testified that this “was the nail in the coffin for me.” Yet Sean then interviewed Powell on his Fox show that night, without revealing any of this.

Set for jury selection in April, the Dominion lawsuit argues that Fox News knowingly—and with “reckless disregard for the truth,” as libel case law requires a plaintiff to prove—stoked false allegations of election fraud to boost ratings, thereby devastating Dominion’s business.

As noted in Part One, Dominion’s $1.6 billion claim is a fabulist fantasy, given it is valued at $80 million and still has $100 million in annual revenue. In addition, all the agonizing by Fox executives, disclosed so nakedly in the lawsuit, may convince a jury that they were constantly raising concerns about the credibility of the fraud allegations.

So, where was the required reckless disregard for the truth?

Plus this: even if Fox anchors and producers doubted the claims, does this give them the obligation, or even the right, to stop that viewpoint from being heard at all? They lacked incontrovertible proof the allegations were false.

A sitting President of the United States was claiming election fraud, and three well known public figures came forward, willing to go on the record with scandalous allegations and insisting they had proof. Why would any media outlet ignore this story?

But news anchors and opinion-show hosts owe it to their viewers to be authentic and transparent, and to tell as full a picture as they can, and to be forthcoming about any doubts that might harbor about the reliability of what they are reporting. in the right instances how the reliability of the charges they report. Stop leaving out the important stuff.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Blinded by Trump, Slashed by Occam’s Razor


Mar 7, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

In covering the Covid-19 pandemic, the media spent three years in denial of Occam’s razor: the axiom that the simplest explanation of something is most likely the right one. So did our government and the medical establishment.

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy and the FBI, in a well-orchestrated leak, took steps to admit a glimpse of the blindingly obvious: the Covid-19 virus likely emerged from a Chinese government lab in the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the first pandemic in a century.

This was a plausible possibility from the start. Wuhan is home to three government virus research labs, and one of them, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, worked with bat viruses similar to Covid-19.

But the media and the medical industrial complex repeatedly rejected this prospect as a conspiracy theory. Instead, they endorsed the Chinese government’s version: the virus had emerged from nature at a “wet market” of live, exotic animals sold for food.

They did so for one primary reason, with an alacrity and conviction that now are embarrassing: to oppose President Trump and ensure he got the blame for Covid-19.

Early on, Trump and other Republicans said the virus may have come from a lab leak in Wuhan. This turned the urgent search for Covid-19’s origins into a political fight—and the media viewed it solely through the lens of Trump’s re-election campaign.

The media’s ensuing carnage of coverage was replete with suspicion, condescension, jeering opinions, and preachy medical experts. Their predictions were dire and overdone. They had a predilection for believing claims from the Chinese government—and for second-guessing, fact-checking, and investigating every claim made by the Trump administration.

When President Trump exhorted U.S. intelligence agencies, which report to the president, to press harder to investigate the lab-leak alternative, the New York Times played it as if Trump’s sole aim were to pressure the intel community to aid his re-election campaign.

For a ticktock detailing the media coverage that ensued, see Part Two (INSERT LINK) of this column, and for more see Episode 13 of my Ricochet podcast,  “What’s Bugging Me.”

The story on the Energy Dept.’s new view of Covid’s origins broke first at 7 a.m. eastern on Sunday morning, Feb. 26, on the website of The Wall Street Journal. It ran at the top of Page One on Monday morning. The New York Times picked it up, matched it at 1:12 p.m. on Sunday, and gave it front-page play the next day. (Kindly crediting the Journal in the sixth paragraph.)

On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray went on Fox News, like the Journal a holding of Rupert Murdoch. Wray told anchor Bret Baier: “The FBI has, for quite some time now, assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

As if this were old news. Now he tells us?

The FBI said it holds “moderate confidence” in its assessment. The Energy Dept., which oversees national laboratories, has “low confidence” in its newly adopted view, which it updated from a previous stance of “undecided.”

It is hard to be certain, because the government of China has stonewalled on Covid. It withheld early notice of the virus, and downplayed the threat to humans, and then it blocked outside investigators from inspecting the lab. China authorities also arrested the first doctor to report the strange new illness.

Yet the media, Democrats, the NIH and CDC, and the World Health Organization all chose to believe the China government’s alibi, while deriding any doubters.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas fired the first salvo on Feb. 3, 2020, suggesting at a hearing that “Chinese officials misled the public on the origins of the novel coronavirus,” and “saying it may have originated in a ‘superlaboratory,’” as reported.

Soon, the media backlash was underway. Washington Post headline on Feb. 17, 2020: “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus fringe theory that scientists have disputed.”

Two days later, on February 19, the Lancet medical journal published a “statement of support,” signed by 27 medical experts from six nations, the UN, and WHO. They praised China’s medical professionals for working “diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak.”

They also warned that data sharing on the virus was “now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

Threatened? Really?

The media bought it. on the same day quoted the statement in its headline: “Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear.” The Guardian a day later: “Experts fear false rumours could harm Chinese cooperation on coronavirus.” The deck cites “‘crackpot’ theories that virus was manufactured in lab.”

Later, it was learned one of the signers, Peter Daszak, heads the Eco Health Alliance, which does work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, “which some saw as a conflict of interest,” as Forbes reported with a straight face. Just some.

The official Chinese state media covered the Lancet statement with relish. Xinhua: “Rumor Buster: Scientists refute theories suggesting COVID-19 has no natural origin.” China Today addressed front-line medical staff: “You Are Not Alone.” It said “Scientists worldwide root for Chinese medical professionals and debunk conspiracy theories.”

All of this occurred in just the first month after Covid-19 erupted. This triangulation of media, medical dogma, and Chinese government misinformation was just beginning.

So far, no apologies are pouring in from the media for their clear anti-Trump bias. No mea culpas for their blind acceptance of the claims of an untrustworthy and stonewalling foreign government. Nor for demonizing any medical expert or politician who dared to raise doubts.

Nature of the beast.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

How the Media Muzzled the Lab-Leak Theory


Mar 7, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

In the opening months of the Covid-19 epidemic Chinese officials said the deadly new virus must have originated and mutated in a bat, which then got eaten by, perhaps, an armadillo-like pangolin, which then was killed, slaughtered and sold at a “wet market” in Wuhan. Then some people ate its infected flesh, contracted the new virus, developed a new, virulently lethal flu, and spread it to their neighbors.

Voila! The first pandemic in over a hundred years then broke out.

Now the Department of Energy, in a new assessment, says Covid-19 likely emerged from a Chinese virus research lab in Wuhan, home to three such sites. The FBI concurs. The media’s role in denying this story for three years bears new scrutiny.

Most new viruses emerge from animal-to-human transmission, and the World Health Organization, closely tied to China, obligingly bowed to this alibi. So did the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the medical establishment.

But they also went out of their way to explicitly dismiss the possibility of a lab leak, even though Chinese officials had refused to let investigators inspect the suspect lab in Wuhan, a city of over 12 million people in central China, 500 miles west of Shanghai on the eastern coast.

The press pushback against the lab-leak theory began weeks after Republican Sen. Tom Cotton cited it publicly in early February of 2020. (See Part One [INSERT LINK] of this column.)  Weeks later, the media crackdown turned to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. on March 12, 2020: “False claims about sources of coronavirus cause spat between the US, China.” It said Pompeo “has even branded the outbreak the  ‘Wuhan Virus,’” and that this had “prompted accusations from some as stigmatizing Chinese people…”

This notion that calling Covid the “China flu” or “Wuhan flu” was anti-Asian and racist was concocted by the Chinese government. It was promoted by the state media, and then parroted by Democrats and the American media. I think the term is “useful idiots.”

For over a century, new diseases were named for where they first emerged: the Spanish flu (1918), MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome), Ebola, Lyme disease (Old Lyme, Connecticut). Only now is the practice suddenly politically incorrect.

Even the Chinese state media used the terms “Chinese flu” and the “Wuhan flu” at the start of the crisis, a search of the internet Wayback Machine shows. Then they pivoted and insisted the terms were racist. I learned this while helping Lou Dobbs on his book, “The Trump Century.” There’s more on my Ricochet podcast,  “What’s Bugging Me.”

In April 2020, President Trump asserted that a lab leak in China may have caused the pandemic. On a Wednesday, April 15, he told reporters “a lot of people are looking into it,” and “it seems to make a lot of sense.”

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci undercut him in a briefing they did with reporters, as reported. Headline: “Dr. Fauci throws cold water on conspiracy theory…”

Two weeks later, on April 30, Trump was at a press briefing, and he was asked a question that was too perfectly phrased not to have been planted: “Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?”

“Yes I have,” Trump answered, as reported. “And I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves, because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”

This was immediately undercut by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees U.S. spy agencies. It told the media it concurs with “wide scientific consensus” regarding Covid-19’s “natural origins.”

A few days later Pompeo was the target, again. The New York Times, May 3, 2020: “Pompeo Ties Coronavirus to China Lab, Despite Spy Agencies’ Uncertainty.” The Guardian said Pompeo claimed there is “enormous evidence” of the lab origins of Covid, “but did not provide any of the alleged evidence.”

ABC News reported that “Pompeo changes tune,”  “as intel officials cast doubt.” The story said he first cited “enormous evidence” before “shifting Wednesday to say there’s ‘significant’ evidence, but the U.S. doesn’t have ‘certainty’ yet.”

This is reasonable, but it was faulted, anyway. Bloomberg had Pompeo “asserting that (China) covered up the origins of the virus even as he eased off earlier claims of ‘enormous evidence’ that the virus escaped from a laboratory there.”

Rolling Stone headline: “In One Interview Pompeo Says COVID-19 Came from Wuhan Lab, Then Says It Didn’t, Then Again Suggests It Did.” Deck: “The secretary of state was all over the map while discussing an unsubstantiated theory…”

The media focused on poking holes in Pompeo’s claims rather than pursuing the lab leak. The lesson journalists still have yet to learn is the same as it ever was: avoid rushing to judgment, and tell opposing views of the truth. When everyone else is shouting the same thing, give greater consideration to the notion they might be flat wrong.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Lab-Leak Denial: When in Doubt, Blame Trump


Mar 7, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Will the media ever own up to their sins in covering Covid-19? Rhetorical questions always have an answer that is self-evident, this one being “no.” Instead, they will resort to their go-to: Blame Trump.

As the pandemic began to overtake the planet in 2020, likely started by the leak of a newly created virus engineered in a Chinese government lab, the New York Times waded in with a story bylined by four reporters on April 30, 2020. Never mind whether Covid-19 was born in a Wuhan lab, the Times went after President Trump.

Headline: “Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs.” They “have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory” as “President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.”

“Some analysts are worried that the pressure from senior officials could distort assessments about the coronavirus and be used as a weapon in an escalating battle with China,” the Times reported. Oh, poppycock.

A day later, May 1, 2020, ran its own four-byline story, including that of Jim Acosta, a virulent anti-Trumper. Headline: “Trump contradicts US intel community…”  It said intelligence officials “are facing enormous pressure” to investigate the lab theory, and “the situation on the inside is alarming.” Sigh.

Then the Washington Post, on May 4, ran an “analysis” by Jacqueline Alemany, and the sense of sneer was redolent. It says the Trump reelection campaign had “moved to shift blame to China from the White House’s own response to the virus,” adding: “Never-mind that a growing body of scientific evidence shows the virus was the product of a natural process.”

On Sept. 15, 2020, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News hosted Dr. Li-Meng Yan a Chinese virologist who had worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who said the virus was manmade in the Chinese lab. Politifact published a fact-check article, giving this claim the biggest-liar rating it uses: “Pants on Fire.” It later removed this item.

On Sept. 30, the Times ran a story  on a new Cornell University study on coronavirus misinformation: “Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump.” “Mentions of Trump” comprised almost 40% of the “misinformation conversation.” Mere mentions apparently count against him.

The researchers ran an analysis of 38 million stories. What the Times neglected to point out: less than 3% of these stories had misinformation—surprisingly low. Of these 1.1 million flawed articles, the Wuhan lab “conspiracy theory” ranked fourth among 11 subtopics, with almost 30,000 articles mentioning it.

It wasn’t a conspiracy theory: it was a plausibility.

A week later, the journal Nature ran a “blame Trump” article by Jeff Tollefson, headlined, “How Trump damaged science—and why it could take decades to recover.” Sample: “The US president’s actions have exacerbated the pandemic… Some of the harm could be permanent.” Chicken Little meets Eeyore.

Then came a fact-check on Oct. 6, 2020  by liberal outlet “Evidence-Free ‘Lab Leak’ Speculation Boosts Trump’s Xenophobic Approach to Coronavirus.” Albeit, speculating about a lab leak seems pertinent rather than “xenophobic.”

But the sands started to shift in the new year of 2021. New York magazine on Jan. 4, 2021 published “The Lab-Leak Hypothesis” by book author Nicholson Baker. On May 24, the magazine followed up with a scathing takedown by Jonathan Chait: “How the Liberal Media Dismissed the Lab-Leak Theory and Smeared Its Supporters.”

Cue media retreat. a day later:  “Media face hard questions on Trump, Wuhan lab.” This, “amid a growing acceptance that it is possible COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory. The idea was disparaged as a conspiracy theory by multiple outlets last year—almost surely because its loudest promoter was then-President Trump.”

A startling moment of rare clarity.

Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post (May 25th): “Timeline: How Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Suddenly Became Credible.” The idea that the virus emerged from a Wuhan lab, “once dismissed as a ridiculous conspiracy theory—has gained new credence.”

This had former President Trump bragging on Newsmax, as quoted in the New York Post on May 25th: “And people didn’t want to say China. Usually, they blame it on Russia. It’s always Russia, Russia, Russia, but I said right at the beginning it came out of Wuhan.” That, he did.

On May 27, 2021, President Biden ordered intel agencies to report back to him in 90 days on the lab leak theory and other alternatives, as AP and others reported. Their coverage of Biden’s order was in stark contrast to the way they covered Trump’s earlier, similar edict (see Part Two of this series). (((INSERT LINK)))

Time to blame Trump, again. (May 26th): “How Distrust of Donald Trump Muddled the COVID-19 ‘Lab Leak’ Debate.”  “Trump was widely criticized for his xenophobic language and what may critics assumed was another example of his irresponsible deployment of non-facts.”

The article’s unrepentant dismount: “And we wonder why Americans dismissed Trump when he asserted that a lab accident in China may have been to blame. It’s possible to be correct and untrustworthy at the same time.” Hm, I’m not hearing “We’re sorry.”

A few weeks later, a startling op ed in The Wall Street Journal reported that new evidence that Covid-19 was, indeed, manmade in a lab. The virus carries an added feature that increases its lethality; and a DNA sequence that Chinese researchers had withheld from the world when they published an early paper identifying Covid-19 in February of 2020.

The secret sequence is a favorite marker implanted by researchers—CGG-CGG. This rare combo (of the DNA building blocks cytosine and guanine) has never before been found in nature, the article said. The media largely ignored this story, too.

In August 2020, intelligence agencies reported back to President Biden with inconclusive results. Even now, the National Intelligence Council and four other agencies still abide by the less likely bat-virus theory. The FBI and the Energy Department say Covid was caused by a lab leak. The CIA remains undecided.

Given this mishmash, why were the media so hellbent on quashing the most likely explanation for a manmade act that cost more than seven million lives?

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Bank Bellyflop: Right and Left Both Get It Wrong


Mar 18, 2023 4 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

Perhaps this is, by now, purely a rhetorical question: does everything in the media have to be a fight these days? I refer to the coverage of the stunning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, for 40 years a pillar of lending to thousands of tech startups and venture capital firms.

Last Friday the government took control of SVB and put it into receivership, after the first-ever run on a major bank which was driven by social media. Customers tried to pull out $42 billion in a single day. It erupted from an otherwise survivable loss of $1.8 billion—less than 1% of SVB’s total assets—on the sale of $21 billion in government bonds.

By Sunday, officials guaranteed depositors’ cash of any amount rather than the usual limit of just $250,000, thereby stopping the spread of fears to other banks. Let the fight begin.

The media on the right and left viewed this financial crisis through an ideological and political lens. So, they presented divergent versions of what went on, both of which jumped to judgment without evidence or proof, while failing to tell the real story.

On the right, the media and their heroes instantly zoomed up on two red-meat issues for Republicans. The first is the “moral hazard” of bailing out some wild gambler and encouraging other banks to take on inordinate risk. (Never mind that SVB’s wild risk was to put billions of dollars into U.S. government bonds, the safest investment vehicle in the world.)

The second issue is Silicon Valley Bank’s painfully woke, social-justice agenda and the notion that this is to blame for the bank’s losses. It took its eye off the ball. Both arguments are bunkum. For smarter insights on this, listen to options trader Jim Iuorio and wealth advisor Ed Butowsky on the latest episode of  “What’s Bugging Me.”

The presidential campaign of 2024 has begun, alas. On Monday, the conservative National Review trumpeted: “Nikki Haley Blasts Biden for ‘Pretending’ SVB Isn’t Receiving a Government Bailout.” Money quote: “Joe Biden is pretending this isn’t a bailout. It is.”

Actually, no, it isn’t.

Here is the difference. In the meltdown of 2008-09, the nation’s largest banks and their shareholders were, indeed, bailed out by taxpayers. The feds ended up earning a profit on the whole package, which is beside the point.

Instead, this “backstop” by the FDIC helps depositors, as a way to stabilize the broader system and stop people from panicking at other midsize banks. These SVB depositors did nothing wrong: they put their cash into a top-20 bank that then invested it in safe government bonds. Plus, they now get only a government guarantee, a new assurance from the FDIC that they will get all of their own money back, rather than some payout.

Whereas for the bank itself, government officials seized control, diverted its assets into a new entity, and signaled a readiness to chop it up into pieces and sell them off, if necessary. Meanwhile, the feds let SVB shareholders suffer huge losses: SVB shares, at $300 in February, plunged 60% in a single day, down from $267 to $106.

What about the angle of Go Woke Go Broke?

SVB’s chief risk officer was a young woman of color, Jay Ersapah, who proudly promoted her LGBTQ status. New York Post story on March 11, lead: “A head of risk management at Silicon Valley Bank spent considerable time spearheading multiple “woke” LGBTQ+ programs, including a ‘safe space’ for coming-out stories, as the firm raced toward collapse.”

On March 12, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis went on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, telling her: “You know, Maria, just appears to me, I mean, this bank, they’re so concerned with D&I [Diversity and Inclusion] politics and all kinds of stuff, I think that really diverted from them focusing on their core mission.”

The New York Post and Fox Business also reported that SVB had donated $73 million to Black Lives Matter, citing data from the conservative Claremont Institute. This was inaccurate, as pointed out by Vanity Fair, quoting another source, Popular Information. The millions went to various groups that pursue causes “related to” the BLM agenda.

Reality check. The too-woke story makes for great conflict and good copy, but it falls short. There is no evidence as yet that shows this bank lost money because of its ultraliberal leanings. Its stance, arguably, was good business, given the ultraliberal clientele it serves.

I mean, these are the people who gave us the Twitter Files, right?

The media on the left have fared no better. As soon as this story broke, instantly, they did what they always do: blame Trump. President Biden led the way for them, declaring to reporters: “Unfortunately, the last administration rolled back some of these requirements.”

Axios: “Silicon Valley Bank’s political blame game.” NBC News: “Silicon Valley Bank collapse puts new spotlight on a 2018 deregulation law.” “Warren unveils bill to repeal Trump-era bank deregulation she says led to SVB, Signature collapses.”

This is an amazingly fast “solution” to a bank failure that happened only days ago.

Sen. Warren, sanctimonious as ever, also appeared on MSNBC with a fawning Rachel Maddow, and she snagged an op ed in the New York Times on March 13: “No one should be mistaken about what unfolded over the past few days in the U.S. banking system: These recent bank failures are the direct result of leaders in Washington weakening the financial rules.”

No, they aren’t. Sen. Warren lacks proof of her assertion. These bank failures stem from the Federal Reserve’s maintaining zero interest rates for almost a decade, and then going on a binge and raising rates 20-fold, from a quarter-percentage point to 5%, in less than a year.

This instantly reduced the value of older bonds paying far lower rates, causing losses on paper for the banks that held the bonds. They had invested huge sums in these safe government bonds, under the reforms imposed after the meltdown of 2008-09.

If SVB’s faithless depositors had stood down, the bank never would have had to sell its underwater bonds to raise cash, thereby avoiding the $1.8 billion loss that jolted Wall Street.

And if SVB executives had done a better job hedging their long-term bonds—and humbling themselves by privately asking for a loan at the Fed’s “discount window”—they would have survived even that loss.

This, apparently, lies beyond the ability of the senator and the media to comprehend.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

The Real ‘So-Called Journalists’


Mar 27, 2023 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

One of the more riveting hearings in a long while occurred on March 9, not that you heard about it in the mainstream media.

It is rare for journalists to testify before Congress, that alone is newsworthy. It is rarer still for journalists to testify about how the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and dozens of other government agencies pressured Twitter and other platforms into imposing an unconstitutional prior restraint on the views of thousands of Americans.

A Republican-led House subcommittee is investigating the “weaponization” of the government. But, really, this is a probe of the government’s weaponization of Twitter and other social media platforms to restrain or silence conservative voices.

They were trying to discuss the Hunter Biden laptop, possible election fraud, the lockdown, Covid-19 vaccine risks, the lab leak theory, and other matters that went against what the government wanted the people to hear and know.

The Democrats are doing all they can to undermine this investigation. And the media are doing all they can to ignore it, as they have ignored the Twitter Files (see my series: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three).

In the opening moments of the hearing in Washington on March 9, the ranking minority member, Democrat Stacey Plaskett, a non-voting member from the Virgin Islands, and Republican chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio tangled sharply over the real purpose of the session. At one point, Jordan gets so emotional it looks as if he might choke up, and he takes a pause.

Then Plaskett takes a gratuitous swipe at Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, who were invited to testify to this panel:

“This isn’t just a matter of what data was given to these so-called journalists before us,” she begins. On the C-SPAN recording, you can see Taibbi (@mtaibbi) turn to his colleague, @shellenbergerMD, and give him a double-take and crack a “wtf” smile.

When Taibbi makes his opening statement, he declares: “Ranking Member Plaskett, I’m not a ‘so-called journalist.’ I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone award for independent journalism, and I’ve written 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. I’m now the editor of the online magazine Racket, on the independent platform Substack.”

At this, you hear Jim Jordan sniggering, off-camera. He is every bit as good as the Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel said he would be on Episode #6 of “What’s Bugging Me.”

Great theater, right? Yet, most of the media neglected to tell you about it. Do a Google search for “Matt Taibbi Twitter Files hearing” and stories pop up, in order, from these outlets: Fox News, Business Insider, Reason, Fox News, New York Post, Mediaite, New York Post, The Hill, Freedom of the Press Foundation… Noticeably absent: the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and most other major media outlets.

The Washington Post did two stories on it, one to emphasize, “Jordan’s weaponization-panel game plan draws critique from some on the right.” A week later, a Post email newsletter, The Early 202, ran an adulatory item on Democrat Plaskett. Headline: “Top Democrat on weaponization subcommittee blasts her GOP counterpart.”

Opening question: given she calls the committee a “political stunt,” “When did you come to this realization and what convinced you?” Teach us, Obiwan. Asked if she believes Taibbi and Shellenberger are “legitimate journalists,” she answers:

“Well, I do believe that they have in the past engaged in legitimate journalism. I also believe that there’s conduct that journalists are supposed to have that they have not exhibited, particularly when it comes to the Twitter Files.” She doubts they are following the truth.

This is utterly unfair, for Taibbi and Shellenberger have been courageous in following the truth. Meanwhile, the reporters of the mainstream media no longer qualify as the real journalists of today. They have strayed too far from the original objectives of the profession:

* to tell as fair and balanced a story as possible;

* to resolve conflicting versions of the truth;

* to examine a debate or issue from many different angles;

* to be a watchdog on government rather than a lapdog serving it;

* and to fix it when you get it wrong.

Taibbi and other independent voices are taking their place. They are courageous and independent. They include Andy Ngo on Twitter (@MrAndyNgo), tracking antifa terror (and getting assaulted by antifa thugs for it); former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson), raising valid, data-based doubts about the Covid vaccines (and getting banned by Twitter for it); former New York Times op ed editor Bari Weiss, and Seymour Hersh, ex-Timesman and octogenarian investigative reporter.Plus platoons of citizen journalists on Twitter, and experts in live Twitter Spaces calls that draw thousands of listeners for insights on breaking news in the markets and elsewhere, It’s what they call a good start.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”

Trump Indictment Inspires a Joyful Media


Apr 3, 2023 3 min

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist

The mainstream media waited years to bring down President Trump for something. For now, they will have to settle for his looming indictment in New York on more than 30 charges related to a hush-money payment to a porn star seven years ago.

It is a surreal and stunning turn. No president in the nation’s 250 years ever has been indicted for a crime. Trump will be charged even as his campaign for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election is underway.

This makes the case a political prosecution over small beer, though no one in the mainstream media will dare concede this. Get Trump.

The front pages of newspapers revealed how stunning this news was to even cynical, ink-stained editors. Huge banner headlines blared “TRUMP INDICTED” in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Arizona Republic, and New York Times, which added a second deck of all-caps shock: THE FIRST EX-PRESIDENT TO FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES.

The Wall Street Journal, in a rarity, stripped a six-column head across the top of Page One: “Trump Indicted Over Hush Money.”

Getting far less play are the flaws and disturbing implications of the case. In the 1980s, Solomon Wachtler, then chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, popularized a saying that a grand jury could be talked into indicting a ham sandwich.

This hoagie is stale and rotten: the allegations, surrounding a supposed tryst 17 years ago, usually would be a misdemeanor that expires after two years. Any crime lies in how Trump accounted for payments to Michael Cohen, who made a $130,000 transfer to a porn star a month before the 2016 election. See Episode 19  of “What’s Bugging Me” for more on this.

Plus, this is a state case, yet it involves federal election law, so the state court might throw it out. And the two star witnesses are Cohen, a convicted felon who lied to Congress,  and porn star Stormy Daniels, who sought the payoff. Cyrus Vance Jr., the predecessor as New York district attorney, decided against pursuing charges. His successor, Alvin Bragg, ran in part on a Get Trump platform to get elected in 2021.

None of which appears prominently in most coverage. Trump is to be arrested and arraigned on the Times’s home turf in New York on Tuesday. Its coverage sets the ski tracks for everyone else in the media, especially television.

The Times’s first-day story, ever wishful, called the indictment “a historic development that will shake up his 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges.” This “threatens to puncture” the “aura of legal invincibility” of Donald Trump.

“This case is built around a tawdry episode that predates Mr. Trump’s presidency,” the Times says. Tawdry episode? A little preachy.

Unrelated to the charges to be filed: “Already, the former president has used bigoted language to attack Mr. Bragg, the first Black man to lead the district attorney’s office, calling him a ‘racist,’ an ‘animal’ and a ‘radical left prosecutor.’”

Hang on there: calling a black prosecutor a racist and a radical left prosecutor is racist? As for “animal,” Trump has used this inelegant epithet to refer to white women who insulted him publicly, and to murderous MS-13 gang members.

The Times once hammered President Trump in May 2018 for supposedly calling illegal aliens “animals,” then two days later it ran a skinback admitting Trump was referring to MS-13 gang bangers.

In the current coverage, another Times story cites “supporters likely to be energized by a belief that the justice system has been weaponized against him.” Belief? Four other ongoing efforts are targeting President Trump on the Jan. 6 insurrection, interference in the 2020 election, meddling in the Georgia senate race, and possession of classified documents.

Weaponization, indeed.  A third story goes all goose/gander on the former POTUS: “Trump Says the Justice System Has Been Weaponized. He Would Know.” Baddabing!  Deck: “The former president is attempting to cast the investigations into his actions as politically motivated uses of the justice system.”

It is hard to see these investigations as anything but politically motivated. Rest of deck: “In office, he regularly sought to use government powers against his foes.” So has every president since George Washington.

The story cites TV ads that candidate Trump ran against Hillary in the 2016 campaign, which is unrelated to the point. And how Trump “has spent years persuading supporters to internalize political and legal threats to him as deeply personal attacks on them.” This fails to qualify as Trump’s weaponizing anything, frankly.

It is worth repeating: President Trump always said the media were the enemies of the American people. At the least, they have proven themselves to be the enemies of Donald Trump.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called “What’s Bugging Me.”
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