The name of our Substack publication, Public came from the 2018 book, Revolt of the Public by a former CIA media analyst named Martin Gurri. It is perhaps the best book ever written about the impact of the Internet on social and political life. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to watch Leighton’s video about Martin’s great book and read our interview with him in which he strongly denounces the FBI behavior that we revealed in our researchinto the Twitter Files. We are honored to publish his important essay about the Twitter Files, and why they matter, here. — Michael
by Martin GurriOnly yesterday, Elon Musk was a hero to progressives. He had made the electric car sexy and organized a migration to Mars to save humanity from the coming ecological apocalypse. Musk voted for Barack Obama twice and for Biden once. When he offered to purchase Twitter on April 14 of last year, he clearly believed he was reconnecting progressivism to its liberal roots. “For Twitter to deserve public trust it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” he said. Famously, Musk characterized himself as “a free speech absolutist.” But elites took that for a declaration of war and changed their tightly synchronized minds about the man.Twitter in the hands of Musk was “dangerous to our democracy,” said Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren. “If Elon Musk successfully purchases Twitter, it could result in World War 3 and the destruction of our planet,” wrote David Leavitt. The White House expressed newfound concern about “the power of large social media platforms … over our everyday lives … tech platforms must be held accountable for the harm they cause.”Before Musk’s takeover, Twitter management had gone on record stating, “We do not shadow ban [i.e., secretly block users]. And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.” Thanks to Twitter’s internal emails and messages released by Musk, we now know both claims were false. “Twitter employees 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,” wrote journalist Bari Weiss. The targets were offenders against elite orthodoxy—a conservative activist, a right-wing talk show host, and a Covid-dissenting doctor, among others.