Tweet
It feels an age ago now, but in 2015 I wrote for @NiemanLab about journalists handling stolen/leaked documents, in the wake of the iCloud hack and the Sony leak (1/)
One thing that bothers me about the “Twitter Files” is that Matt Taibbi published them fast — he apologised to his Substack subscribers that he was caught up in something with “conditions”. And Musk seemed very sure of the schedule. So I presume timing was the bargain.
OK, but there are risks when you rush. Not least, can you independently verify any of this? Check that it’s real? (see the recent “Facebook leak” which turned out to be fabricated.) Can you check your source hasn’t given you a partial (and biased) view of the situation?
Bari Weiss apparently also has the files but hasn’t published them. I wonder if that’s because she’s actually … doing some reporting? Journalism is not repeating everything a source tells you, in either investigations or political reporting. That’s just being a mouthpiece.
As it happens, I found the twitter files underwhelming. Twitter was wrong to suppress the NY Post story. But Dorsey himself admitted that and apologised.
The Biden campaign was passing along requests for Twitter to review tweets with pics of Hunter Biden’s dick? Seems legitimate. That’s essentially revenge porn. In the case of the iCloud leak, those types of nude images have been suppressed from search etc. I’m ok with that.
Then there’s the hole in the story: what were the Trump campaign’s requests? If requesting tweet reviews is inherently sinister (it’s not) then let’s hear about what the other side complained about, too.
In my Nieman piece the conclusion was that a journalist’s job is not to keep secrets. But it’s also to be responsible about what you put in the public domain, and how you contextualise it. Otherwise you risk being used for what we used to call an “oppo dump.”
Here’s a good piece by a conservative: David French on why this isn’t a First Amendment issue www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/12/elon-musk-and-tucker-carlson-dont-understand-the-first-amen...
And here’s me back in the distant days of 2015 niemanreports.org/articles/when-is-it-ethical-to-publish-stolen-data/

Recommended by
Recommendations from around the web and our community.

Very good thread by Helen on why the Taibbi thread really isn’t good journalism.