Editor’s note: What follows is an excerpt from Peter Hasson’s new book “The Manipulators: Facebook, Google, Twitter, qnd Big Tech’s War on Conservatives” (order here on Amazon). The book delves into how Big Tech is using its huge financial and technological power to severely restrict access to conservative voices and ideas and to rig public debate in favor of America’s political left wing.
Meghan McCain, a host on The View and the daughter of the late senator and Vietnam hero John McCain, is a regular target of hate and bile on Twitter. But Twitter, which aggressively cracked down on conservatives who tweeted “learn to code,” was curiously slow to respond to the hatred directed at McCain.
In the days after John McCain’s funeral, for example, a Twitter user posted a doctored photo showing a gun pointed at Meghan as she approached her father’s casket. “America, this ones for you,” the photo’s caption read. The tweet remained on the platform for more than twelve hours, despite dozens of conservatives reporting it to Twitter and asking the site to take it down. Only after Meghan’s husband, Ben Domenech, tweeted at Dorsey directly did Twitter remove the tweet. “Hey @jack, this has been up for half a day. It has been reported 100+ times. No response. Tell me why this is cool by you,” Domenech wrote. Once again, Twitter only took action because a concerted effort from conservatives criticizing both the company and Dorsey personally made deleting the threatening post the better public relations option.
Dorsey was asked about Twitter’s hesitance to remove the death threats against McCain when he testified before Congress on September 5, 2018. “That was unacceptable,” Dorsey replied. When the committee asked if he had apologized to the McCain family, Dorsey said, “I haven’t personally, but I will.” (RELATED: Google Is A No-Show At Senate Social Media Hearing)
Days passed without an apology, then weeks, and then months. Still, no apology arrived. Perhaps Dorsey forgot about the promise he made under oath? Perhaps, but unlikely. Domenech published a scathing article in November 2018, castigating Dorsey for his broken promise. “Jack Dorsey has never contacted my wife or me to apologize,” Domenech wrote in an article titled, “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Lied Under Oath To Congress. Shouldn’t That Matter?”
You might assume that after Domenech’s public reminder of the broken promise, Dorsey would have leapt into action, but that wasn’t the case. Yet more days passed without an apology, then weeks, and then months. Domenech told me that Dorsey finally called at the end of January 2019—nearly five months after he promised Congress that he would.
The incident was a microcosm of Dorsey’s entire playbook when confronted about his company’s left-wing bias: pay lip service to the problem and then do as little as possible to actually address it.
Peter J. Hasson is the editor of the investigative group at the Daily Caller News Foundation and the author of “The Manipulators: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Big Tech’s War on Conservatives“