Sen. Ted Cruz teed off on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over the social media site’s censorship of The Post’s Hunter Biden reporting, in an extended diatribe during Wednesday’s Big Tech hearing on Capitol Hill.
“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report, and what the American people are allowed to hear?” thundered the Texas Republican at the social media mogul. “Why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?”
A flat-footed Dorsey, while conceding that Twitter erred in blocking The Post over its reporting — a block that persists to this day — repeatedly insisted that The Post was free to return to the platform, so long as it deletes tweets on the story.
The heated exchange began with Cruz grilling Dorsey on the logic that went into creating the blackout.
“Why did Twitter make the decision to censor the New York Post?” he asked.
Replied Dorsey, “We have a hacked materials policy … limiting the spread of materials that are hacked. We didn’t want Twitter to be a distributor of hacked materials. We found that the New York Post, because it showed the direct materials … [and] it was unclear how those were obtained, that it fell under this policy.”
As Cruz pointed out, The Post clearly noted in its reporting that the trove of emails and other personal materials were obtained from a laptop that formerly belonged to Biden, and was abandoned at a Delaware electronics repair shop, becoming the owner’s property under store policy that was agreed to in writing by Biden.
He also blasted Dorsey for erring on the side of censorship, even if Twitter had doubts.
“They weren’t hiding what they claimed to be the source,” Cruz said. “Is it your position that Twitter, when you can’t tell the source, blocks press stories?”
Protested Dorsey, “No, not at all. Our team made a fast decision.”
He also noted that policy has since been amended to avoid a similar situation.
But Cruz then pressed on why The Post’s Twitter account remains blocked, two weeks after the ban was rescinded.
“They have to log into their account, which they can do at this minute, delete the original tweet, which fell under our original enforcement actions, and they can tweet the exact same material, the exact same article and it would go through,” Dorsey said.
Cruz characterized Twitter’s enforcement as “clearly employed in a deeply partial way,” noting that the site did not similarly restrict New York Times reporting on President Trump’s tax returns, published without the commander-in-chief consenting to the documents’ release.
Cruz also drew a sharp distinction between Twitter striking down a fringe social media voice and a major news outlet.
“Let’s be clear: The New York Post isn’t just some random guy tweeting. The New York Post has the fourth-highest circulation of any newspaper in America. The New York Post is 200 years old. The New York Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton,” he said. “And your position is that you can sit in Silicon Valley and that you can tell them what stories they can publish, and you can tell the American people what reporting they can hear, is that right?
“The media must genuflect and obey your dictates if they wish to be able to communicate with readers, is that right?”
Dorsey repeated that The Post is welcome to return — if it deletes the original Hunter Biden messages.
“We’re not blocking The Post …,” he said, before being cut off by Cruz.
“Can the New York Post post on their Twitter account?” pressed the lawmaker.
“If they go into their account …,” began Dorsey.
“No, is your answer to that,” cut in Cruz. “Unless they genuflect and agree with your dictates.”
Cruz primarily laid into Dorsey, but also had harsh words for Big Tech’s two other representatives at the Senate hearing, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet.
“The three witnesses we have before this committee today collectively pose, I believe, the single greatest threat to free speech in America, and the greatest threat we have to free and fair elections,” said Cruz.