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All That and a Bag of Mail

Rejoice, it’s Friday and you’re close to being able to sit on your couch and watch the Masters all weekend long.

Personally, I’m headed down to Florida this weekend to watch Wrestlemania in Tampa. Yes, really. I’ll be ringside on Sunday night for those of you watching.

So look for me there.

Okay, time to make all of you smarter, here we go:

Lots of you emailed and tweeted about the Hunter Biden pictures and videos that the Daily Mail is publishing. If you haven’t seen their story, here it is:

My thoughts here are summed up in the above tweet, but I think it’s worth unpacking those thoughts as well. First, social media’s collusion to censor this story resulted in American voters receiving less honest and factual information than they deserved. Hunter Biden’s laptop was real. The information on it was real. This wasn’t some sort of Russian disinformation campaign. It was all real.

Given that Joe Biden ran his entire campaign predicated on a return to honor and normalcy, I think it’s highly significant that his son’s behavior, which implicated Joe Biden as well, directly contradicted these claims. Voters should have been able to analyze this information as they made their decision about which candidate to support. I think the publication of salacious videos and pictures from that laptop, which the Daily Mail is now doing, is necessary because that’s what it will take for many people to realize that this wasn’t faked. It was 100% real.

Whatever your politics, the idea that Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites colluded to stop the spread of this story is fundamentally antithetical to traditional notions of fair play and honesty in journalism. We’ve created a system in the United States where big tech companies have effectively become the Chinese government. That is, the American government isn’t building an internet wall to keep people from seeing news that displeases them, but big tech is doing exactly that. So in actuality, we don’t have a free internet in this country either. And what troubles me is how few people actually see that’s what’s happened. We’ve allowed big tech companies to effectively overtake the First Amendment in this country.

I’m not sure Joe Biden would be president if the Hunter Biden story — and Joe’s connection to it — had been widely distributed, discussed, debated and analyzed in our national news. In fact, given the fact that Biden only won the 2020 presidential election by 40,000 votes, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be president today if this story had been given full coverage by our media. If you believe that 20,000 or so people might have changed their votes if this story had gone public, then big tech effectively picked the president with their censorship of this story.

That’s absolutely terrifying.

Especially when you realize that the Biden administration is likely to go easier on big tech than the Trump administration did.

So you have the largest companies in the world colluding to pick the president by manipulating the stories that people see on their platforms. That’s a fundamental and direct assault on our democracy.

Now here’s the biggest question this raises: did these big tech companies know the Hunter Biden laptop was real or did they legitimately believe the Biden campaign when they said it was Russian disinformation? (The Biden campaign had to know this information was real. So when Joe Biden said Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation, he was knowingly lying to the American public.) That question matters because it goes to the big tech motive. If they knew it was real, they directly attacked our democratic processes in an effort to support their favored candidate. That’s conspiracy and collusion, potentially criminal behavior that deserves to be investigated by our justice department. If they didn’t know it was real, they allowed their companies to effectively be overtaken by Biden campaign disinformation. These are the only two options. It’s one or the other.

Most importantly, it’s just further evidence of how big tech has broken our modern day discourse.

Think about how the media and big tech covered Trump’s sons, and imagine how they would have covered him if a laptop like this had existed and Donald Trump, Jr. had been behind everything on it. Now think about how they’ve covered Hunter Biden.

That’s the very essence of bias.

One of the things that I constantly hammer home on my OutKick platforms is the importance of treating everyone the same, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality or politics. Every single person should be treated the exact same.

That doesn’t happen in our country right now.

Already you see Democrats shifting their narrative now that the Hunter Biden laptop being fake narrative has been blown up. Now it’s all about how Hunter Biden doesn’t really matter and isn’t a story. Excuse me, the president’s son was getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a month by Ukrainian and Chinese companies to sit on their boards due to his connection to Joe Biden. Are you telling me those companies wanted a drug addict’s advice and were paying him for his expertise? Of course not, they were buying access to Joe Biden through his son.

Biden’s laptop being verified should be the number one story in America right now. Instead I bet the usual left wing suspects won’t even cover it. And big tech will keep it from trending. And probably punish sites like OutKick that even mention it, driving us far down the algorithmic rabbit hole to punish us for daring to share with our audience a massively important story that illuminates the biggest issue in our country today: big tech’s all encompassing power.

Jason writes:

“What will Rob Manfred do if the Atlanta Braves make it to the World Series?”

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

The same way he’s doing nothing about the 81 home games the Braves are playing this season in Georgia. And the same way the NFL will do nothing about the home games the Falcons are playing and the same way the NBA has done nothing about the Hawks too. And the same way this story will completely disappear as soon as the Masters is over.

Look at this tweet, which I think sums it up perfectly. Twitter isn’t real life. It’s a carnival fun house mirror. Its algorithms create mass event opinions surrounding outrage and then within 24 hours it’s all gone.

It’s all bullshit.

Scott writes:

“Odds you make it into Brooke Baldwin’s book? Should you negotiate for royalties?”

I will 100% be in her book because I’m the most watched segment she’s ever had in her TV career.

But the bigger question is this, will anyone notice? I mean, does Brooke Baldwin have any fans at all in the country? Are there people who really care what she thinks? I doubt it.

I’m sure she will get a ton of media attention when the book comes out, but then no one will buy it.

And a week after it comes out, it will be remaindered.


Ice writes:

“Why don’t most organizations do what the Masters did? They stood their ground and said we are going to continue to play. It’s already a non-story. MLB bent the knee and will pay the price for years, if not longer.”

I’ve been arguing this for years.

As someone who has found themselves at the center of media hurricanes quite a few times, I can tell you exactly how it goes: Twitter accounts yell about how awful you are, the bots join in, you trend everywhere and you feel like you’re being torn to shreds online.

And then as quickly as the Twitter mob arrives, it disappears.

Without fail. It’s like the smoke monster in Lost — there and then, poof, gone.

If you can withstand 24 or 48 hours of tempest and turmoil, it just vanishes.

The problem with many companies is they are too aware of what people online say. Far too aware. They have these massive PR departments who aggressively monitor everything said about their brands online, and they feel compelled to respond when a story trends or goes viral because they are afraid they themselves might end up the target and they don’t want to lose their jobs.

The answer almost always is to do less.

Just ignore these Twitter tempests, and they always go away. And you don’t end up alienating anyone because most people have no idea these stories ever existed in the first place. Or you can do what MLB did. Respond to a non-story by creating a massive conflagration. The end result? MLB gained zero fans and alienated their base in the process. It’s a textbook example of what not to do.

Keith writes:

“What is your opinion on Biden’s comment claiming that Amendments are not absolute? You are a self proclaimed 1st Amendment absolutist. I’d love to hear your take.”

It’s a poorly phrased take by Joe Biden — no surprise — but it’s generally correct. Amendments are subject to the interpretation of our courts, like all Constitutional provisions are, they are not absolute. An amendment protects a right, but the court’s interpretation of that right almost always stop shorts of absolutism.

For instance, you have a First Amendment right to free speech, but you don’t have a First Amendment right to say or write anything you want in this country without legal liability or, potentially, criminal consequences. Threatening to kill the president, as an easy example, is illegal in this country. So your First Amendment right to say or write that you want the president assassinated is not absolute.

And it’s not just the president. You couldn’t tweet, “I’m going to kill you,” at a stranger on social media and expect to avoid all legal culpability for those comments. So speech itself can be a crime, even though we have First Amendment rights enshrined in our constitution. And I believe that’s correct, even though I’m a First Amendment absolutist.

When I say I’m a First Amendment absolutist — and explain that by using boobs as a fun addition there — what I am illustrating is I believe in as expansive of a vision of the First Amendment in our country as possible. That’s why it was so funny when CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, referenced above, took offense to my comments. By saying I’ve only believed in two things 100%, the First Amendment and boobs, what I was doing was proving my First Amendment absolutism — in a funny and memorable way. CNN being offended by my comments just illustrated that they don’t support an expansive First Amendment, certainly nowhere near the same as I do.

It’s also really funny because within a few months of them losing their minds over me saying that on their airwaves, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner died — the original believer in the First Amendment and boobs — and CNN treated him like a hero.

Here’s another example: right now we have a major debate and discussion surrounding voting rights in this country. You have a right to vote. You don’t have an absolute right to vote in any way you choose to do so. It’s eminently reasonable for there to be restrictions on your franchise in order to help to ensure free and fair elections.

I can’t decide, for instance, to vote for president on parchment, seal it with hot wax, and then dispense it to the election board via raven, owl, or pigeon. That’s not a permissible way to vote. If our right to vote were purely absolute, then any method by which a ballot arrived would count. But that would be a total mess. So we implement rules in order to govern the method by which we execute our constitutional rights.

Hope that explains things.

Okay, I’ve got to get ready for Outkick the Show and Fox Bet Live, my two shows still to come today.

Also, I took a break writing the mailbag this morning to record a two hour podcast with Megyn Kelly. I think you guys are going to love it.

That should be up soon.

As always, thanks for supporting OutKick.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

7 Comments

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  1. This quote
    “Whatever your politics, the idea that Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites colluded to stop the spread of this story is fundamentally antithetical to traditional notions of fair play and honesty in journalism.”

    Those sentiments about journalism are mistaken. If you watched the Ernest Hemmingway documentary then you may have noticed a scene where he lost a friend because he was afraid to tell the truth about the communist members of the loyalist killing civilians. Hemmingway’s response was that the New York liberal writers would blackball him if he told the truth. This was at a time when he was the top writer in the world.

    Manhattan journalist have always cared more about their cause than objective journalism. Appealing to a sentiment that was never there will get you nowhere.

    Concentrate on breaking up tech. The “common carrier” laws are the only hope while Biden is in the White House.

  2. Outside of Clay’s exchange I never heard of Brooke Baldwin.

    So after some IG investigative work…I found the post where she met her…well ‘guy’ (I use that term very loosely) at 36 and told him upfront she loves her career and froze some eggs.

    I think Clay’s only misstep was going on a show where it was clearly run by a crazy woman.

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