With the conclusion of the disastrously-executed Afghanistan withdrawal, the attention of Joe Biden and his loyal media apparatchiks has turned to dealing with the ordeal’s political damage. The last few weeks have seen Biden lose significant support, most notably among independent voters, and Republicans are already incorporating the Afghan debacle into their pre-2022 midterm messaging. Biden’s response to all this is to provide more evidence that he – contrary to the claims of many American liberals – is just as willing to dissemble and misrepresent as Trump. But there’s one crucial difference: Biden has Silicon Valley on his side.
Twitter famously never missed an opportunity to slap a ‘misleading information’ label on Trump’s tweets or ban users from replying to them – before they decided to censor him by deleting his account entirely. Indeed, the social media giant was so committed to stopping Trump that last year they even censored the New York Post (despite no one contesting the veracity of the paper’s claims) after they published emails indicating that while Biden was Vice President, his son – Hunter – had exploited his father’s influence to reward an Ukrainian energy company on whose board he sat.
.@POTUS: "We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety. That number is more than double what most experts thought was possible. No nation has ever done anything like it in all of history." pic.twitter.com/V3oJoTBhGK
Curiously, however, Twitter’s bullish stance against ‘disinformation’ doesn’t seem to apply to journalists and outlets that uncritically disseminate false claims from the Biden administration. When Biden addressed the American public on Tuesday night, he bizarrely claimed that his administration had completed 'one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety'. But this is a brazen lie: the ‘120,000’ figure refers to evacuations by the U.S. and a multitude of other countries. Yet there’s a notable absence of ‘fact-checking’ and ‘misinformation labels on videos which show this section of Biden’s speech.
Steerpike cannot help but wonder why Biden gets away with such claims which swiftly go viral. Is it because he says them at a lectern to a camera, rather than via 140 character format? Let's hope Twitter either enforces the same rigorous tests they applied to Sleepy Joe's predecessor – or better yet allow the 45th president to return to tweet once more.
Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or message @MrSteerpike