This week’s Twitter Files reveal that The Washington Post columnist Taylor “The Troll” Lorenz and NBC’s Ben Collins had privileged access to Twitter and its censorship apparatus under the prior regime.
As independent journalist Paul Thacker noted in The Twitter Files parts 23 and 24 released May 17 and 18 respectively, it’s no wonder that so many journalists were outraged by Twitter owner Elon Musk’s takeover. Musk took away their access to exclusive information sharing with the platform. “For years, Twitter provided favoured access to ‘disinformation’ reporters, giving them access to new products and silencing accounts,” Thacker wrote. “Musk ended this access and brought in new reporters to go through the company's documents--something no CEO has ever done before.”
Lorenz’s part in aiding Twitter’s censorship, outlined in The Twitter Files part 24, appears to have been self-interested or at times helping out her friends who needed someone banned. Twitter suspended a user after the account posted about Lorenz’s background and age, the latter of which even Wikipedia doesn’t have an answer to.
“For the record this [is] all publicly available information, it's just hard to find without looking. Taylor Lorenz was born to mega rich developer Walter R. Lorenz (65) and Anne Lorenz (67) & raised in a 5.7 million dollar mansion. Her sister is Brook Lorenz of CNN,” @fearthefloof tweeted according to a screenshot tweeted out by Thacker. The user affirmed several reports of Lorenz’s age found at the end of her Wikipedia profile adding that “For the record, Taylor Lorenz was born October 21st 1984 in New York, NY... making her 37 years old. She will be 38 in 16 days. Wish her a happy birthday.”
Twitter found that the account had "no violations," was "generally healthy" and that there was "no action to be taken under majority abusive safety policies," according to the screenshots. The platform added that “From the Tweets flagged, we have not seen any personal identifiable information shared based on our the Posting Private information policy.” The report names “Taylor Lorenz” as the “assignee” linked to the report. The platform suspended the account shortly after, according to a screenshot tweeted by the user on October 7, 2021 and recovered using archive.org. [Emphasis added.]
In another instance, Thacker revealed that “A month prior to that, Lorenz went after @DrJBhattacharya for tweeting an email by her friend and itinerant blogger @WalkerBragman. [Stanford professor of medicine Dr. Jay] Bhattacharya tweeted a harassing email Bragman sent him and it had Bragman's contact info.” Bragman doxxed himself by retweeting the information, but Lorenz notified the former senior partner manager for U.S. News at Twitter, Liriel Higa, on behalf of Bragman. The platform later locked Bhattacharya out of his account.
The cozy relationship between Twitter and Lorenz apparently cut both ways too. After former Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted her in a segment, Lorenz had Twitter employees rushing to her defense. “Can we please Monitor the conversation around @taylorlorenz?” the Twitter staffer wrote according to Thacker’s screenshot. “She was specifically targeted by Tucker Carlson on his show tonight and I think she's going to be in the center of an abuse campaign on the platform. She's had tremendous trouble with abuse on here before and we need to be careful with her.” [Emphasis added.]
But Lorenz wasn’t the only journalist who appears to have had Twitter in her back pocket. Thacker noted that Twitter met individually with a number of New York City-based journalists and producers – including NBC News Senior reporter Ben Collins and a producer for former CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter – in an effort to “solidify key relationships, encouraging intel sharing, and more broadly to help reinforce the comms' network of trusted reporters,” according to screenshots of the emailed meeting summary.
Collins helped the old Twitter regime flag content, according to Thacker. “When Twitter rolled out Birdwatch to label ‘misinformation’ they gave NBC News Ben Collins @oneunderscore__ a demo and exclusive access. Collins was actually part of the feature's ‘product development,’” wrote Thacker in a tweet. The notes claim that Collins tracked "all kinds of Qanon groups and, inn general says if they pop on Twitter we take them down much quicker than other companies."
CNN journalists were also eager to work with Twitter, according to Thacker. “CNN glad hander Brian Stelter: ‘Willing to come to San Francisco, wherever to meet 1:1 with spokespeople even for introductory conversations.’ CNN's Oliver Darcy: ‘Would love to hear pitches from us [Twitter],’” tweeted Thacker as part of the thread exposing leftist journalists’s ties to the platform.
The platform also met with reporters from The Verge, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and producers for Dana Perino and then-Fox News host of Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Thacker also as an apparent disclaimer, acknowledged he had received funding from liberal billionaire George Soros in Twitter Files Part 24. “Soros funded me to give the plenary talk at a 2019 BMJ conference on investigative journalism, but that does not make me a ‘Soros funded’ journalist,” he argued.
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