First Draft News, a now-defunct nonprofit that left-wing billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations funded, played a key role in Twitter’s preparation to shut down the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, according to internal documents published by author Michael Shellenberger as part of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files.”
The Aspen Institute hosted a September 2020 training exercise for members of the media and social media leaders regarding the handling of hypothetical data leaks which were similar to the Hunter Biden laptop report that broke in October, according to Shellenberger. Claire Wardle, former executive director and co-founder of First Draft News, appeared to be an attendee of the exercise, according to an email published by Shellenberger.
The address that apparently belonged to Wardle was one of multiple recipients in an email to top national security reporters, Facebook’s head of security policy and others, according to Shellenberger. The Open Society Foundations, which left-wing megadonor Soros chairs, once funded First Draft News. The organization shut down in June.
“Today we are announcing that First Draft is closing its doors to make way for the next chapter — its mission will continue at the newly launched Information Futures Lab, an initiative from Brown’s School of Public Health,” an announcement from Wardle reads.
The Aspen Institute training exercise, titled “The Burisma Leak,” involved a series of hypothetical leaks during October 2020 showing that Hunter Biden had made more money in his role at Burisma than previously disclosed and had communicated with his father about his work there, Shellenberger reported. The exercise was meant to shape how the media covered the eventual leak of the Hunter Biden laptop story and the way social media platforms carried it.
The Aspen Institute, a left-leaning think tank funded by massive philanthropic organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation, runs the Commission on Information Disorder, an anti-disinformation project that’s drawn ire from conservatives for its alleged far-left partisanship. The commission has urged social media platforms to censor accounts it considers misinformation “superspreaders” through demonetization, the removal of what it considers inaccurate posts and penalties for offending users.
The New York Post’s story appeared to reveal that Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive from a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma. Less than a year later, the elder Biden reportedly pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the firm.
Most mainstream news outlets refused to report on the story prior to the election, and Twitter and Facebook both suppressed the story.
The Twitter Files have revealed widespread censorship at Twitter favoring left-wing talking points, sometimes in cooperation with the FBI. The FBI paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million for its employees fulfilling its requests, and former FBI employees had their own private slack channel at Twitter, according to Shellenberger.