I am glad for these reports showing how use of certain hashtags declined after Trump was banned, but I fear that the damage to the free press may be very long-lasting. Some of the worst images from the Jan 6 insurrection were the gleeful trashing of news crews cameras. It is completely on Trump that this anti-press violence occurred--every reporter covering his rallies felt the crowd's wrath as head cheerleader Trump egged them on--and as a result the right wing trusts NONE of the legitimate news sources. I know the press has its problems but I still think most reporters try to uncover and report the truth.
Gotta admit, I do not miss the drama. Having Trump off Twitter and the media forced to go cold turkey off their Trump addiction has made things better for everyone... and much harder for his enablers and bootlickers. It was the feel good ending I was not expecting. Even the indoguration yesterday set a whole new tone and lifted spirits. And for the first time in my life I’m excited for boring, old-fashioned policy wonks running our country.
Really fun song choice. Harry Styles really does feel right in this moment.
The fear of Republican outrage is clearly a major factor that has led to this dangerous situation. I can’t think of any other reason that the media chose to downplay the story about the 2009 DHS report documenting the growing threat of right wing extremism. That confidential report was deliberately leaked by a conservative media outlet so that Republicans could express outrage at the focus on “right wing” extremists. They didn’t care that the report had begun under the Bush administration. DHS caved, apologized (!!!), withdrew the report and disbanded the DHS group responsible for tracking these extremists leaving our democracy vulnerable to them.
Why didn’t this story get more attention from the media? It’s not like the media didn’t know how serious this threat was unless they really had forgotten the carnage of Oklahoma City. After 9-11 they sure as heck acted like they had. More importantly why didn’t the media continue reporting on the growing terrorism danger that report had documented? DHS didn’t deny the facts in that report. In a rational world the media would have been outraged that DHS had caved to right wing outrage, leaving our country vulnerable to terrorists. The media could have continued reporting on the threat. They were well aware that there are other respected organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center which continued tracking and reporting on domestic terrorism. Those organizations are more than willing to share their information with the media yet the media chose to move on because they didn’t want to be the target of Republicans. This past week at least some of the people on MSNBC have reported on this story but most are still ignoring it.
Last night on 60 MInutes Scott Pelley interviewed the acting head of DHS. Pelley did not demand to know how DHS didn’t take the threat more seriously, let alone bring up the fact that DHS didn’t even have people tasked with tracking this dire and growing threat. Instead Pelley treated Cuccinelli with kid gloves despite the fact that Cuccinelli is a right winger with a history of extreme views and denial of reality. You can bet Pelley did not want to suffer the Republican outrage that would have hit him had he done a deservedly tough interview. He and the rest of the media need to grow a spine and stand up to Republican bullies if they really care about our democracy as they claim they do.
Spot on as usual. Actually becomes even clearer how crucial the Biden win was. I highly doubt Trump would be off Twitter today, had he won.
Trump would not be president had he been banned from Twitter for lies leading up to Nov. 2016. I'm still not convinced there wasn't hacking in election machines in 2016, but it really was the social media lies that destroyed Hillary's chances.
Of course it's a combination of the fear of what he and his supporters would do to them and that now he would be leaving office, and the money they made from it. But this brings me to another point. Interestingly, a large percentage of his followers were Democrats and lefties who wanted to attack him. If they'd all quit following him long ago, things might have been different, too.
That brings me to the one thing Democrats and other interest groups just don't do enough of that needs to happen more: Boycotts. Consider that we are commemorating the life of Dr. King today. When did he make his first splash? During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when Blacks ultimately got what they wanted by costing the other guys money. There have been some boycotts of advertisers on Fux Noise here and there, but THAT is what we need to be doing.
Trump and his white supremacist followers are terrifying. I am extremely Left Wing when it comes to economic justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. But I have some serious concerns about the Far Left when it comes to Rape Culture.
We have seen what happened to the GOP when they allowed their fringe to take over. We progressive Democrats have to be very careful about allowing our fringe to take over the Democratic Party. We think nothing could be worse than the Corporate Dems, but we are wrong. A cruel, reckless Far Left Democratic Party could be devastating for women and children- especially disabled women and poor women and children of color.
The Far Left consistently trivializes sexual violence and sex trafficking. As a survivor of both those things, I feel completely betrayed by the "Squad" and their recent decision to come out against FOSTA/SESTA, and to mouth the insane slogan "sex work is work."
When a person claims that "sex work is work" they are making a false equivalence between forcing someone to do the dishes and forcing someone to endure unwanted sexual penetration. As an incest survivor, I can promise you that had my father merely forced me to do dishes rather than endure his sexual assaults, I would have been far less traumatized. "Sex work is work" trivializes the severe trauma that most survivors of the sex trade describe. "Sex work is work" is as cruel and misogynistic as anything I have heard from the Far Right.
When it comes to criminal justice, the Far Left would essentially decriminalize rape by encouraging victims to reconcile with their abusers instead of fighting for justice (as oppressed men are allowed to do). Instead of encouraging women to make our criminal justice system friendlier to women and children, they tell women and children to avoid seeking justice altogether. They follow in the tradition of the Catholic Church and the White Evangelicals by telling women to prioritize the freedom and forgiveness of adult men over the safety and freedom of women and children. This is Supreme Patriarchy, and the Far Left and Far Right overlap in this way.
We must not allow the Far Left to dominate our party. Their solution to women's poverty would be to open a "safe" legal brothel in every poor neighborhood and on every Native American reservation (Black and Indigenous women are those most likely to be recruited into the sex trade). As prostitution survivor Rachel Moran once said "When a woman is hungry, the humane thing to do is put food in her mouth, not your penis." The Far Left seems deeply confused on this issue.
Anyway, we do live in a Rape Culture that is as supported by the Left as it is by the Right.
Today, survivors have no real political home. But if the Left could learn to promote both economic justice AND develop a zero tolerance policy on sexual violence and sexual exploitation, survivors might one day be able to call the Far Left their homes. But we are not there yet. And until that day comes, I can no longer donate to or support Far Left candidates or Left Wing publications.
Dr. Martin Luther King would never have sought to get a law repealed that holds web sites accountable for profiting off the sale of raped kids. No decent person should seek to repeal such a law. Yet people who claim to respect Dr. King are seeking to do exactly that.
Listen to Survivors. Support the Nordic or Equality Model for decriminalizing "sex workers." Respect the humanity of women and children.
Thank You for Caring!
Kamala Harris advocated this in the fall of 2019. Here's a fun walk down Memory Lane:
"Right-wing activists complained so loudly and so ferociously about phantom fouls of "liberal bias" that social media companies like Twitter thought twice about even appearing to offend Republicans" - a neat summary of the GOP's modus operandi. This has always been how they shut down the damned timid Dems, alas ..
Thanks Eric. I agree 100%.
The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that: “Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech.” But this is not, nor ever been, an absolute right. Twitter and FB know/knew this, and yet allowed numerous officials, hate groups, etc. to spew lies and incite violence for far too long. For the reasons you stated, and money.
One might think that after a person's net worth exceeds $1 billion (with a b) that the cowardice would subside. At the point the you have secured the financial future of multiple generations of family, what prevents the larger moral compass from taking over? How many live-streamed beheadings does it take to rethink your business model?
"Follow me on Twitter" is used unironically by the current advocates of censorship. The capital invaders were identified by their presence on social media. That is the genius of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects everybody and thanks to sites like archive.org, deleted internet posts often resurface. All of the printed material of the past are how we know our history.
The triumph of the mainstream press and tech companies is fleeting and will only last as long as online publishers like Twitter can turn a profit. Their strategy of making money screaming about Trump is at an end and the inevitable collapse is a near certainty unless Joe Biden's family problems heat up or another pandemic comes around.
There were, of course, attempts to redefine the legal responsibilities that social media companies bear during the Trump administration. A quick internet search will reveal how unwilling the establishment was to even have that debate.
Every day brings fresh affirmation of my decision never to sign up for Twitter. Trump seems to have rounded up people who would find themselves at home in The Borg.
I agree that Twitter has a lot to answer for here as does Facebook which has a wider audience but every lie and accusation was repeated and amplified incessantly on Fox. In large swaths of the country Fox and its brother Sinclair broadcasting are the only source of information available. And unlike Twitter and Facebook, trump and his allies are welcome voices any and everyday. Is it possible to hold them in anyway accountable?
I'm waiting for the moment when Zuckerberg and Jack are in front of Congressional committees explaining their Republican bias...
Great piece and yes, Twitter should be commended and hopefully all these media platforms have learned a lesson. The next 48 hours will either show that Twitter's decision to remove the menacing Trump will lead to a somewhat peaceful transition or that the move proved to be too late if indeed there is more violence leading up to inauguration. From the standpoint of "just when you think it can't get worse under Trump, it does", I can't recall a time when I felt so ill at ease as I do today. If all that happens between now and Wednesday is that Trump pardons 100s of his flunkies for profit, I think we will have gotten off easy. What Trump has done with the help of tools such as Twitter and Facebook has been to show just how sick this country has always been.