In 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., embraced social media as he ran for the White House. After he won, Silicon Valley took pride in its role in electing the first Black president.
The press gushed about Obama’s savvy mastery of the digital universe. The internet, they mused, would make politics more interactive and more democratic.
And they were right — although few expected the result to be a President Donald Trump.
Twitter’s mission is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”
But after Trump followed in Obama’s footsteps — in social media mastery and election victory — the tech community found a new mission: squelching heterodox opinions.
That changed when tech titan Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October — then decided to mix things up. He disbanded Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.
Oh, the horror. Politico’s headline: “Advocacy groups warn of harassment on Twitter after Musk kills safety board.”
Conservatives who have seen their private information shared (without their consent) on Twitter can only shrug.
Billed as a “community of experts working for safety and free expression,” the council was formed in February 2016. Do you feel more trusting or safer? Not if you think outside the mainstream press.
Bari Weiss, a former New York Times opinion editor and co-founder of The Free Press, has revealed what safety looks like if you’re not Anthony Fauci, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Stanford epidemiologist Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, advocated for “focused protection” instead of widespread COVID shutdowns.
After the declaration’s release, Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, dismissed Bhattacharya and his co-authors as “fringe epidemiologists” whose work deserved “a devastating published take down.” That’s not new news.
After Musk leaked internal Twitter emails to Weiss, she revealed that Twitter brass determined to put Bhattacharya on a “search blacklist.”
The Twitter swells thought they were correcting misinformation — but it turns out — no surprise — Bhattacharya was right. Twitter was suppressing information essential to informed public debate.
Weiss’ reporting is a direct repudiation of former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s 2018 congressional testimony in which he asserted that Twitter did not “shadow ban.”
Tuesday, Dorsey released a letter in which he assumed the blame for Twitter’s failures, which he believes could be fixed with new “tools.” He hasn’t figured out that when you hire legions of like-minded progressives, tools won’t change things. Just like most journalists I know, left-leaning techies think their viewpoint is neutral because they’re surrounded by people who think exactly what they think.
Musk enraged the Left when he tweeted, “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.” It was a joke. I laughed.
Not so at the White House. Asked about Musk’s “prosecute/Fauci” tweet, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded, “These personal attacks that we’ve been seeing are dangerous” and disgusting and divorced from reality.
Humor is in short supply these days. There’s a new sheriff in town.
Debra J. Saunders is a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership. Contact her at email@example.com.
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