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OPINION

Twitter's 'Black Thursday' Suspensions Has CNN Exposing Their Lack of Self-Awareness

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Ron Harris

As you likely have seen, Thursday evening, a number of journalists found their Twitter accounts suspended after Elon Musk declared that their sharing of forbidden content and links to sites supplying such was deemed a violation of revealing personal location data. As a result, an uproar was felt in the journalism community, and all manner of subsequent outrage is still being seen. 

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At CNN, they joined in on the mewling chorus of distemper by calling a panel together to hold a grudge quorum in response to this outrage act by Elon Musk. That these media experts feel as if no one is aware of the stark hypocrisy is only the first shred of amusement. Watching the stammering and frothing taking place that is on par with a teenager's reaction to a grounding only adds to the merriment.

First, I need to state that I am not in favor of accounts of select journalists being suspended or shut down. I favor expression and am not afraid of divergent opinions having a forum. Good luck catching me resorting to phrases such as "in the name of safety" or other veiled justifications for closing off avenues of thought, unless actual threats are present. We could haggle over these new suspensions qualifying as such, but just understand that I am not cheering the removal of these voices at this time.

Now, as you see the various journalists wailing over this development, understand the lack of scale. On Mastodon (the alternative social platform many a journo is fleeing to these days), it seems the only topic anyone can discuss is Twitter. The trending hashtags display the hysterics at play; #TwitterPurge, #BloodyThursday, #ThursdayNightMassacre. Now balance that against reality. As indicated, a number of journalists were suspended. 

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That number is six.

For this, the journalism industry acts as if we are seeing the banana republic version of a hostile tyrant jailing opposition reporters and closing down television stations. These six were closed off following their intentional sharing of a site called ElonJets, known for tracking Musk's flight patterns. He made a new TOS standard about the sharing of personal location data, and that site was part of those included in a shutdown of accounts. These journalists taunted Twitter by engaging in sharing the site that already had been shown as disapproved by the site managers. They actively did so in an act of martyrdom, basically prodding Musk to take action, and he called their bluff.

One of those half-dozen accounts belongs to CNN's conspiracy correspondent Donie O'Sullivan. He joined in on their panel, along with the network's media maven Oliver Darcy, to vent and rail against the action taken and consider just what it all means. It basically means at CNN, they are filled with emotional fervor but will not apply any rational contemplation to these events.

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Darcy ruminates on "the nature of the free press on Twitter" following Thursday's suspensions. "CNN is going to reevaluate its relationship with Twitter," he reports, because this was such a serious act. He also says, "Twitter really needs, or really relies on – news. That's kind of the lifeblood of Twitter." Now to insensitively inject some perspective.

This outrage is, again, over just six individuals (the decidedly non-journalist names of Aaron Rupar and Keith Olbermann really bring this down to four in total), and only one is from CNN. CNN is not being muted. News is not being stripped from the site. But what needs to be asked of Darcy and CNN is where has this consternation been the past few years when so many others have been suspended? 

If there is this perceived threat to our democracy and the First Amendment because Donie O'Sullivan has to cool his heels for a week, where was this hysteria when an entire outlet had its account completely shut down in 2020?! The New York Post did not see a lone reporter placed in timeout; its entire account was shuttered on numerous platforms. And that, as we now know, was over a story that has since been shown to have been accurate.

Add to this that Darcy has himself been a proponent of silencing news outlets. He not only pushed for InfoWars to be taken down from YouTube but policed how the site maintained accounts on other platforms. Darcy was enthusiastic about seeing Parler stripped of its ability to operate entirely. He has lobbied cable providers to drop his disapproved networks of Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News. For Oliver Darcy to now wail about the sanctity of journalism over a handful of reporters prevented from tweeting until Christmas is just precious.

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There is one appropriate response to his finally coming around to the concept that silencing any news outlet or reporter is generally a bad sign. To quote a famous line from a classic Christmas movie – "Welcome to the party, Pal!"

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