Twitter’s response to the George Floyd riots is a harsh reminder of why the American political system must not cede the final word on free speech to Silicon Valley’s censors.
Over the course of years, the major social media platforms were slowly sanitized and transformed into echo chambers for the left’s preferred narratives. This was largely ignored for a long time, but in recent months, the pernicious phenomenon has become undeniable.
The farce of objectivity went out the window when the social media giant appointed a panel of committed far-left activists — many of whom were already on record saying the President and his supporters must be censored — as an “oversight” board on “misinformation.”
It didn’t take long before this group started to approve nonsense “fact checks” of the President’s tweets, a power they have never weaponized against Joe Biden. The final insult came when they restricted the President of the United State’s message condemning rioting and looting, claiming — absurdly — that it “glorified violence.”
The President saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” — an objective statement of fact already borne out by events during this nationwide civil unrest — is “glorifying violence” on Twitter these days. Literally organizing riots, looting, and arson, however, is A-OK.
Antifa groups, anarchists, and other left-wing groups have been telling their followers where to attack and where good looting is to be found, and justifying disgusting acts of violence, theft, and destruction by mere reference to the tragic memory of George Floyd.
You could argue that Twitter can’t possibly keep up with millions of users as rioting unfolds. Assume that’s correct. If Twitter were actually committed to censoring posts that “glorify violence,” though, then why are none of the Democrat politicians, leftist professors, and liberal celebrities who support the riots not under the microscope?
Tenured professors with verified Twitter accounts were using the platform to encourage their students and others to vandalize and riot, and one egyptologist from the University of Alabama, Sarah Parcak, was even giving step-by-step instructions on how to tear down public monuments.
Meanwhile, dozens of elected Democrats used Twitter to run cover for violent looters and arsonists. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN), for example, tweeted, “Our anger is just. Our anger is warranted” as Minneapolis was in flames. After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own daughter was arrested for blocking traffic during a riot where violent thugs threw bricks at police officers, all he could do was say how proud he was of her. The local Democratic organization in Fairfax County, Virginia was even more explicit, justifying “riots” as “an integral part of this country’s march towards progress.”
But if “glorifying violence” is the real standard — and not controlling the narrative to support the political left — then Twitter’s oddest choice is allowing a celebrity-led campaign to raise money to bail out the very people who are burning, beating, and looting all across America. Even Joe Biden’s own staffers were proudly boasting about how they were ready to pay the bail for people arrested for all variety of serious crimes as long as they had a left-wing political motive.
The reality, of course, is that stopping people from “glorifying violence” has nothing to do with Twitter’s response to the George Floyd riots. It was always about their “Oversight Board” protecting Antifa and other left-wing groups, allowing these people to define the narrative as they broke the law and threatened Americans’ lives and property, all while stigmatizing the President’s attempts to restore order.
Nonetheless, order will be restored in short order and free speech will be the final word of the American people once again.
David Harris Jr is a fellow of the Falkirk Center, Host of the David J Harris Jr podcast, Founder of UncorkedLiving.com, and the author of “Why I Couldn’t Stay Silent.