The Twitter files have elicited an odd assortment of reactions from Democrats and people of the left, including the stupidity of calling Matt Taibbi a rightwinger. The more common reactions from the unthinking, unprincipled Democrat hive have been studious ignorance or theatrical yawns.
The Jacobin explains why government-media cooperation is so dangerous.
The FBI and other government agencies saw foreign influence everywhere, even when the socials presented evidence proving them wrong. The government pressured Twitter to relax privacy standards, and to more aggressively label and censor posts the government disagreed with. Although Twitter resisted much of this, they and other social media outlets gladly censored professors, doctors and other medial scientists whose posts deviated from Doctator Fauci’s pseudo-scientific authoritarianism.
The danger here is obvious to anyone willing to think for themselves:
to accept this precedent is to accept that any future White House can press Twitter or any other social media firm to remove accounts it decides is spreading misinformation.
The government also pressured Twitter to stifle information that was anti-Ukraine, anti-Bolsonaro, and anti-Saudi war against Yemen.
Again, the implications are obvious to those who use logic instead of mindless team sport cheerleading:
In other words, the creeping merger of the national security state with Twitter doesn’t just bring up issues of political censorship. It also suggests that the website supposedly meant to be the “global public square” is being used as a geopolitical tool in the service of one government’s foreign policy interests.
The reason the average progressive is all cool with this is especially ironic given their Trump-hysteria reactionary embrace of the constitution. The government and the social media giants are on “the right side of history. The progressive side!” So it’s justified.
Political suppression, if it’s allowed to get a foothold, always starts at the outer edges of what’s acceptable before bit by bit expanding to envelop legitimate but dissident voices that it was supposedly never meant to target. This is why liberals and leftists fiercely denounced a panoply of “war on terror” overreaches that were at first aimed at actual terrorists — not because they agreed with terrorists or viewed their words and deeds as legitimate, but because it was understood such powers could easily be abused and weaponized against others.
The authors followed up that beautifully stated principle with a real-world example. What if *gasp* Republicans took back the White House and Congress? What if conservatives took over social media giants?
many things could change in the years ahead that make the existing status quo more perilous for leftists: Twitter could start hiring conservatives; it could overcorrect in the face of right-wing criticism, or buckle under mounting FBI pressure; national security agencies could embark on a fiercer crackdown of the Left; a Republican could return to the White House; or a GOP Congress could follow Democrats’ example and pressure tech firms to censor what conservatives consider dangerous speech, to name a few possibilities. The best defense against this is to start opposing these trends now, not when it’s too late.
Feels weird typing this, but I agree with the radical leftwing Jacobin.
What say you?