It speaks volumes that not one of the four Fox talking heads whining about Twitter “censoring” Donald Trump by deleting his account wanted to discuss his inflammatory tweets and rhetoric that helped incite the armed insurrection at the Capitol this week.
The New York Times details how Trump incited the violence, refused to condemn it and “initially rebuffed requests to mobilize the National Guard” until an “intervention” by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.
New violence is being planned online for Inauguration Day, The Washington Post reports, and that was the impetus for Twitter’s decision on Friday to permanently suspend Trump’s account:
Twitter cited two Trump tweets. One stated that the 75 million who voted for him were “American Patriots” who will “not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” He then announced he would not go to Biden’s swearing-in ceremony later this month.
In a blog post, the company said the two messages violated its policy against glorification of violence since they “could inspire others to replicate violent acts” that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. According to Twitter, his second tweet could be read by followers as an encouragement to commit violence during the inauguration, which “would be a ‘safe,’ target as he will not be attending.”
In its blog post about the decision, Twitter noted that it had warned Trump before it permanently suspended him: “[W]e made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
But on the Network of Perpetually Weaponized Grievance and Right-Wing Victimhood, aka Fox News, the inflammatory rhetoric took no pause.
Host and “ultimate journalist” Martha MacCallum set the framing with Donald Trump Jr.’s “important” reaction:
MACCALLUM: Let’s take a look at what [Trump Jr.] tweeted because I think it’s important. He says, “So the ayatollah and numerous other dictatorial regimes can have Twitter accounts with no issue, despite threatening genocide to entire countries and killing homosexuals, etc., but the president of the United States should be permanently suspended. Mao would be proud.”
In all likelihood, those dictators did not make those threats or incite violence on Twitter. But MacCallum didn't question the comparison. She turned to guest Charlie Kirk, a flame-throwing, right-wing extremist (he considers himself a culture warrior “trying to save Western Civilization from liberals") for reaction. He performed as expected.
First, Kirk semi-joked that Trump boosted Twitter’s share price so much the company should give him a dividend. Then Kirk claimed that banning Trump’s account “could potentially be a national security risk.” He escalated with exactly the kind of rhetoric that incites violence:
KIRK: This is a very, very disturbing turn of events.... This is something that the left has wanted to do for quite some time. They are using the events that no one is supporting in any form whatsoever from a couple days ago as an excuse for a massive censorship campaign that I’m afraid is not going to stop. … this seems to now be a out-of-control pattern from the masters of Menlo Park that want to silence disagreement and they got the big one.
Next up was billionaire “populist” and Trump-loving Fox News host Steve Hilton. He acknowledged that Twitter (like Facebook, which also removed Trump’s account) are private companies but he accused them of acting out of politics. Hilton, like the others, didn’t utter a peep of concern about potential violence on Inauguration Day. Apparently, keeping conservatism and Republican politics safe is more important than keeping Americans safe.
HILTON: They’ve clearly made a decision to weigh in on one side of the political argument. They are now clearly and uambiguously saying they are supporting the Democrats. They are anti-conservative, anti-Republican. …
In a way, the more disturbing story today, I think, is that Apple is saying to Parler, which is an alternative to Twitter that people can use, conservatives can use – Apple is saying to Parler we’re going to kick you off unless you do what we want in terms of censoring conservatives. Now that is really frightening.
For the record, I think Hilton makes an important point about big tech's outsized and monopolistic control. But the use of social media to incite and plan domestic terrorism must be given urgent consideration. Also, aren’t these the folks who hate regulations on companies? By the way, Apple did remove Parler from its App Store this evening, as Google did yesterday, because, The New York Times reported, "The companies both said that Parler had not sufficiently policed the conversation on its app, allowing too many posts that encouraged violence and crime."
The third guest was Victor Davis Hanson, the Tucker Carlson pal who tried to bolster Carlson’s claim that white supremacy is a hoax.
HANSON: I think there’s a reign of fear going on, Martha. I think people in Twitter and Facebook understand that with the Senate and the House and the presidency and the hard left in control, they want to preempt that danger and they want to make, they want to have a deal with the powers that be. They’re afraid the left is going to be angry at them that they even let Trump express himself. …
There’s no systematic policy here and it’s not going to stand because this sort of fervor that we’re in now, a Salem witch trial mentality to destroy people, to ask senators to quit, to cancel book contracts, there’s a McCarthy-esque scary smell to it all and I think that people need to wake up and take a deep breath and say do we really want to turn the United States into Salem, Massachusetts? Because that’s where we’re going.
You can watch the right-wing whining below, from the January 8, 2021 The Story with Martha MacCallum.
Hilton suggests that Twitter’s termination of Trump’s account is equivalent to silencing every single conservative (just after Kirk mentioning that he’s still on Twitter). And after he acknowledges that Twitter & Facebook are private companies and can do what they want, Hilton reverts back to talking about “censorship”.
Hanson’s public utilities argument conveniently glosses over the right-wing record on broadcast media, notably when the end of the fairness doctrine invited broadcasters to “censor” to their hearts’ content. Where was Hanson’s opposition to concentrated power when conservatives cheered the Citizens United decision?
McCallum’s one, feeble gesture towards journalistic fairness (re: Trump’s frittering away the last two months) lacked follow up after Hilton totally ignored it.
What’s that? You won’t let me on your channel?
Well — that’s censorship! /s Why do you hate the first amendment?
I swear, these guys wouldn’t know hypocrisy if it looked at them in their own mirrors …