Just days after YouTube belatedly joined other social media outlets in banning content deemed too extreme for polite society — which in this case includes videos from white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and school shooting conspiracy theorists — President Trump renewed his calls to loosen the restrictions placed on what he calls “Conservative Voices” on his favored platform Twitter.
Twitter should let the banned Conservative Voices back onto their platform, without restriction. It’s called Freedom of Speech, remember. You are making a Giant Mistake!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2019
Perhaps with this particular president, it is too much to expect to have him understand the nuances of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which he swore to preserve, protect and defend.
Otherwise, he would surely be aware that the freedom of speech that the amendment ensures applies to government interference in the rights of citizens to express their opinions publicly and not to the ability of private companies to police their platforms for offensive and malicious content from people who have violated their agreed-to terms of service.
In other words, it protects the media — whether the traditional outlets like newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio or the internet-based social media sites — from having government officials like President Trump tell them what they can and cannot publish, but doesn’t require them to publish anything sent their way, no matter how socially destructive.
The accounts banned by Twitter that Trump is attempting to get restored belong to people like Alex Jones and his for-profit hate-mongering organization Infowars which has seen its business model of selling overpriced supplements to its gullible audience negatively affected by its loss of distribution on social media — despite the fact that its heinous, fear-based content is still readily available on its own website as the First Amendment allows.
Trump’s advocacy for the ability of right-wing extremists to reach a wider audience through social media is both a pandering to the most deplorable segment of his dwindling base and an attempt to preserve the social media environment that allowed his own fear-mongering propaganda to take root — with the help of covert foreign assistance according to Volume One of the Mueller report — and helped land him in the White House.
Trump has been planning this line of attack for some time, at least since mid-May when he published an online appeal to his base to send him their stories of their being censored by Facebook, Twitter, and other social media giants.
While thinly masqueraded as an appeal for “Free Speech,” the president’s latest tweet is merely more of Trump acting out of his own self-interest, the only motivation that ever really drives his actions.
What he labels “Conservative Voices” in his own idiosyncratic rules of capitalization, most sane observers would call purveyors of hate, divisiveness, and malicious falsehoods, many of which have been proven to be automated Russian bots designed to undermine American social unity.
Oddly, while Trump calls for freedom of the press for the most harmful voices in public discourse, he is simultaneously attempting to silence the traditional media that reports actual facts, particularly those that uncover the hidden scandals of his administration.
Trump’s latest tweet scolding social media companies for ridding their platforms of hate speech merely demonstrates why he is such a danger to our democracy and must be removed from office as soon as possible.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.