Further Ethics Observations On “The Twitter Files”

1. Wow. The mainstream media is really determined to die on this hill. It really believes that if it pretends that there is nothing sinister, undemocratic or dangerous about how a bunch of snotty, self-empowered progressives conspired—and succeeded!–to manipulate public opinion, access to information and public discourse to advance a partisan agenda, eventually everyone will forget about it as if it didn’t happen. This is exactly the approach it took with the Hunter Biden laptop story in the first place, and clearly, it has learned nothing and changed nothing. Bury, deny, and “It isn’t what it is” are still the tactics of choice. And they are certain that the public is, most of it anyway, lazy, apathetic, gullible and stupid.

That, they may be right about.

2. However, this unforgivable attempt to deny an important news event indicts the media as much as the Twitter files indict Twitter. I find it impossible to believe the virtually unanimous reaction to this story hasn’t been coordinated. 3. The fifth in the series of twitterfied documents showing how biased, corrupt and dishonest the platform was before and after the 2020 election dropped yesterday. (The Ethics Alarms coverage is here). The New York Times has nothing about it today, following the pattern it has established all week. The Washington Post has one Twitter story, an example of the general MSM approach: attack Musk, the messenger. The anti-democracy staffer and executives responsible are victims. Here’s the Post’s story: “Twitter dissolves Trust and Safety Council: Meanwhile, a former top Twitter official fled his home amid attacks following Musk tweets.”

The “Twitter files” so far have amply demonstrated that the “Trust and Safety Council” was an Orwellian-named, untrustworthy censorship operation, so the headline is deliberately misleading, suggesting, intentionally, that Musk is adverse to “trust” and “safety.”  The second half of the headline follows progressive cant that truth can be dangerous. Mean old Musk and the recent revelations showed that the “official” was a committed pro-progressive, Trump-Deranged censor. How people react to news is not the responsibility of the news. Commenting on the same Post peace, Ann Althouse properly asks, “Where did WaPo support its assertion that ‘Elon Musk is unraveling years of work and institutions created to make the social network safer and more civil’?  Answer: it doesn’t. The whole article is just a deflection, characterizing the tearing down of a structure rotten to its foundation as a tragedy.

4. Slate’s approach is outright Jumbo-esque denial. Responding to the 4th installment about how non-compliant (as in “following the Left’s lead”) Twitter users were subjected to various tactics designed to minimize their readers and influence, often without informing those so targeted, this article of signature significance brays, “Shadow-banning? What shadow-banning?” Yet the evidence is very clear: it amounted to a secret blacklist. It really is remarkable in its perfidy. “Depending on whom you ask, the “Twitter Files” have been either a total flop or a vindication.” Yeah, if you ask  progressive propagandists who desperately want to deny social media’s complicity with them in rigging the 2020 election, they’ll say …

But anyone who is objective, who has been paying attention, and possesses any integrity at all knows otherwise.

5. I took the time, and it was boring time, to assemble the five tweet streams into readable form. Doing so would seem to be the minimum a responsible news media publication  should do for its readers. Almost none of them have. Conclusion: they don’t want the public reading the Twitter files.

6. Second most notable item from the latest installment, showing how Twitter had no justification for banning the sitting U.S. President and did it anyway: One employee wrote during the debate, “Maybe because I am from China I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation.”

7. The most significant line, however, and the one I hope resonates, was this comment by an employee after Trump was banned:  “For the longest time, Twitter’s stance was that we aren’t the arbiter of truth, which I respected but never gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.” 

Yes, our elections and increasingly futile attempts at responsible self-governance are being perverted by the “feelings” of a cadre of unelected, anonymous Machiavellian hacks. And the media’s agreed-upon analysis is: “So what? We agree with them.”

34 thoughts on “Further Ethics Observations On “The Twitter Files”

  1. The last paragraph is the key. This is what’s happened to every aspect of contemporary American culture: the Academy, the legal and medical professions, the military, the media, corporate America. The inmates are running the asylum. Why anyone has deferred to all these recent college indoctrinated brats is beyond me.

    • The answer to that is easy:
      First, think of social media as “a lynch mob in every pocket” and then think of the Bigotry Accusation, the Scarlet letter and/or blasphemy/heresy charge of our age.
      Then imagine yourself a successful middle-aged college prez or professor, or the leader of a cultural institution like the Guggenheim (whose boss was recently defenstrated this way), with a solid 6-figure income plus benefits and golden parachute, paying for that second home or your kid’s education. Every morning you wake up in terror—did that black girl I forgot to say Hi to decide to “call me out”? was my statement about George Floyd properly worded?—because if some angry teen somewhere decides you’ve been insufficiently deferential to the proper dogma or intersectional “lived experience”, they can and will assemble a likeminded mob to destroy you.
      This explains our societywide outbreak of mass cowardice and compliance: anyone in any position of authority now has a social-media target on their back, and they know their choice is to either obey and comply or experience social death and the loss of jobs and status they’ve worked their entire adult lives to achieve.

      • I saw this happen at my college where a black graduate “called out” the college president for not saying in his communication to the school and alumni, etc. “Black Lives Matter,” in those very words. She hectored him until he did so. Revolting. And then, he gave the woman the job as head of the alumni association! And I’m also sure this woman was a scholarship student at the college when she attended. She’s also evidently the single mother of a daughter who is currently attending the college, doubtless on scholarship, as the sticker price is north of sixty thousand dollars per annum. I still say the college president was gutless and a traitor. I’m sure he could have kept the confidence of the board of trustees. Perhaps not the faculty. But in any event, being a gutless weenie is no way to go through life. These people are destroying the institutions they’ve been entrusted to run and preserve so they can save their “professional” skins. “But for Wales?”

        • Hey, I couldnt agree with you more, but at the same time I understand what the college prez did and why. Things like “principles” and “the future of my institution” are mostly vague abstractions, certainly not convertible into cash or food.
          The problem he faced is that not only has Social Justice handed yesterday’s “marginalized” a sharpened tool of revenge and personal destruction, but whoever is on that Board has to face the same calculus: what if the mob comes for them next? What if their statements are deemed insufficiently deferential or even “harmful”? It’s just safer to throw the next guy to the wolves, to save your skin another day.
          That’s life during a Cultural Revolution, it’s every man for himself and you better narc on your friend or neighbor first before he/she narcs on you.

          • My trustee friend is a private equity guy who’s given tons of dough to the college. He’s bullet proof, at least from the Bolsheviks. His only constituency is his investor pool. I’m certain all the other trustees are equally safe. I don’t understand why they don’t put a stake in the ground. Don’t they realize what’s been lost?

            • The only other points I can add are:
              There is the issue of psychology separate from $$, and firstly you’d have to be the kind of person who deeply values things like true tolerance and free expression to stand up for them, and also Social Justice comes with so much heavy moralizing and cultural conditioning, they have made most people believe that they are just standing up for the Oppressed and thus any opposition makes you an Oppressor.
              Also, I have a few friends who live inside the hothouse Brooklyn Blue Bubble, and when someone gets the stink of bigot or Trumpist on them, the blackballing doesn’t just hit them but includes spouses and children too. These zealots have no problem disinviting your child from every kids’ bday party etc if it means they can injure a heretic and score some virtue points.
              So my feeling is that the Cultural Revolution provides such intense pressure (on you, your future, your family, your reputation etc) that most people decide it’s better to obey than to fight, which is why the Woke win every battle.

              • My God, Rupert. Get the hell out of Brooklyn. There are other places to live in the country. You’re at ground zero, the nerve center of the enemy. You’re neighbors with Chuck Schumer and Amanda Marcotte and Jill Filipovic. Run away. There are entire states in the Union where people are normal.

          • That’s life during a Cultural Revolution, it’s every man for himself and you better narc on your friend or neighbor first before he/she narcs on you.

            No. The lesson of history is that the way to succeed is to go one better than that: start and lead your own lynch mob. Then the trick is spotting when the wind is changing in time, so you can stop riding the tiger and start condemning all those extremist lynch mobs.

      • Your comment made me think of the Twilight Zone episode where if you made the little boy (Billy Mummy) mad he would make you disappear or turn you into a Jack in the box clown.

        • yes 100%, we have handed over power to aggrieved and malevolent children who are happy to destroy you to get their way.
          I often think of this TZ ep to describe our zeitgeist, along w “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

          • I am reminded of the book “Education for Death: the Making of a Nazi” by Gregor Ziemer who lived in Nazi Germany for a time in the ’30s running the American School there (the book was adapted into a Disney propaganda cartoon during the war).

            Ziemer recounted a boy’s birthday party attended by his friends, including the boy’s Hitler Youth troop leader – a boy himself of about 14. The troop leader leader lectured his charge’s parents at the party because their son missed a meeting. The parents explained that their son had been sick. The troop leader then pointed out that their son was at school that day so he was certainly well enough to attend the meeting.

            Ziemer finished his narration with the awkward scene of indignant parents, mortified birthday son and snot-nosed teenager by noting, “The power of the State backs him up. And he knows it.”

            • There is a massive movie on the streaming channel Tubi called The Gamma People. The mad scientist inserts himself as the dictator of this Eastern European country and is using Gamma radiation to turn the populace into ghoulish henchmen (muscle) or little brown shirts (useful idiots).
              Very reminiscent of today’s world

  2. I think what’s becoming more and more transparently evident with Democratic Party politicians and their lapdog Pravda like media is that there has been, and still is, some sort of active collusion between the Democratic Party politicians and their left leaning media to control the narrative being presented to their hive mind. Evidence truly shows us what many of us have known since prior to 2016 that the ends justifies the means is now the primary construct of the Democratic Party, and the truth be damned and damn anyone speaking the truth.

    We have finally arrived in 1984…

  3. I like looking at all the advertisers that dumped Twitter when Musk took over. They were all aware of the vast child pornography problem on Twitter and that didn’t phase them. Musk allowing conservative voices did. So, child pornography and exploitation wasn’t a deal breaker for those companies, but free speech was.

    Coca-Cola, for example, was aware that their ads were running on Twitter profiles promoting or sharing child pornography. They even commented on that fact. They didn’t pull their ads from Twitter. When Musk took over and allowed more freedom of expression, they pulled their ads.

  4. That Washington Post headline is a masterpiece in selective word choice. Saying that Yoel Roth “fled his home amid attacks” conjures up the image of a mob assaulting the guy’s house with pitchforks and torches as he bolts out the back door. That’s pretty far from “he got some mean tweets directed at him”, which is closer to what really happened.

    • Ironic that former Twitter employees made their claims to the WaPo on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by (wait for it) Twitter mobs. I can only wonder how they came to fear such things on a trusted & safe platform that doxxed the creator of Libs of TikTok, or published the home addresses of conservative Justices of the Supreme Court.

  5. It gets worse. I don’t subscribe to the WaPo, but Professor Turley commented on a recent article that confirmed what’s been maligning my stomach. Last week, I was thinking Musk should beef up his personal security, maybe wear Kevlar. Tony Bobulinski may already be marked for death.
    I’m sorry I don’t know how to link in WordPress; you’ll have to cut & paste
    https://jonathanturley.org/2022/12/13/the-legion-of-democratic-doom-biden-operatives-plan-swat-force-on-hunter-biden-scandal/#more-197837

  6. If I might ask a few questions from members here who post on Twitter:

    1) Have the Terms of Service on Twitter changed?
    2) Has the moderation improved or declined?
    3) Are your Twitter feeds now flooded with racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic tweets?
    4) Do accounts that have been unbanned belong to people who are truly horrible and deserved to be banned in the first place? Or were the accounts banned because of dissenting political opinions?
    5) Are you or anyone you know being harassed on Twitter? Are there any consequences?

    • 1) Have the Terms of Service on Twitter changed?
      I don’t know because I haven’t been on Twitter very long.

      2) Has the moderation improved or declined?
      I haven’t noticed any problem with moderation and I’ve intentionally posted a lot of things since I recently got on Twitter that should trigger progressive social justice warriors.

      3) Are your Twitter feeds now flooded with racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic tweets?
      Mine aren’t. Of course no one reads my stuff or follows me, I’m obviously a pariah both on Twitter and my blog.

      4) Do accounts that have been unbanned belong to people who are truly horrible and deserved to be banned in the first place? Or were the accounts banned because of dissenting political opinions?
      I have no idea.

      5) Are you or anyone you know being harassed on Twitter? Are there any consequences?
      No one I know is being harassed on Twitter but I have no friends. 😦

    • In regards to question #1, I have no idea. Many apps have selective enforcement, and in the case of Twitter, the people in charge didn’t follow their own Terms of Service. In that respect, management adherence to the Terms of Service is much greater with Mr Musk’s acquisition.
      #2 is subjective. I find it to be more interesting than it was, perhaps the algorithm has been purged of blatant partisanship that I would have been on the wrong side of. I gained followers; instead of three, I now have at least fourteen.
      #3 No. What I see is more civility, not less.
      #4 It’s the latter. Perhaps the most cited example is that of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Tweet describing Israel as a cancer in western Asia that must be excised. It’s still up after four years and the Ayatollah didn’t get a warning, suspension, or ban.
      President Trump was permanently banned based upon everything he ever Tweeted; January 6th was the fig leaf that allowed them to permanently ban the sitting President of the United States.
      There were a few African leaders calling for bloodshed on Twitter. Some of those Tweets were deleted by Twitter, but no further actions were taken to suspend or ban their accounts.
      #5 No one I know personally. Fox News and elected Republicans are probably being attacked at the same rate as before. I don’t personally know my followers.
      But I don’t associate with Q Anon or support Trump becoming president until January of 2025 at the earliest or saying anything all that controversial. I criticize my Governor (California) for his illegal dealing with the PUC and orchestrating PG&E’s bankruptcy exit and for extending his emergency powers for COVID indefinitely.
      Regarding ballot measures to increase taxes, I’ll post a question about the last tax increase that was supposed to have fixed whatever they are saying needs to be fixed and needs a tax increase to pay for it.
      By now, you should be bored. I’m sure that if you searched for Nazi Enthusiasts on Twitter, there’d be a list. But if you don’t, your feed will very likely be free of Nazi Enthusiasts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.