Issue I: The Banned Subreddit. Above you see a posted photo of some sick fan-girls’s shrine to University of Idaho student massacre suspect Bryan Kohberger. On the massive social media site Reddit, a “subreddit” titled “Brynation” emerged after Kohberger’s arrest late last year for the murders of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The Reddit group, which included women professing to be infatuated with the accused killer as well as amateur sleuths who maintained that he was innocent, had grown to more than 500 members before it was banned from the platform for allegedly violating Reddit’s Moderator Code of Conduct. As is typical with such social media bans, Reddit didn’t specify the exact offense.
Reddit can ban whatever and whoever it chooses; the question is when it is ethical to do so. There are too many arguably sick subreddits to list, including many involving fetishes, which the common phenomenon of women being smitten by murderers certainly is. At this point, Bryan Kohberger is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. I just heard an “expert” opine that social media outlets have an “obligation” to control and minimize “hate speech” on their platforms, which he defined as speech that could provoke violence or “harm” individuals, and cited Reddit’s action as an example of responsible social media management. The Fox News interviewer just nodded like one of those plastic dogs people used to put in the rear windows of their cars.
How is chatting online about an accused murderer “hate speech”? The expert’s fatuous (but popular!) position demonstrates exactly what’s unethical about the anti-“hate speech” movement on the Left: the term literally can mean any speech the censors don’t like, disagree with, or find “icky.” The participants in the banned subreddit were not doing anything likely to result in violence: has anyone ever become a serial killer to be more attractive to women? Thinking isn’t dangerous; talking on line about one’s thoughts isn’t dangerous either, or unethical.
In a purported democracy, the culture should lean hard in the direction of free expression, with all expression given a strong presumption of legitimacy. People like Fox’s “expert” do the opposite, and are working to shift our culture toward concepts of GoodThink and BadThink, with the distinctions being dictated by powerful corporations, Big Tech, social media, the news media, educational institutions and, of course, the government.
Bill Clinton was subjected to the grossest jokes. Donald Trump was treated the most disrespectfully. But Joe Biden has triggered the most below-the-belt verbal tactics yet, beginning with the childish “Let’s Go Brandon!” jeer. This might be worse; I’m not sure. I have to take a shower first.
Greg Price, the senior digital strategist at XStrategies LLC, posted a video of diversity White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre making a fool of herself, as she does virtually every time she appears. Price, clever 7th grader that he apparently is, changed his Twitter handle to “Joe Biden Showered With His Daughter” in the posting, setting a trap that White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates walked right into. Bates retweeted Price’s tweet as he quoted Karine’s lame “whataboutism”‘” retort to criticism of Pete Buttigieg’s characteristic negligent and lazy handling of the Palestine, Ohio train derailment. (It’s not the issue in this post, but Trump’s DOT head never oversaw a derailment that appeared to be poisoning a community in its aftermath.) So Bates, one of Joe’s loyal paid liars, posted this on Twitter…
….thus further spreading the unsubstantiated tale that the once-nicknamed Creepy Joe showered with his daughter, as her abandoned diary seemed to claim.
Now all the right-side websites are snorting and sniggering like the jerks who affixed the “Kick me!” sign to George McFly.
Yes, I know. Democrats, progressives and the resistance permanently lowered the previous standards for acceptable Presidential mockery and hate. I agree: Ethics Alarms warned about how this was going to harm a lot more than Donald Trump.
That doesn’t make it any more ethical.
I’m so old, I remember this thing they used to call “The Golden Rule”….
An extensive and expensive investigation held by anti-Trump-biased lawyers found otherwise, and
This kind of claim regarding a stolen election has been called “baseless” by the mainstream media and Democrats as a virtual mantra for more than two years, and is routinely categorized as “misinformation.”
Tribe, as a law professor, is presumed to know what evidence is, but there is no “evidence” of what Tribe claims, and the Mueller Report specifically stated so, as painful as it must have been.
Tribe’s reputation-scarring delusions, however, are confirmation for the Trump Deranged, who think, for example, this meme by Occupy Democrats is profound: Continue reading →
I posted that idiotic thing above on Mark Zuckerberg’s Monster after reading that the Fake Australia conspiracy was a “thing” among flat-earth types—you know, morons. Although I yield to no one in the strength of my conviction that stupidity lies wide, long and deep upon this nation (see today’s earlier post), there must be limits, so I shared it with my alleged Facebook friends with the question, “Is it possible that some people really believe this?” while adding that my sister honeymooned in Australia, or at least I thought she did. Facebook promptly slapped this on my post and took it down.
The British political commentary magazine “The Spectator” has published a nearly1400 word explanation for why the cover above was rejected for a Facebook advertisement (an “advert” in Brit-talk) as not complying with the platform’s policies, while these covers…
Strangely, many of the same people who are claiming that democracy is hanging by a thread or two are also trying to fray a rather obvious thread, the right to free expression and free speech. Since that First Amendment thingy is a bear, they have to find ways around it that will stifle ideas, opinions and arguments that interfere with the “greater good”.”” (as they see it, natch). Or pretend the First Amendment “isn’t what it is” (#64).
Kendra Licariwas arrested this month and faces up to ten years in prison. In December of 2021, Licari informed police that her daughter and her boyfriend were being harassed, bullied and stalked online. Her daughter, she told them, was frightened and traumatized. Kendra and the boyfriend’s mother, she said, were working together to find the person responsible for the cyberbullying.
Police investigated, and discovered who was making Licari’s daughter’s life miserable. It was her own mother.
The investigators found that Kendra Licari had begun harassing her daughter online in early 2021, sending anonymous threats and insulting messages while pretending to be another high school girl. Though Mom tried to conceal her real identity, but FBI cyber-experts traced the messages to Licari’s IP address.
The last week has demonstrated clearly, I think we can all agree, that 1) there is an urgent need for Twitter to be de-politicized, stripped of partisan censorship, and become a trustworthy platform for the unfettered distribution of news, information and opinion to the public, and 2) Elon Musk is too much of a loose cannon to be the manager of Twitter’s reform.
Yesterday almost qualified as a meltdown, or a tantrum, or something. Maybe a joke. Who knows with him? He teased his withdrawal from the daily management of the reeling social media giant. He hinted that the company was teetering on bankruptcy. He put his continued tenure as CEO up for a vote, pledging to abide by the results.
Chaos. Musk is quite a bit like Donald Trump, which shouldn’t be surprising: the successful entrepreneur/ CEO/ autocrat/narcissist is a well-understood personality type, and management by chaos is a management style that can be very effective for the short term in a private company (but not the U.S. government). I worked for a chaos manager for seven years, and he was brilliant at it, but I decided then and there that I could never operate that way. It is hard on subordinates, employees and stake-holders; only the chaotic manager enjoys the pressure. It is a non-Golden Rule management style that relies entirely on utilitarianism as its ethical justification. Yes, the methods causes breakdowns, anxiety and constant crisis, but if it “works,” it’s worth the pain. That’s what Musk has been doing.
This week, three Democratic members of the House, Adam Schiff, André Carson, Kathy Castor, and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, sent a letter on Congressional stationery to Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, urging, pushing and pressuring his company (Meta is the re-branded Facebook parent) to continue to block former President Donald Trump from communicating his opinions, positions and thoughts. The entire letter’s text is below.
It is a smoking gun. Sure, the letter isn’t exactly official, and yes, the four Democrats do not say they speak for Congress as a whole, and yes, it isn’t technically a First Amendment violation, because there is no law involved, and the signers of the letter have no immediate power to make Meta do anything. The letter however, carries an intrinsic veiled threat, and its message is clear: “We can’t censor Trump, so we want you do do it for us.” That is a disgusting violation of the spirit and intent of the First Amendment, making it shockingly clear once again how little respect this corrupted party has for basic individual rights, and how far it is tilting in the direction of totalitarianism. I’m anticipating the sound of a large BOOM emanating from downtown D.C. when Professor Turley reads the letter; presumably he will find it as disturbing as I do. Imagine a similar letter to a major network urging it not to cover the speeches of a prominent critic of Democratic policies, and to ban him from being interviewed as well. I see no substantive difference.
(Just to be clear: “election denial” is protected speech, and Democrats have engaged in it frequently and freely for 20 years.)
The letter follows…It is addressed to Nicholas Clegg President, Global Affairs Meta,1 Hacker WayMenlo Park, California, and begins, ” To Mr. Clegg”:
Keep it up, guys. With every effort to deny that what happened was what happened, the corrupted U.S. journalists and their employers erode public trust in their profession further, and with it their power. Eventually, there will be a breaking point and an ugly reckoning. Good. They have been asking for it. Yeah, keep up the gaslighting and denial. The fools really think they can bury the story. Even at Memeorandum, which is usually an objective news aggregator, the tweeted revelations by Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi are invisible. (Top story as I write this: a soccer reporter has died.) Very disappointing: I thought they were better than this. Still, the site’s bias is worth knowing about. I will not trust it as I have in the past.
Here’s a smoking gun: look at the transcript of an NPR interview with Newt Gingrich. Newt is unethical slime, but he’s very intelligent unethical slime, and when his personal agendas don’t interfere with his analysis, he is worth listening to. (I learned more in a private two hour seminar with young Newt when he was a Congressman than I learned in many full Government courses at Harvard.) Pay special attention to the NPR interviewer’s refusal to deal with reality that implicates NPR: