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.
Ugh. The 6th installment of the “Twitter Files,” this one tweeted out by Matt Taibbi (your host just had to copy and paste 31 damn tweets together to be readable, always what I love doing before a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. This might have something to do with why I just spilled orange juice on my modem…You’re welcome.). It is the most alarming of the installments so far. I can’t wait to read how the Washington Post and the other complicity proto-totalitarians in the news media try to spin this one as a “nothingburger.” It is a given that the main methodolgy will involve simply not reporting on it, as has been the primary response to the earlier “Twitter Files” revelations via substack’s rebel journalists. Let’s see: I haven’t checked today’s digital Times yet: Any mention?….
The only mentions of Twitter involve Musk’s suspension of journalists (BAD Musk!) discussed here yesterday. The embargo on the Twitter revelations are at least as sinister and outrageous as the Hunter Biden laptop media/social media conspiracy; I confess that I’m surprised at the audacity of the Times and the rest (almost everyone but Fox News and the New York Post, and the conservative websites. Well, the ethics blogs, of course)
A few observations before you commence your assignment as an informed citizen:
Musk cagily backtracked on the suspensions using the “poll” devise he employed to justify restoring Trump’s tweeting privileges. He was facing threats by the EU (it was going to be expensive and time-consuming to tell the Europeans “bite me,” though that’s what they deserved and it may have occured to him that Ethics Alarms was right: the banning of so many progressive reporters looked like payback even if it were justifiable. Musk can’t run Twitter by poll, though, if he is truly devoted to promoting free and open public discourse.
The past seven years (or more) make the conclusion unavoidable that the FBI is untrustworthy, partisan, corrupt,dangerous, and a threat to undermine the Republic. That is not a news that easy to process or accept, but it can’t be ignored or shrugged off any more.
In a complete reversal of positions from what was routine in my youth, Republicans are targeting the FBI for criticism and investigation while Democrats appear to be saying by their silence, “What’s the big deal?” The Republican House Judiciary Committee account tweeted, “Does anyone still trust the FBI?” (“republicans pounce!”) Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo), speculated that the FBI’s alleged interactions with Twitter could suggest they were working with Google and Facebook as well. Gee, yah think?
Again, because it can’t be over-stated, the mainstream media is deliberately trying to keep the public in the dark about all of it.
But the major effect of this seems to be only the further erosion of public trust in the news media. The truth is out there, as Mulder and Scully would say, and it’s sinking in. The December Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll finds that nearly two-thirds of voters believe Twitter shadow-banned users and engaged in political censorship during the 2020 election. Seventy percent of voters want new national laws protecting users from corporate censorship.
What is described below is, in fact, the U.S. government violating the First Amendment by proxy:
Twitter (aka Elon Musk) suspended the accounts of journalists from CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post and other news sources yesterday, without warning and initially without giving any explanation.
Later last night, Musk tweeted, “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”
This morning, however, there was still confusion over whether all of those suspended had engaged in doxxing.
I’ve never seen this before: the Ethics Alarms Ethics Hero of the Year making an Ethics Dunce of himself the same month I awarded him the honor. Depressing. Not entirely surprising in Elon Musk’s case, but depressing.
In the catalyzing development, Kanje West (or “Ye”) has set out to also make Ethics Alarms look foolish by awarding Donald Trump its 2022 “Asshole of the Year” award. West, who is disqualified from that distinction because he is clearly mentally ill, decided to visit Alex Jones and babble on about how much he liked Hitler, who had done some “good things.” Being roundly condemned for this revolting opinion wasn’t enough for the allegedly genius rapper: he then posted the design above on his recently restored Twitter account, a Nazi swastika entwined with the Star of Israel.
Quick like a bunny, Musk tweeted,
“I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”
I assume that Musk’s reaction was impulsive, because he constantly is impulsive. However, he had stated that he is a free-speech absolutist within reasonable parameters, and condemned the arbitrary, left-biased moderation policies of the previous Twitter regime. He did not “try his best”; Musk’s principles broke down the first time they were seriously challenged. West did not violate the rule against incitement to violence; in fact, I would not be surprised if he posted the ambiguous symbol to see if Musk could control himself. Continue reading →
Rick Wilson is the disgraced Republican operative who helped fund the corrupt Lincoln Project to undermine President Trump. His recent self-indicting tweet was another product of his Trump Derangement once Trump’s purely partisan banishment from Twitter was ended by its new CEO, Elon Musk. The argument that it does anything but constrict public discourse to block a former President and current political leader from using a social media platform is untenable on its face. Wilson’s amusing unmasking, however, was small potatoes compared to how the entire resistance/Democratic Party/mainstream media alliance has donned neon-blinking signs reading: “I’m a totalitarian and proud of it!” on their heads.
The tantrums over the prospect of an even playing field on Twitter have been voluminous, indeed too many to catalogue. The “clear and present danger”: conservatives, Republicans and objective critics of the Left’s agenda, policies and protected tribes will now have the same opportunity to engage on Twitter as their esteemed opponents have had for years. This is, we are being told in various levels of hysteria, a threat to democracy. After all, criticism of the Left’s pets and pet projects is hate speech; criticism by the Left of those conservative fascists is just warning the public. Accurate assertions that the Left finds inconvenient are “misinformation”—you know, like Hunter Biden’s laptop—while fake news and false assertions that demonize Republicans and conservatives are legitimate political speech.
I can’t decide whether it is completely predictable that the richest man in the world has a 5th grader’s comprehension of ethics and integrity of principles, or whether it should alarm us all. I do know that those of us hoping that Musk could transform Twitter from the censorious, leftist propaganda organ that it has become into a fair and valuable platform for public discourse are probably going to be disappointed.
Musksaid on Twitter yesterday that he was reinstating former President Donald J. Trump to the platform, and poof!, Trump was back on the site. That’s fine: Musk should have reinstated him immediately as soon as he had the metaphorical reins of Twitter in hand. His banning in 2021 was both partisan and political; as the immediate former President, Trump’s ability to express his opinions and positions on the most used social media platform was essential to the national dialogue, regardless of what he had to say, or how obnoxiously he might say it. The principles that supposedly led Musk to spend billions of dollars buying Twitter demanded that Trump be reinstated.
But what did Musk do? He put the matter up for a vote on Twitter. How does that compute, as the robot on “Lost in Space” might say? Allowing a group to vote to decide whether an individual gets to speak or not is the epitome of censorship. Stifling free expression by those who are unpopular or who have unpopular opinions is the antithesis of the First Amendment. Doesn’t Musk understand that? Apparently not, or, perhaps more likely, he does understand it to the extent he has thought about it in his brilliant but weirdly wired brain, but doesn’t care. The vote was good publicity. The vote would get headlines. The vote would attract new accounts. Principles, shminciples; ethics, shmethics. I own this place and I’ll do what I want.
That’s basically the Donald Trump approach to ethics. Great.
You might well ask, “Who the hell is Andrew Wortman?” Fair enough, and I have no idea. He describes himself on Twitter as “Activist. Super-Followable. Gay AF. Dems are pro-U.S. The GOP despises America…. #BlackLivesMatter #ExpandTheCourt” which tells me all I need to know, but he has 186 THOUSAND followers on Twitter.
This is one of the realities that convinces me that I am a miserable failure.
This guy equates not getting a free lunch at one’s workplace with “starving.” He is an epitome of leftist delusion…and he has 186,000 followers. In addition to making me realize that I am a miserable failure, his tweet also reminds me that I never chose to work for a properly ethical, humanitarian, generous, caring employer. Not one of them provided free lunches on a regular basis, and I just accepted it, like a submissive prole.
Even in my current job there’s no free lunch—and it’s my own company!
The legal ethics world is all in a fluster over a recent controversy involving Elon Musk, the world’s richest man. This means that readers at Ethics Alarms should be flustering too.
This is the story: An SEC attorney had interviewed Musk during the agency’s investigation of the Tesla CEO’s 2018 tweet claiming to have secured funding to potentially take the electric-vehicle maker private. The claim proved to be false, resulting in a settlement that required Musk to resign and also to pay 20 million dollars in fines. In 2019, Musk’s personal lawyer called the managing partner at Cooley, LLP, and demanded that the firm fire the SEC lawyer, who had left the agency to become as associate at the large firm that handles Tesla’s business. The targeted lawyer had no connection to Tesla’s legal work at the firm; the sole reason for the demand was revenge. Musk wanted him to lose his job because he was angry about their interaction at the SEC. Continue reading →
Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, a prominent critic of the Wuhan virus lockdowns, submitted his booklet, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns” for sale on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing site, where he has had other works published. Ten minutes after he tweeted that his manuscript had been submitted, he added, “I can’t believe it. They censored it,” to this message: