Was someone mean to you on Twitter? The White House wants to know about it. As of Wednesday, a new tool on the White House website allows visitors to report suspected "political bias" from social media companies. "Too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear 'violations' of user policies," the site says.
The tool only accepts complaints from U.S. citizens, although there is no requirement that complaint filers verify their identities. It asks users to list "what social media platform(s) took action against your account," what action was taken, links to tweets that triggered action, and screenshots of any messages from the platform.
The White House is portraying the initiative as an effort to defend free speech.
Its tempting to merely laugh at this sort of absurdity, to gawk at the blubbering fools who spent years ranting about easily-triggered liberal "snowflakes" only to literally make it a federal matter when their Facebook account gets suspended. And sure, the self-owning MAGAservative chorus of "No one liked my tweet, I must be shadowbanned!" is a special delicacy.
But these collective delusions are now being used by preening, authoritarian asshats—from Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) to members of the Trump administration itself—to drum up support for policies that take away Americans' speech rights.
Right now, too many Republicans want us to think it's a First Amendment violation for a private company to dictate the terms of service on a private platform it owns, but not for the federal government to dictate what individuals can and cannot say on those platforms or to punish private companies that don't conform to some Congress-created speech code.
I know it's clichéd and melodramatic to make 1984 references, but this is some really serious doublethink.
The saddest part is that so many Republicans are proving themselves willing to go along with it, out of ignorance or convenience or both. They'll throw away the whole open internet, their own First Amendment freedoms, and everyone else's because, by golly, they want those anti-speech snowflakes on the left to see conservatives' sick AOC memes in their timelines one way or other.
Jackson County, Missouri, jail guards joked that an inmate just had "jail-litus" and refused to get her help when she complained of chest and leg pain. The woman, ReGina Thurman, died of a torn aorta not long thereafter. They didn't even call in emergency paramedics until she had no pulse.
Her family is now suing, claiming the staff showed "reckless or callous indifference toward ReGina Thurman's health and safety."
A proposed ban on fur sales in New York City is pitting city council members and animal rights advocates against black ministers, Hasidic rabbis, and longtime garment manufacturers.
"City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants to kill 7,000 local jobs by legislating his private morality into law—and he'll likely succeed, because the cultural elite agrees," says the New York Post editorial board. "This, when a New York ban won't remotely stop the fur trade, a $33 billion industry worldwide. Luxury buyers can go elsewhere, or use the internet. If Johnson & Co. really think this is progressive, then progressivism isn't about protecting the little people, but only a matter of self-satisfied posturing."
- Missouri just passed a bill to ban abortion after eight weeks. It also created a task force on task forces:
Rep. Jon Carpenter's amendment to create a task force on task forces passes with a voice vote. pic.twitter.com/EMNPKySXRo
— Benjamin D. Peters (@BenjaminDPeters) May 15, 2019
- Televangelist Pat Robertson said Alabama's abortion ban is "too extreme."
- With the Equality Act, Democrats want to redefine sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is officially in the Democratic presidential running.
- Ron Paul explains why "the government has no business telling cancer victims where they can and cannot go to receive life-saving treatment."
- The Kamala Harris campaign worries that talk of her as Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate is diminishing her prospects as a presidential candidate.
- Biden is not polling well with millennials.
- A D.C. apartment-building battle is "a case study in what happens when you try to build more housing in affluent neighborhoods."
- The National Labor Relations Board issues a memorandum reiterating that Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees. The memo "concurs with a letter the Labor Department released last month that classified gig economy workers similarly," notes Reason's Billy Binion.
Correction: Josh Hawley is a U.S. senator, not a U.S. Rep. This post has been updated to reflect that.