How to Save Twitter and Democracy

Mark Weinstein, founder of Twitter-competitor MeWe, wrote a Sunday Wall Street Journal op-ed on this subject; he suggested a number of “fixes” that Twitter owner Elon Musk should implement to save Twitter—and Weinstein’s conception of “democracy.” These are:

…immediately create an advertiser content-preference system. Allow advertisers to select the tenor and topical content that their ads are associated with….

Only if Twitter users can have access to the system and to which advertisers sign up for which censorship. That way, we can block the ads from Woke or otherwise too thin-skinned advertisers. They will have demonstrated that their products are too fragile for actual usefulness.

Censorship

Elon Musk is, among other things with Twitter, taking steps to reduce or eliminate “accounts” that impersonate real persons without attribution.

[Musk] said Sunday that impersonating accounts will be permanently suspended unless they are specified as parody.

And yet, there are those on the Left who object to honesty in tweeting.

Jessie Hill, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, said Monday that by banning accounts that make fun of him, Mr Musk could have a chilling effect on speech on Twitter.

It’s a Start

Congressman Andrew Clyde (R, GA) has legislation he intends to introduce that would bar

federal officials from collaborating with Big Tech to censor Americans’ voices and create some legal recourse for those harmed by free speech infringement.

Explicitly, Clyde said,

It would also give an opportunity for those people who have been harmed by it to take legal action[.]

It’s a promising start, but I suggest a couple of fillips. One is to explicitly bar the agencies and departments of which those officials are a part from spending any money on the collaboration.

Progressive-Democratic Party Censorship

There is a bill, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, wending its way through the Senate that’s intended to let local news outlets band together to get enough scale to negotiate with Big Tech social media on a less uneven footing for payment from those outlets for their use of content that is taken by those social media and republished.

Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) proposed an amendment that would plainly and explicitly prohibit[] payment negotiations from including discussion of content moderationi.e., that would bar Big Tech from engaging in its penchant for censorship during payment negotiations. Cruz’ amendment wouldn’t even ban content moderation altogether, just during those content payment talks.

“every company should be free to support what they want”

That’s part of the typical response of Floridians regarding Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) veto of the Tampa Bay Rays’ training facility being built with taxpayer money, at least as reported by Fox News.

After vetoing the funding, DeSantis said Friday that he doesn’t “support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums” and that “it’s inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation.”

Most Floridians agree with the first part of DeSantis’ statement that taxpayer money shouldn’t be spent on a private sports facility.  Many—most?—disagree with the last part.

Disinformation

…about his new Truth Division Disinformation Governance Board.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said “there’s no question” he could have more effectively communicated the purpose of his newly-created “disinformation” board….

Mayorkas also said that his

Disinformation Governance Board [is] to combat online disinformation….

Of course, it is. And it’s the Biden-Harris administration personnel and Mayorkas who will decide what is truth and what is fiction and who will dictate via that Truther Board what we American citizens will be permitted to hear, and it’s the Biden-Harris administration personnel and Mayorkas who will tell us how to evaluate what their Board allows to be passed.

Two Examples of Progressive-Democrats’ Assault on Free Speech

California doesn’t want anyone to contradict the State’s preferred narrative regarding the Wuhan Virus—not even medical experts.

Disagreement with the “contemporary scientific consensus” on COVID-19 issues could be deemed “unprofessional conduct” for California doctors.

The bill, which was cowritten by five other California Assembly and Senate members, goes beyond regulating how California doctors can treat their own patients. It opens their statements about COVID—public or private—to review by the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, with possible sanctions to follow.

The Lady [sic] Demonstrates Her Critics’ Point

University of California, Berkeley’s, Associate Director for its Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership Genevieve Macfarlane Smith succeeded in this with her letter in The Wall Street Journal‘s Letters section last Thursday. Smith began by complaining

Lawrence Krauss writes, “I have a hard time understanding how people can be so hurt by the use of some words and names.”

Then she proceeded to make Krauss’ point for him.

Take “illegal alien”: This term brands a person “illegal” and implies they’re not human but “alien.” Beyond dehumanizing, the term is imprecise: It implies criminality, but lacking immigration documents is a civil, not criminal, offense.

Censorship in New York State

Now the wonders of the New York State Senate want to ban, formally by statute, speech of which they disapprove.

A New York Senate bill if passed would criminalize the promotion of content that “includes a false statement of fact or fraudulent medical theory that is likely to endanger the safety or health of the public.”

This is rank censorship. Whose definition of “likely?” Whose definition of “fraudulent theory?”

Here are just a few items that are threatened by this censorship:

  • Advertising
  • Political ads/speech
  • Satire
  • Comedy
  • Ridicule
  • Exaggeration for effect
  • Irony

Government Subsidies for Local Newspapers

Dean Ridings, CEO of an organization self-absorbedly called America’s Newspapers, thinks it’s a terrific idea that the Federal government (presumably, government at any level) should…subsidize…local newspapers.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will provide the local news industry time to continue its transition to a more digital future and to work out a better arrangement, either through legislation or other means, to be paid when Google and Facebook use its content. It is not a permanent handout.

It is not a permanent handout. That’s just risible; Ridings knows better. It would be both a handout and permanent.