No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Social Media and its Standards

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There’s an increasing focus being brought to bear on the connections between the US Administration and social media giants like Facebook and Twitter (with search giant Google likely in the mix as well).

But this sort of partisanship is not new, with the most egregious along with burying the Hunter Biden story in 2020 to help get Joe Elected. It’s actually worse than the “Fact Checking” industry that works with Facebook and company.

The thing is that this partisanship is merely an outgrowth of the progressive ideology that drives these outfits nowadays and shows in non-political cases:

As reported by The Daily Wire, Twitter in March 2021 moved to dismiss a child pornography lawsuit by claiming protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 is a section of Title 47 of the U.S. Code enacted as part of the Communications Decency Act, which generally provides immunity for website platforms with respect to third-party content.

As noted by Daily Wire, the victim, named “John Doe,” said the company refused to remove pornographic images and videos of him and another teen because the platform “didn’t find a violation of our policies.”

As reported in early 2021, in another lawsuit against Twitter, a young boy who was solicited and recruited for sex trafficking alleged that he was also forced to endure his own sexual abuse content on Twitter, even after attempts were made to remove the objectionable content.

That’s quite a different approach to the one they take to political and ideological causes they oppose; those they’re more than happy to remove from their platforms, citing how hosting might hurt them, or simply saying that it’s their right as a private company.

Then there was the case of YouTuber Shane Dawson – who boasted more than 20 million followers –

.. booted from the platform in 2020 after old videos surfaced in which he made racial slurs, portrayed racial stereotypes, and told jokes about pedophilia. In 2019, an audio snippet from his 2015 podcast Shane and Friends also emerged online, in which he joked about sexually abusing his cat.

After all of the above (and worse), Dawson triumphantly returned to YouTube in October 2021 after predicting he would, 16 months after being unceremoniously shown the door.

All of that filth led journalist Lara Logan – a woman who knows something about sexual assault – to say earlier this year that she’d had enough, even if it would hurt her journalist outreach to readers.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs convened on Wednesday to hear from current and former social media executives. The hearing was called to address the impact of social media on homeland security consistent with Biden administration talking points — you know, “white supremacist, conspiracy related, and anti-government violence’” That is a quote from committee chairman Gary Peters’s opening statement.

After watching this I’d say that Section 230 is headed for the scrapheap if the GOP win the Presidency, Senate and House in 2024 – and that’s assuming Facebook doesn’t start getting hit with 1st Amendment lawsuits on the now established basis that they’re acting as agents of the US Government.

Of course the old MSM are still at it with ever-lowering standards, with ABC News pushing its gun control agenda by interviewing the recently released John Hinckley Jr on the subject. Yes, you should know that name because he’s the guy who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, while also leaving another person with brain damage, confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, plus Secret Service agents suffering life-long gun shot injuries as well:

As a thought experiment, imagine if Fox News brought on someone who tried to assassinate Barack Obama so they could talk about how pro-life they now are. How do you think the press would react to that? The answer is that they’d lose their ever-loving minds, not only freaking out that the would-be assassin was given a platform, but they’d also use it as proof that the pro-life movement is poisoned.

Remember, this is the same liberal press that wants to expel anyone who has come within 50 feet of Donald Trump from polite society. But if you try to kill a GOP president, then you can get an interview with ABC News and talk about the wonders of gun control.

Good to know that it’s not just viewers, listeners and readers that are giving the MSM the boot but other corporations as well.

Two further bits of recent news on this topic.

First, the Fifth Circuit Court has upheld a Texas law that says that any social media platform with over 50 million subscribers may not indulge in censorship people outside of some narrowly defined limits. So no more bullshit about claiming that you’ve “violated the terms of the contract” with the likes of Facebook. The law as stymied by an injunction from a lower court but Circuit court booted that and got stuck into the self-contradiction that lies at the heart of section 230:

Section 230 undercuts both of the Platforms’ arguments for holding that their censorship of users is protected speech. Recall that they rely on two key arguments: first, they suggest the user-submitted content they host is their speech; and second, they argue they are publishers akin to a newspaper. Section 230, however, instructs courts not to treat the Platforms as “the publisher or speaker” of the user-submitted content they host. Id. § 230(c)(1). And those are the exact two categories the Platforms invoke to support their First Amendment argument. So if § 230(c)(1) is constitutional, how can a court recognize the Platforms as First-Amendment-protected speakers or publishers of the content they host?

I’m sure this is headed for the Supreme Court with appeals, but at this stage I’d say it’s a race to see whether Congress or the Court kills section 230 first.

Second is this, PayPal, Venmo, and Google Cut off Group Fighting to Protect Children From Groomers:

Gays Against Groomers are “a coalition of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination, and medicalization of children,” as they describe themselves in their Twitter profile. Now, one would think that most Americans would be supportive of fighting against the sexualization and indoctrination of children.

But fighting against such things now appears to be against the liberal narrative.

The group announced that they had been banned from Venmo and Paypal because they supposedly violated their user agreements. This can largely cut them off from the ability to financially operate.

You can watch one of the founders of Gays Against Groomers being interviewed here by Tucker Carlson (and boy I’ll bet that burns a lot of the Left).

Scrambling to Expose the Uprising

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Noticed the following comment on Twitter in regards to New Zealand:

For now media, researchers, and activists are scrambling to expose in real-time the uprising of what I call the ‘petty bourgeoisie’ in this country (VFF et al)…

Tweet link

As many know, I am active on Twitter. I find it an incredibly useful place to get a sense of what is happening and what people think about events before they hit the mainstream. Twitter is also where ideas are battled and gamed out before the virtual hits reality, and so many of us end up having a love/hate relationship with the platform. Love: because of this intoxicating immersion into current events before and as they unfold; and hate: because of the intensity of the opponents who do operate from an “ends justifies the means” perspective,typical of the left, but unfortunately is not just limited to them.

I’ve pulled out the above Twitter thread because I consider it incredibly revealing.

  • The media, researchers and activists as being of the left, or even the far left.
  • They consider their opponents to be of the right.
  • They consider their opponents to have more to lose, in terms of money, property etc.
  • They think of going against the current direction of the left to be an “uprising” – not democracy in action.

I started pay attention to @Te_taipo because he preemptively blocked me a while back – before I even knew that he existed. However, it’s incredibly easy to discover people who block you by noticing what you can’t see in threads. I always investigate, tag and block these people, who mostly seem to be of the leftist, activist type and are generally not that interesting.

Twitter profile of Te_taipo

However, Te_taipo is very interesting. He’s an IT guy (with everything that infers in terms of personality and intellect) and also is in the thick of the activist part that has direct contact with the researchers and the media. He’s the type of person that I had hoped last year would be contrarian enough not to be swept along with events, and therefore be able to step back and maybe look at the birds-eyes view of the last few years. Unfortunately, his ideology seems to be blinding him and therefore he is on the side of the government, the censors, the Left and the ethno-nationalists; and helps inform his followers of what is happening, who to target and what to target.

Therefore, the tweets of his that identify the “uprising” as being “petty bourgeoisie” is worth taking note of. I think he is correct in that I also believe there is a general stirring of middle NZ that must be so disturbing the left, that they are scrambling (as he implies) to identify and expose everyone they perceive to be at the vanguard of this revolt against the Aotearoa they are trying to create.

As per usual, we the people end up battling against each other to all our detriments. The left tried to make us all one by suppressing and censoring dissent, so only a single opinion that came down from the top was allowed. They now are dealing with massive narrative escape, the likes of which can only be suppressed by much harsher means than have been employed to date. I hope like hell that reason will prevail and we start talking to each other before anything like that happens.

Written by Lucia Maria

September 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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The Crunge

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More like cringe, as you watch the following piece of silliness – which plays off yet another strange piece of Biden behaviour from a few months ago.

The event was at some school and Biden just aimlessly wandered off to who knows where even as his wife, the First Lady, made a little speech.

So this Twitter user decided to have a little fun with it, given that Biden sticks a huge ice cream in his face every chance he gets…

… and then found that this was being FACT-CHECKED by Twitter to reveal to you that it was “Manipulated Media” (see the reference at the bottom). They did that because – and I know you’ll be shocked to discover this – it turns out, there wasn’t actually ice cream truck music playing at the scene!

OMG! But don’t just take Twitter’s word for it; take Reuters’, who put their Top Men on fact-checking duty as well.
Top.
Men.

Rather than OMG, how about FFS? Late night Democrat suck hole “comedians” like Steven Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and all the rest of that crowd tell a bunch of unfunny “jokes” with false premises – which are “factually untrue,” in fact-checking terms – every frigging night, and those get pushed by Twitter and FaceBook users all the time with zero fact checks.

The Democrat activists and supporters and MSM (but I repeat myself) are that desperate to protect Biden and that lacking in a sense of humour. So when a truly vomit-inducing, butt-kissing article appeared by one Tom Nichols in The Atlantic, titled (“Leave Joe Biden Alone”), and a series of satirical Atlantic headlines started whizzing around the Interwebby….

… they also got fact-checked by AP, Reuters, Twitter and others. You’d think the false name would have been a tipoff.

Which led to further mockery, of course.

As silly as the fact check efforts are, the unfunny part is that these false labelings of stories or even jokes as “misinformation”, designed to protect the Biden Administration, then becomes the justification for the social media monopolists of Twitter and Facebook to collude with them and use the SUPPRESS and LIMIT buttons in their algorithms to bury a story. That’s how it worked with the NY Post revelations on the Hunter Biden story, and that’s how it works on stories every day. Twitter and company keep trying to pretend this trying to be objective instead of what it is – a code of censorship at the behest of the Democrat Party in government.

And still the Right wing will defend “Muh Private Corporations” like these against anti-trust legislation in the name of the Free Speech Rights Of Private Business to have the right to refuse content they don’t approve of. At least in the USA, that argument collapses when it becomes clear that they’re acting at the directions of the government.

This all happened as the Biden Administration emerged from a week of trying to gaslight everybody about how America is not in a recession because having two quarters of GDP shrinking is not technically a recession – even though that’s been the accepted definition by everybody for a century now – and I mean every politician, journalist, economist and Bob’s Uncle.

These people are so confident that they can change reality by changing the meaning of words and terms – after the success of “gay marriage”, “pregnant men”, “men with periods”, “women”, vaccine definitions and the rest – that they think they can do it in the realm of economics. And to be fair, they did manage to get more than a few people onboard for this farcical effort, including many MSM sites and even a Nobel Prize-Winning economist.

But the following analysis makes a very important point; they know the Internet has got them cold on their bullshit, but they just don’t care anymore because this about allegiance and loyalty rather than persuasion.

Nevertheless, it’s important to keep calling out their double standards and not let them control memory and history, as did Orwell’s Big Brother.

Finally, since this is all fairly sickening, here’s a story from a time of more honourable and decent people, like WWII military nurse, June Wandrey. I’m sure that people like her still exist, but they are slowly being crushed out of existence.

Mr Musk continues to have fun

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It should be obvious that when you’re the richest man in the world you’re going to be able to have fun, but based on the sad stories of other rich people in history that’s no certainty.

Some, like Henry Ford, were morose misanthropes; the Astor family were a horror story, along with others; even today we have billionaires like John Caudwell (founder of Phones4U) who admits he’s often on levels 1-2 on the 10 happiness scale.

But Musk is not that sort of person and it shows with his Tweets dealing with people attacking him, starting with Democrat Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The background to Musk’s response to her is a Tweet she sent months ago when Right-wingers attacked her for fleeing her masked-up, native New York City for the unmasked joys of Florida, even as she fanatically supported the mask mandates in NY. Her response got all her fans giggling because they know that all us Righties want to date hot, Left-wing woman: they just know.

So the other day when she got stuck into Musk for buying Twitter, using the now-standard High School Mean Girl snark which is her primary mode of argument, Musk used her approach to burn her down.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

On a more serious note was an attack on Musk by a bunch of nobodies from the broadcast network, NBC, one of whom actually labeled Musk as “not so bright”. AYFKM? What chutzpa that reporter has, but that seems to be how most of them think of themselves

Once again Musk let them have it right between the eyes.

It’s interesting to see that despite his focus on making a success of Tesla, SpaceX and his other businesses he still takes time to remain aware of what’s happening in the ordinary, everyday world.

That all this stuff is increasingly backfiring on these stupid bastards in the MSM is something that they’re still not getting, despite being brighter than Musk. The latest example is what happened after a Washington Post reporter doxxed the woman behind the Libs of TikTok Twitter account – because it’s just such fun to dox an Orthodox Jew in New York where attacks on Jews have increased dramatically in recent years. So far she’s having the last laugh.

No wonder the US Democrats are reaching for the big Stasi stick.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

Cancel Kulture and the tools it uses.

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And one of those tools has been Twitter.

Here’s one way that Cancel Kulture can be made to work, and has worked on a number of people, especially in show business.

It’s quite simple: you just reach back into the past of that person, find something that’s “problematic” by today’s standards – problematic is a great word in that it’s not a direct attack but implies that a problem exists with the target of the word – and use that standard combined with a gathering wildfire of outrage on Social Media, followed by the MSM, to force the target into groveling apologies, most of which don’t work, the target gets de-platformed anyway.

This is what happened to Oscars host and comedian, Kevin Hart, three years ago. That was the end of that high profile job, and pretty much his career. The same stunt has been pulled on nobodies as well, like the young woman who lost her university place when a former high school classmate published an old Tweet of her celebrating getting her drivers licence at the age of 16 by repeating the line of a famous rap song (all the rage with her generation at the time) that included The Word That Can Get You In Trouble (unless you’re a rap artist).

Recently it was tried against the famous American comedian Steve Martin, because of a forty year old sketch he’d done on Saturday Night Live. Stephen Green at PJMedia takes up the story:

“Steve Martin” briefly trended on Monday after Silver Age Television tweeted the anniversary of King Tut’s debut on SNL. It trended because some zero-humor wokester forced it to trend. But only briefly. Mediaite did its best to generate heat with this headline yesterday:

Steven Martin’s ‘King Tut’ Sketch from 1978 Sparks Twitter Debate on Cultural Appropriation.

Steven Martin? Anyway, as the story made clear, there wasn’t even so little as a “Twitter debate.” The worst Mediaite could find was two barely-critical tweets by a couple of low-follower Blue Checks.

The Twitter Outrage Machine was cranked to life, then almost immediately ran out of gas. Maybe it’s because Twitter spent Monday outraged about the Elon Musk buyout and didn’t have time to worry about Martin.

Excellent news, but how did that little wokester actually get “Steve Martin” to trend in the first place, lighting a spark as it were?

“They do it,” Dice explained, “to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Twitter manually inserts a topic on the list. People see the topic and think everyone is tweeting about which “caused” it to trend, so people *start* tweeting about it, and *then* the issue goes viral.”

Easy peasy. Japaneasy.

Oooo. Is that racist? Or culturally inappropriate?

Well anyway, after delving into yet another aspect of the grim, toxic underbelly of the politically correct Left, have a laugh at Steve Martin’s original sketch:

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

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I don’t use Twitter except as a casual consumer. Which is to say that I don’t have an account there and even in the wake of Musk’s takeover I’m not likely to get one because I have no desire to be sucked into a world of simplistic takes based on “arguments” limited to 280 characters, followed by a thousand toxic responses.

I’m also well aware of the fact that the Leftist groups who have dominated Twitter in recent years have found themselves shocked and surprised when the real world matched up not at all with their Twitter world, from Brexit to Trump’s 2016 win to the smashing success of the Tories in former Labour seats in the last British election. This has led a number of Centre-Leftists to get stuck into the Twitter Left as being deluded idiots who’ve screwed themselves.

So Twitter is not a representative sample of politics, even at the activist or political-tragic level, let alone the voters, and as a result the Right should not be getting too excited about their suddenly increased freedom to speak on the platform.

However, it’s clear that Twitter is important, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing the Leftie meltdown that we have witnessed in the last 48 hours. It’s also clear that something has changed, as noted yesterday by one of our readers:

Twitter has changed dramatically over the last 24 hours. Lots of high profile people that I didn’t know were there (had been shadow banned) just popping out onto my feed.

Well, well, well…Big conservative accounts reporting tens of thousands of followers being added to their accounts!!

Hmmm,…. My guess is that Twitter is turning off the suppression software and preparing to hide the evidence.

In the meantime the “Liberal MSM” world in the USA continues to lose its mind about this issue:

Of course YouTube and the others remain as they are so we’ll see how long it takes before that link goes dark. It took YouTube only a few minutes to demonetize Cole and Savannah LaBrant’s 38-minute pro-life documentary after its initial posting. Instagram followed suit shortly thereafter.

There was probably some “hate speech” involved, otherwise known as disagreeing with “liberals.”

Written by Tom Hunter

April 28, 2022 at 8:36 am

Breaking News for those who lack self-awareness

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When I saw this I almost could not believe it. Even though I’ve long been very down on the MSM and its “journalists”, the following piece is still breathtaking even for me.

Is it a lack of self-awareness? Or perhaps just a lack of awareness in general – like of recent history and current affairs?

Really, Mr Melber of MSNBC? Really? It sounds terrifying! What would that look like, because I’m having a tough time even imagining it – but I’ll give it a shot?

I’m seeing…. a tech monopoly suppressing a major story about a corrupt POS presidential candidate who spawned a son who is an even bigger POS with booze, drugs and the ladies and who grifts millions of dollars from Chinese and Russian oligarchs and corrupt Ukrainian front companies?

No? Okay. How about this?

I’m seeing …. a tech monopoly using secret algorithms to throttle speakers of one political bent while boosting those of another political bent? Or using its algorithmic power as a publisher (not a platform) to falsely claim that some unpopular stories are “Trending” and to falsely claim that some actually-trending stories are not? And all this to crush the reach of news that hurts one political party and one political ideology?

Crazy no?

Where the fuck has this prick been in the last two years? Or perhaps he’s just fallen so far into gaslighting mode that he wipes his memory each night so that he doesn’t go insane with all the cognitive dissonance?

And also right on schedule is this….

Complete with talk about “reforming section 230” and “anti-trust reform” and all the crazy stuff that a goodly (and growing) portion of US right-wingers have been pushing for several years now.

My goodness, where did that suddenly come from? What a coincidence that it came just a day after Musk takes over Twitter.

That’s government intimidation, isn’t it? That’s the government saying, “You will enforce our chosen narrative on a range of issues via censorship of your users – or we will act punitively against your monopoly position.” Sure sounds like it to me, and the response of the GOP to this will be to say how they’re not like that, even as the owners and employees of those companies snigger at their desks, curse the GOP, donate overwhelmingly to the Democrats, curse the Right even more and do everything with their considerable online power to screw them over.

This is why the GOP is often called by its own voters The Stupid Party.

In fact those voters been begging the GOP for some time now to get their useless backsides into gear and rip away the cover of Section 230 from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and their ilk, given the fact that, despite the well intentioned motives of protecting the fledging Web in the 1990’s, they’ve been acting as publishers not platforms for quite some time now in their censoring zeal:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

The grass-roots have also begged the GOP to go full Teddy Roosevelt and start using trust-busting measures against Google and their ilk – only to be greeted with whinging about the “principles” of the libertarian, pro-corporate Right-Wing when it comes to the state and private sector companies – well, giant private sector companies at least. Look at the recent moans from the National Review crowd (and others on the Corporatist Right) about the Florida GOP actions taken against Disney.

Now that the Democrats have breached that particular dam perhaps the GOP will jump on the issue. Still, it would not be surprising if The Stupid Party decides that defending Google, Facebook, Twitter and company against such outrages is a winning issue in 2022, thereby condemning themselves to a tiny win or perhaps even a tiny loss this year, rather than the Red Tsunami they’re currently on target for.

Let the meltdown begin! (UPDATE)

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Ooooooo…….. Mummy, mummy…the pain. The pain

I don’t usually cover “breaking news” because that’s not what blogs are for, but this news is just too delicious to ignore.

Twitter sells out to Elon Musk – Twitter Press Release.

Twitter, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.
Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction. The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

I’ll stay away from the beach today because of the risk of a tsunami of Leftist tears.

Meanwhile, from one of the alternative sites to Youtube (Alphabet’s favourite Stasi source), Rumble, is a little piece of video you’ll laugh your tits off at – if you’re a right-winger

Live look at Elon Muck firing people at Twitter.

The questions about what will actually change will now come to the fore, starting with whether the Babylon Bee will get their account re-activated? Still, it would seem they’ve got a handle on this…

Leftists Worried Elon Musk Will Turn Twitter Into A Place
Where Terrible People Post Bad Opinions
And Fight With Each Other All The Time

The irony is that this all started because of the Babylon Bee’s now famous headline, which got them banned from Twitter.

And of course the possibility of the return of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

This is also relevant.

The great Iowahawk is having fun…

Resume update: Conversation Safety & Quality Associate, Twitter Inc., 2018-2022. Created bold initiative that resulted in a net $10 billion gain in shareholder value

Written by Tom Hunter

April 26, 2022 at 11:09 am

Freudian slip

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If Elon Musk’s purchase of 9.2% of Twitter caused Leftie heads to explode, his bid to buy the whole thing has resulted in a complete meltdown over the last week.

The following is a classic example of this because, even though the delivery is calm on the surface, the message is apocalyptic and tells you exactly what these people think they’re already doing to the public.

These responses are over the top not just because they smack of End Days thinking but also because, even with control of Twitter, Musk would be in no position to do anything about the censorship practiced by the rest of the Social Media universe, especially Google/Youtube and Facebook, where pulling advertisements to demonetise people and shadow-banning are at least as powerful weapons on the censorship front as what Twitter has.

The usual MSM hypocrisy is a hoot as well, as shown by these screen captures of the responses from Business Insider and Robert Reich (Secretary of Labour in Bill Clinton’s first term), writing for the Washington Post.

But the Musk-Twitter controversy is an insight into the MSM because a lot of journalists, perhaps all of them, rely on the platform for news and guidelines on the narrative they need to stick to, as well as putting their own stuff out there.

Hence the meltdown in the MSM over this, which is captured here by another journalist’s response.

Greenwald is as Left as it comes and he spent much of the last twenty years fighting what he saw as the GW Bush/Obama administration’s control or influence of the MSM narrative with regard to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Most of the Left were on his side because he was ripping the war mongering neo-conservatives that backed both administrations, although it was telling that many became uncomfortable when he moved straight on to Obama from Bush using the same criticisms because he felt little or nothing had changed.

Now he’s in even more hot water with “his” ideological side, despite the fact that he’s being entirely consistent in his criticism of the MSM, and now Social Media.

Even with the world of Twitter itself, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning it to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

He’d have to fire most of the staff and rebuild from scratch, and I’m not sure that’s possible. Even the remaining staff could still pull stunts behind the scenes with the algorithms that throttle down the re-tweets of “disinformation”.

Also the Babylon Bee stings Twitter with this…. Nice to see Alphabet (You Tube) haven’t followed Twitter in banning Babylon Bee. Yet. My fave part with the Rorschach test:

Mandy: “Nazis…. Nazis…. Nazis….. Oh, I know that one. It’s the Indian symbol for peace. Namaste”

Written by Tom Hunter

April 18, 2022 at 11:18 am

It’s a good thing George Carlin is dead

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That was one message from Bill Maher’s take on the impact of Cancel Kulture in his world of using humour to stick it to powerful people.

I haven’t covered The Slap Heard Around The World because it’s just more of Hollywood being awful, but this time in a petty way that amounted to them eating their own as well as being yet another black mark for the Oscars. IMHO it was not as bad as the crap they churn out for us to watch. And now I have Maher referring to it anyway, except that his angle isn’t the screaming about violence, toxic males or the hypocrisy involved but what it says about how the US Left is handling humour nowadays, with another in his series of Explaining Jokes to Idiots (bonus points for the shoutout to the famous Seinfeld episode, The Magic Loogie, with “back and to the left”, itself a Black Comedy parody of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK).

If you think that it trivialises Cancel Kulture in focusing on its effects on jokes instead of Very Serious Ideas then you probably don’t know about this from 2021:

A nonprofit organization that major U.S. tech companies rely on for content moderation is expanding the scope of content it will blacklist on social media platforms.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will expand its database of terrorist content to cover content shared by white nationalist and alt-right users, Reuters reported Monday. Tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, rely on the forum’s database to automatically remove inappropriate content. Experts worry that the forum’s lack of transparency could cause some users to be unfairly censored.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was created in 2017 to censor content from U.N.-designated terrorist organizations. The forum’s board is advised by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, which recently released a report entitled “It’s Not Funny Anymore: Far-Right Extremists’ Use of Humor.”

More in that link, although it’s mostly not about humour.

The worst is when the comics censor themselves, when they become Woke, which seems to be what’s happened to one of Maher’s famous compadres, Jon Stewart.

The liberal comic retired from his “The Daily Show” perch in 2015, spawning tributes from across the media landscape. He changed the face of late night TV, they cried, and they were right. For better and much worse.

His impact, from his liberal take on the news to his bleeped profanity shtick, became part of the late night playbook.

Hell, I used to laugh along with The Daily Show as well, even as he took shots at the Right (like Maher does) to a far greater degree than he did at the Left.

But I did not appreciate the fact that after basically destroying what was a very good show of Left vs Right political and ideological argument, CNN’s Crossfireby going on it in 2004 and attacking the folks there as unserious hacks, saying it was a show that “hurt America” by treating serious ideas in a (too) humorous way – Stewart’s own show simply carried on pushing little but the Left’s line while the rest of the media environment collapsed into the same echo chamber:

Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

And as Jim Treacher memorably noted of Stewart’s routine:

Once I saw through his Clown Nose Off/Clown Nose On routine — “You should listen to me because what I’m saying is important, but I’ll brush off your rebuttal by insisting I’m just a comedian” — it was like the optical illusion with the cows. It might take you a minute to see it, but once you do, you can’t unsee it.

Since Treacher’s analysis in 2013 people have looked at the famous old Crossfire segment and observed that Stewart was pulling the Clown Nose On / Clown Nose Off routine there as well.

There was some of this also when he recently appeared on an episode of one of his Daily Show proteges, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and spoke some common sense about the Wuhan Lab Leak theory, which had Colbert back-peddling fast until he finally asked Stewart how long he’d been working for Senator Ron Johnson (boom-tish for Liberal snark – see above).

Sadly he seems to have gone full Clown Nose Off as a result of savage attacks by Woke critics of his old show and more recent works:

The woke mob, which will “resurface” the past to attack people in the present, deemed his “Daily Show” writers room insufficiently diverse. And Stewart, rather than defend his team or their work, groveled for forgiveness. That must have stung, but it’s more likely another moment left a palpable scar on his psyche.

That other moment was a movie called “Irresistible” that Stewart made about politics and which lampooned both the GOP and the Democrats. That was not acceptable:

It’s cowardly to make a film lampooning Democrats as out of touch rather than Republicans as unquestionably evil, but this is what “centrism” is these days, and that’s the “both sides” ideology that Stewart espoused back during his days on The Daily Show, and that’s the shit that doesn’t fly anymore.

War, baby! Götterdämmerung. The final fight between the forces of Good and (Unquestionable) Evil.

This is why his latest show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on the Apple+ streaming network, had an episode titled “The Problem with White People.” that ended up with Andrew Sullivan, Mr Gay Mrriage himself, a voter of Obama-Obama-Clinton-Biden in the last few years, being attacked as a racist by Stewart’s guest, with Stewart in full, Clown Nose Off agreement:

I just assumed he wouldn’t demonize or curse at a guest; he would moderate; he would entertain counter-arguments; he would defend fair play. After all, this was the man who had lacerated Crossfire for bringing too much heat and not enough light. He believed in sane discourse. He was a liberal, right?

He is indeed, it’s just that poor old Sullivan, despite writing about Woke issues, still thinks that Liberals fit his stereotype, the comfortable picture he has of them, and of himself:

At that point, it became clear that Stewart was not conducting a televised debate, but initiating a struggle session. The point of the session was not to discuss anything, but to further enforce the dogma he had pronounced. So I found myself in the equivalent of one of those workplace indoctrination seminars — in which any disagreement is regarded as a form of “hate” or “ignorance.” But worse: I was in a struggle session with a live mob sitting in, cheering and jeering, which Stewart led and orchestrated. For good measure, Stewart called me a racist and told me I was not “living in the same fucking country as we are,” and went on to angrily call me a “motherfucker.”

Sullivan also got this treatment from the guest (predictably a Liberal White Woman):

I did not come on this show to argue with another white man. That’s one of the reasons we don’t even engage with white men at Race2Dinner, because quite honestly if white men were going to do something about racism, you had 400 years. You could have done it.

A key attack point. If it sounds familiar that’s because we’ve heard it in New Zealand also, in relation to White Colonialism, and you will hear more of it in the near future. Sullivan finishes his detailed piece on the history of White and Black race in the USA by drawing the obvious parallel with Stewart’s ethnicity:

… the trope of a malign racial force existing through history across time and space is one Jon Stewart might have once recognized before he joined the woke cult. I wonder what he would have said if someone had come on his old show and said, “I did not come on this show to argue with a Jew,” or “every single Jew upholds these systems,” or “it doesn’t matter what a Jew’s politics are, he’s still a Jew, and therefore a racist”. What if she had bragged that her organization wouldn’t even engage with Jews because they were so toxic. And what if that person had looked straight at a Jewish guest of Stewart’s when she said it? What would he have said?

Somehow I don’t think it would be: “If I could finger snap, I would finger snap right now.”

Amid all this fighting was news of a stunning counter-attack. After asking his 80 million Twitter followers what they thought of the status of free speech on the platform, and receiving an overwhelming response that it was poor, Musk bought a 9.2% stake in the company for US$ 2.9 billion dollars, making him the largest shareholder and likely catapulting him onto the Board of Directors.

We’ll have to wait and see what influence he has. While significant, the shareholding is far short of control and BOD members are not management; they don’t manage the day-to-day functions of the company. On top of that, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning Twitter to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

Still it was nice to see that it triggered an immediate meltdown across the Lefty Social Media Sphere, especially among the Twitter workers themselves.

Maybe they should hire Bill Maher to provide worker tension-relief exercises once a week. They might even learn to laugh.