We already know what can get you banned from Twitter, but do you want to know something crazy that won’t? Apparently, this:
That’s right, suggesting that the President shut up or else you’ll pimp his wife out. His wife, the First Lady of the United States. That is what won’t get you booted from Twitter. At least, not if it’s a Republican president. Not if you’re an entertainer. Not if you’re a Democrat.
I know, every day there is a blog post somewhere on the right about how their side gets away with blank, but our side never even gets away with blank blank. It’s tedious. We all know there are double standards in the media. Being famous and rich lets you get away with a lot. (Lying to people so you can become President comes to mind.) Being on the left lets you get away with more. Pointing it out has become a cliche. HOWEVER …
When conservatives say that the systems we all use to share our opinions, exercise our speech, and promote our ideas, policies, and positions is being used to silence one side and not the other, they get laughed at by liberals. Our cultural betters sneer about whiny, victimized, conspiracy-theorist righties thinking the world is out to get them. And it’s true, there are people just like that who whine and complain and blame everyone for their own lack of success.
But there is also the fact that the systems we all use to share our opinions etc., etc., actually are biased against conservatives. Or perhaps more accurately, biased toward liberals. The liberals get the benefit of the doubt. Not just from Twitter, but from Facebook, Google, Yahoo … the places from whence comes the news in our day.
It doesn’t matter if some prime time fiction/drama you watch is biased. I’m sorry, but it really doesn’t. It may be frustrating, but a lot of conservatives who complain about how the right is portrayed in fiction would call a liberal who bitched about there not being enough black role models a “snowflake” or an “SJW.” If you don’t care about the “diversity” of a show, then be consistent and don’t care if they are kind to conservatives, either.
But it matters if Twitter and Facebook and Google turn a blind eye to abuse from one group but have a hair trigger regarding the other group. That’s worth pointing out. That’s worth complaining about.
We’ve seen these “fake news” freakouts this year, and the subsequent list-making naming who is and isn’t fake news. Legitimate conservative commentary is, almost without fail, lumped in with sites that deliberately trick their own readers with false headlines and made-up stories. Then places like universities and Facebook use those lists as a predicate to ban, banish, bully, or otherwise push from the public square sites with a legitimate point of view, a legitimate offering to make in the social dialogue.
This tweet may seem a small thing to some. It may seem a minor celebrity has made an “offensive” comment, and you may even be tempted to say “right wingers are the ones who complain about snowflakes or grievance-mongering, so they don’t get to complain.” But they do. Because a double standard matters sometimes. It matters this time. And it’s a symptom of something much bigger that I’m going to be writing about a lot more in the coming weeks, and with copious examples.