Sooner or later, Elon Musk would have to offend leftist apologists for open advocates of violence against their opponents. That is, if he wanted to be a consistent enforcer of the Twitter Rules. Now a source that should know better, accuses Elon Musk of skewing enforcement of those Rules to the right. When this source does that, they are merely throwing off on Musk. But to see this come from The Intercept casts a doubt on their sincerity only a profuse apology can settle.
The Intercept takes a side, after giving a warning
Readers will recall that The Intercept broke the story of social media outlets, especially Facebook and Twitter, being State actors. They even quoted a law professor as giving a pointed warning of the potential for abuse:
When the government suggests things, it’s not too hard to pull off the velvet glove, and you get the mail fist. And I would consider such actions, especially when it’s bureaucratized, as essentially state action and government collusion with the platforms. Adam Candeub, Professor of Law, Michigan State University
CNAV said then, and repeats today, that the motives of The Intercept were unclear. Did they mean to decry the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its private partners, including Facebook and Twitter? Or did they, like Molly Ball at Time, mean to celebrate the program as necessary to “protect democracy”?
Three days ago they answered that question in the most disgusting fashion imaginable. Their piece on the moderational reforms at Twitter is a booby prize collection of:
- Libel and slander against not only Musk but indeed all who disagree with any leftist, and
- Denial of the existence of an organization that has dedicated itself to violence in support of leftist causes.
Who is that leftist organization?
The organization in question is Antifa, which stands for Anti-Fascist. Antifa is not so much an organization as a network. The focus of Elon Musk’s attention is the United States network that goes by that name. Wikipedia, at time of writing, describes it with some semblance of honesty:
Antifa (/ænˈtiːfə, ˈænti(ˌ)fə/) is a left-wing anti-fascist and anti-racist political movement in the United States. It consists of a highly decentralized array of autonomous groups that use both nonviolent direct action and violence to achieve their aims.
Wikipedia cites the following sources:
- LaFree, Gary (2018). “Is Antifa a Terrorist Group?”. Society. 55 (3): 248–252. DOI link.
- Klein, Adam (2019). “From Twitter to Charlottesville: Analyzing the Fighting Words Between the Alt-Right and Antifa.” International Journal of Communication. 13: 22. Wayback Machine link.
- Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas. “What Is Antifa? Explaining the Movement to Confront the Far Right.” The New York Times, July 2, 2019. Wayback Machine link.
The logo of Antifa is an overlay of the black flag of anarchy over the red flag of socialism. Different Antifa national “chapters” use different mottoes to surround these flags. In English it’s Antifascist Action; in French, Antifa Le Jeu (Antifa, The Game). Some leftist organizations, like the Anti Defamation League, make light of the violent acts of Antifa’s militant arm. Others deny its existence entirely.
Bear this in mind when evaluating the latest Intercept piece.
What? You say Antifa doesn’t exist?
The Intercept piece begins with a lament of the recent suspension of four Twitter account. For this they blame Andy Ngô (pronounced “know”), whom they decry as:
a far-right writer whose conspiratorial, error-riddled reporting on left-wing protests and social movements fuels the mass delusion that a handful of small antifascist groups are part of an imaginary shadow army called “antifa.”
Imaginary? The authors of the piece (Robert Mackey and Micah Lee) ought at least to read the Wikipedia entry. They might also have cared to read Ngô’s account in The New York Post of what he has suffered. The sufferings include a vicious beating and credible threats against his life. The Post article contains footage of one such attack.
Then again, the tone of Robert Mackey’s tweet – dated December 2, 2021, under the Agrawal Regime – dispels any reasonable expectation that he would even care what those other sources said. CNAV counts it “very brave” of Mackey to leave such a thread at a time when anyone who dared criticize him risked permanent suspension over a stretch of the Twitter Rules. Or for violating the unwritten Twitter Rule, which always was:
Thou shalt not speak ill of a leftist.
When leftist accounts began to go dark
The apparent suspension of Antifa-related accounts on Twitter began on or about November 23. Here is the sequence of tweets:
In reply to that last, another user made this arch observation:
Further down the thread come these reports from users other than Andy Ngô who suffered at Antifa’s violent hands:
These are the kind of people whom Mackey and Lee choose to defend – or the existence of whom they deny.
Twitter has suspended the leftist accounts The Intercept mentions. The most prominent of these is “crimethinc.” The other three are Chad Loder, Vishal Pratap Singh, and the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club. Mackey and Lee quote Loder as saying this for himself:
What I believe happened is that I and other accounts have been mass reported for the last few weeks by a dedicated group of far-right extremists who want to erase archived evidence of their past misdeeds and to neutralize our ability to expose them in the future.
Mackey and Lee also refer to an interesting archive containing what they allege is a list of accounts people on the right were busy reporting. But a closer look at the image shows that those accounts were reporting rightist accounts for real or imagined violations.
Even more interesting is this tweet CNAV uncovered in its research, directly relevant to yesterday’s election interference story:
Mackey and Lee go on to suggest that Twitter is somehow lost to the leftist cause. They speak of “increased tolerance for far-right hate speech,” which neither they nor their sources care to define. Furthermore they promote the narrative that the January 6 Event was a failed coup – and not the false-flag pseudo-operation it actually was.
Nor can they claim with any justice that all leftists accounts are under suspension. Many more remain, including some who seemed to suggest that Andy Ngô either:
- Fabricated his account of the vicious beating he received, or:
- Deserved it.
Which, of course, is typical of neighborhood or schoolyard bullies. They either deny their own activities, or throw off on their targets – and sometimes both. Mackey and Lee are indulging in this precise behavior in their piece, as are many of these remaining accounts.
Most of the remaining leftist accounts do not bear mention – for why give them extra publicity? But one needs no introduction: Rob Reiner. Yes, that Rob Reiner, also known as Michael Stivic on All in the Family. Your editor has had occasion recently to respond directly to some of his lies about conservatives generally.
A threat from the government?
All this takes place under the shadow of a veiled threat from the White House that the government might try to take Twitter over. How else to explain this statement by Karine Jean-Pierre, according to Americans Report?
So let’s just say this: We are watching closely to make sure that misinformation does not spread… We are all closely watching this. What you report and what is going on on Twitter. Social media companies have an obligation to not allow anyone to incite violence through their platforms. This is especially true when violence is directed at particular communities, as we have seen.
“Closely watching”? Why? Elon Musk would like to know.
Furthermore, where was this White House when a mob in Multnomah County, Oregon viciously beat Andy Ngô? Or did they, too, consider that he deserved what he got? In any event, we now see Elon Musk at least beginning an even-handed enforcement of the Rules. The suspended accounts clearly engaged in incitement to violence. Andy Ngô provided direct pictorial evidence. Thus the “archived evidence of past misdeeds” favors the right, not the left. Whoever defends such behavior can no longer call himself a journalist.
Unmuzzled News has the best assessment with which CNAV could conclude:
Leftists are outraged by these moves because they allow other people to speak, and there is nothing the Left hates more than free speech and people who they disagree with.
Or, in the immortal words of Ice-T, speaking of Musk:
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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