Twitter — as busy as ever, policing who may or may not have a public platform and what may or may not be said on that platform — permanently banned a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), on Sunday. Greene’s fatal error, as far as Twitter was concerned, was violating its COVID-19 “misinformation policies.” After the ban, Greene took to Gettr to skewer Twitter for its inconsistent and selective application of its own rules: as you might expect, Leftists get a pass.
The New York Times took the social media giant’s side, of course, explaining that “Twitter suspended Ms. Greene’s account after she tweeted on Saturday, falsely, about ‘extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.’ She included a misleading chart that pulled information from a government database of unverified raw data called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, a decades-old system that relies on self-reported cases from patients and health care providers.”
The Times didn’t deign to explain why Greene’s chart was “misleading,” but it did claim that “the VAERS database, which is managed by the Food and Drug Administration and the C.D.C., has been cited in many coronavirus falsehoods to push the idea that side effects from the Covid-19 vaccines have been underreported. A spokeswoman for the F.D.A. declined to comment, but pointed to an overview of the VAERS database on the F.D.A.’s website that said VAERS reports ‘generally cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness.’”
All right. But there are numerous reports of people getting ill or dying after receiving the vaccine, and the social media giants’ determination to suppress such reports rather than refute them on the basis of evidence only causes more suspicion of the vaccines. Rather than ban Greene, Twitter or its trusted authorities could have taken the trouble to end this “misinformation” once and for all by explaining why she was wrong, and providing data to support their case.
But that’s not how fascists operate. Nor are they consistent in the application of their own rules, since they aren’t really rules at all, but just tools to discredit and destroy their foes. Greene pointed out on Gettr that Twitter had let numerous Leftists violate their terms of service: “When Maxine Waters can go to the streets and threaten violence on Twitter, Kamala and Ilhan can bail out rioters on Twitter, and Chief spokesman for terrorist IRGC can tweet mourning Soleimani but I get suspended for tweeting VAERS statistics, Twitter is an enemy to America and can’t handle the truth. That’s fine, I’ll show America we don’t need them and it’s time to defeat our enemies.”
Greene is right. In 2018, Rep. Waters (D-Trump Hate) called on her followers to confront and menace Trump administration officials: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Video of her incitement is readily available on Twitter to this day; Waters, however, was not banned. In June 2020, future Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted a fundraising resource for the defense of violent Leftist rioters: “If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) did likewise. Neither was banned. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) vowed “hard revenge” for the killing of Soleimani, and was not banned. Greene could have added that Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, remains active on Twitter despite threatening violence against Donald Trump and other Americans.
All this (and there is much more like it) makes it clear that Twitter really is “an enemy to America,” as Greene said. The whole idea of the freedom of speech is that the remedy to bad speech is more speech, not the suppression of speech, which opens the door to tyranny and may result in people being forced to hold positions that turn out not to be true after all. Leftists’ oft-repeated respect for “science” is at odds with their authoritarian bent, as true science doesn’t advance in an atmosphere of threat and censorship, but one of open inquiry.
It was clear when Twitter banned Trump, and now, with the banning of Greene, it is even clearer: Twitter is arrogating to itself the right and responsibility to police the American public discourse and to serve as its gatekeeper. It is long past time to remove Twitter’s protection from legal liability, and to treat it as a publisher rather than a neutral platform, which it most decidedly is not. If Twitter continues its arrogant usurpation of power over the public square, the ultimate result will be nothing less than the end of the United States as a free society.