Trump getting banned from Twitter: Good thing or bad?

Of course that should say "accounts THAT violate," not "accounts which violate." But whatever...

Of course that should say “accounts THAT violate,” not “accounts which violate.” But whatever…

I just mentioned in a comment on a previous post that I had meant to ask that question in a separate post back when it happened.

And then I was all like duh, you just wrote it out, so why not make it a post now?

So OK, I will…

Ever since he was banned from Twitter (and those other platforms), I’ve been meaning to write a post asking whether y’all think that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Sure, much trouble is averted by cutting him off from that outlet.

But it makes it harder to keep tabs on him. When he communicates in a more subterranean manner with his minions, we can’t see it.

It’s a tough call.

But one thing about it is easy: It’s idiotic to say his “First Amendment rights” have been violated. He can write any stupid thing he cares to. Jack Dorsey is in NO way constitutionally mandated to give him a free place to publish it…

10 thoughts on “Trump getting banned from Twitter: Good thing or bad?

  1. Bryan Caskey

    The First Amendment question is easy. Other questions are more difficult.

    Does censoring/banning a head of state set a worrisome precedent?

    Can the suppression of speech we disfavor lead to the suppression of (or even chill) speech we favor?

    Is there value in seeing how our leaders think, regardless of the nature of the thought?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’ll answer the three questions, as best I can:

      “Does censoring/banning a head of state set a worrisome precedent?” No. I realize there are some particularly deluded people who voted for him and believe that he was a president like any other. Some of them mutter about impeaching Democrats to get even — as though there were some sort of balance here to maintain, as if the problem with Trump was purely a matter of partisan preference. Well, anyone who can’t see that we have two sets of people who are as different as day and night — Trump in one, and every other president we’ve ever had, regardless of party — is someone I can’t explain this to. But banning this guy present NO precedent that anyone need pay attention to.

      “Can the suppression of speech we disfavor lead to the suppression of (or even chill) speech we favor?” First, “suppression” suggests a governmental act, which this is not. And second, as an old newspaper editor I have to smile. So many, many times in my career I had to hear bitter, indignant complaints from people when we decided not to run a problematic comic strip or something else silly like that. They called it “censorship.” And this was comical to a person who had to choose the few things that would fit in the paper each day, meaning we decided NOT to run thousands of other things. Jack Dorsey is, for once, taking on some sense of responsibility for his medium. About time…

      “Is there value in seeing how our leaders think, regardless of the nature of the thought?” Here’s the one I can’t answer, and wrote this post to pose. Yes, absolutely. It’s why we didn’t constrain the governor or someone in a comparable position when he submitted an oped, even if we’d run one of his the previous week (we had a rule about barring people for three months, unless they were regular columnists). Why? Because it was valuable to our readers to know what the governor was thinking, even if he were full of bull. And you know what? Twitter and other media paid exactly that kind of deference to Trump for four years. This caused all kinds of trouble — such as all those people out there who believed that if the president said it, it was true — and ultimately led to a violent march on the Capitol.

      At that last, dangerous moment, rather than take any more chances, Twitter (and Facebook and others) removed his ability to continue stirring his masses. Even if they had been governmental entities (which they most certainly are not), it was “Yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” time.

      But here’s the question: Is it STILL beneficial to let him blather on these media simply so we can see what he’s up to? You know, as a public safety measure.

      What would be perfect would be if we could somehow make HIM think his Tweets are going through, when they’re not — they’re just being monitored by the FBI, or the NSA. That way, we have any relevant intel, while ensuring he’s cut off from his base.

      But I don’t see how we’d do that…

      Reply
    2. bud

      Since Trump is not a leader right now these questions are not entirely relevant. Having said that Mark has it right pertaining to the former POTUS.

      Reply
  2. Barry

    Trump is a private citizen. Not that it matters much but he’s only a leader of those that look to him as such.

    I don’t consider it good or bad. I think it’s probably the first time in his life he’s ever been held responsible for anything he’s said or done so of course he doesn’t like it and the cult doesn’t like that any entity held him responsible for something he did.

    Twitter bans people all the time. He’s just another on the list.

    If someone wants to know what Trump thinks, they can ask him for an interview or he can go on any of hundreds of friendly tv, radio, internet outlets that will serve up whatever he wants – or he could just announce a press conference and Fox News and every Fox outlet within 400 miles will break their necks to get there to air it.

    Reply
    1. Mark Stewart

      Trump will have his day(s) in court. I want to see what his “base” thinks when they realize he used them by manipulating them through shared racism to push for tax changes that only “benefited” the 0.5% of the wealthiest. Don has always been a tax con, he learned it from his father. I saw him cheat everyone at his Trump Tower property in the mid 1990s – firsthand.

      We should be concerned less with Trump and more about how much racism and white fear remains soaking our culture / drowning our future. That’s the real corrosive base eating away at our Constitutional Republic.

      Reply
  3. Pat

    Twitter has the right to ban.
    Trump has other outlets to exercise his free speech rights.
    It’s good he’s not running off at the mouth all hours of the day or night.
    There is no need for the public to see anyone’s unending stream of thought.

    Reply
  4. Jane BIshop

    If it’s this hard to ban a malevolent moron, then the chances of causing a political earthquake is slight.

    Silence him and stop the air pollution.

    Reply

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