Politico Denies Conservative Censorship: Twitter ‘Punishments’ Aren’t ‘Arbitrary’

November 27th, 2018 1:38 PM

Conservatives should just suck it up and accept their online punishments, according to Politico.

In an article criticizing the conservative backlash to Jesse Kelly’s ban on Twitter, Jack Shafer argued that there really wasn’t a reason for conservatives to be angry at Twitter. Even though he admitted that sometimes the platform has “an itchy trigger finger,” Shafer wanted readers to think of Twitter as a benevolent “homeroom teacher” instead of a major tech company that is “tossing free thinkers into the abyss.” Wagging a metaphorical finger at the collective conservative audience, Shafer wrote that “Twitter doesn’t seem (to my eyes) to be arbitrary in doling out punishment.”

Why does he believe that? Shafer made the case that Twitter was a publisher, not a public square or a phone company. He said that the company had every right to regulate content on its platform, since, after all, “It’s Twitter’s house--just as the pages of The Washington Post are Jeff Bezos’ house.”

He failed to see the difference in the product marketed at Twitter versus the product marketed at The Post. While people who subscribe to The Post are looking to simply read the content on the pages, Twitter’s appeal is that users can create their own content. Dorsey even testified to Congress that the company was built to parallel free speech principles. A Twitter executive once called the platform “the free speech wing of the free speech party.” That doesn’t sound like a newspaper.

But no, the comparison stood. Shafer criticized Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) for calling Kelly’s ban from Twitter “de-platforming.” The piece described Kelly’s ban as equivalent to The Post refusing to publish a letter to the editor. The situation, according to Shafer, produced “nothing but winners,” since Kelly was a martyr in the conservative movement and Twitter was able to stand its ground.

Shafer suggested that instead of complaining, or “revolting,” conservatives should follow the rules of Twitter. He argued that it was more productive to “Drive Twitter insane by playing by their rules.”If that doesn’t work out for them, conservatives should move to Reddit (which, ironically, faces its own censorship issues).