In what may prove to be a defining moment in modern political discourse, a Manhattan court has ruled that President Trump does not have the right to block anyone from his Twitter account. Yes, it is as idiotic as it sounds, but there is perhaps a silver lining here. If we follow the logic of those that brought the case and the District Judge Naomi Buchwald who ruled on it, the left may have just set in motion their worst possible nightmare: a history that can neither be erased nor denied.
The judge ruled that blocking critical Twitter followers was “viewpoint discrimination” which is a violation of the First Amendment. She wrote in her opinion that Donald Trump could have “ignored” the tweeters; explaining that:
“No First Amendment harm arises when a government’s ‘challenged conduct’ is simply to ignore the [speaker], as the Supreme Court has affirmed ‘that it is free to do.’ ”
“Stated otherwise, ‘a person’s right to speak is not infringed when government simply ignores that person while listening to others,’ or when the government ‘amplifies’ the voice of one speaker over those of others.”
“Muting preserves the muted account’s ability to reply to a tweet sent by the muting account, blocking precludes the blocked user from ‘seeing or replying to the blocking user’s tweets’ entirely.”
Get Ready for Damage
The main takeaway from this should not be that Trump is being forced to capitulate (although it is unlikely he will comply anyway), but that for this to go forward, it raises the same issue for all of our elected officials and people who owe a duty to the American taxpayer.
Surely if the president, as an elected official, has no right to ban viewers from reading his tweets, then all elected officials should be held to the same standard. This means that every single politician at every level of government, state and local, has the duty to allow all comers full access. Which brings us to the aspect that will have leftists trembling.
If their twitter accounts are open to all, would they not also be considered a public record? And as such, it could easily be argued that no tweet should ever be deleted from a politician’s account, lest they be attempting to defraud their employers.
How many politicians would remain unscathed if their social media utterances were to remain untouched?
The Brit Contingent
Britain is “blessed” with an abundance of Twitter using politicos. The Shadow Home Secretary (who may at the next election be in charge of police, crime, defense, the military, and counter-terrorism), Dianne Abbot, used her account to inform the waiting public that “fire puts out water.”
Yet this is not Abbott’s only “Twitter Gaff.” In fact, she has a string of them, including:
- Posting faked images of airstrikes in Iran when talking about Syria.
- Stating that “White people love playing divide & rule. And we should not play their game.”
- Saying that she was “Dubious of black people who say they have never experienced racism.” Following up with “Wonder why you never get a cab?”
These tweets have since been deleted (and are now only available via screenshots from concerned citizens); Abbott regularly now downplays the things she tweeted suggesting that people are not describing them accurately… Which is easy to do when you have deleted the evidence.
Nowhere To Run
If Politicians are forced to not delete their social media content, then what of other institutions that receive hard-earned dollars from the American taxpayer? Presumably, groups that receive government funding owe a duty to their “patrons” to inform them of exactly what the aforementioned dollars are being spent on? Let’s consider Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood (PP) receives around $500 million a year from the government (mostly in the form of reimbursements for “medical care” through Medicaid and Title X); this is taxpayer money being spent and as such, PP owes a duty to keep the funders/employers adequately informed. Yet PP has blocked many people from viewing their twitter feed and “adding to the debate.”
Ironically, despite their proliferance of blockings, the heading banner on the Planned Parenthood Action twitter page says “#NoGagRule.”
To Live by the Sword
The fact is, that if this should apply to the president, then it should apply to all of those who are (in theory if not in practice) answerable to the taxpayer. There would not be many individuals or groups that could continue to use fiery rhetoric to rally their foot soldiers knowing that spurious or hateful content will forever be there to haunt them.
While the left beams with haughtiness at having a judge side with them over the president, they have failed to realize that the largest group to fall foul of this ruling will be themselves. The one man who cares not what opinion people have of him sits in the White House, thumbs busily tweeting, wondering why the leftists have decided to self-destruct so spectacularly.