“Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” bright blue tags, each accompanied by a prominent exclamation point, cried out below the Trump tweets. In what can only be accurately described as an attempt to present a rebuttal of the president on a political issue, Twitter sought to direct an audience to sources contesting Trump’s claim that postal voting is rife with fraud. A Twitter spokesperson said Trump’s tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”
“Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” a furious Trump tweeted after the tags appeared. “They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post. Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
Clicking on the fact-check tags leads users to a photo of Trump above the headline, “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”
“These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others,” text below the headline reads. “Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”
Scrolling down the thread, one finds highlighted quotes from several dominant media outlets that have long displayed open hostility to Trump, slamming him for pushing “false claims” (NBC News) and stating that “there’s just no significant evidence of intentional voter fraud on anything near the scale Trump and his allies allege” (CNN).
Outraged Republicans were quick to criticize Twitter. “The law still protects social media companies like Twitter because they are considered forums not publishers,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted in response to the controversial labels. “But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher then they should no longer be shielded from liability & treated as publishers under the law.”
“And Twitter is getting subsidized by the federal government for that interference in the form of special immunity worth billions. Time to end #BigTech sweetheart deal w/ government,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted in reply to Trump’s complaint.
Site Monitor Is Trump Basher
Fox News reports Twitter’s “Head of Site Integrity” Yoel Roth “boasts on his LinkedIn that he is in charge of ‘developing and enforcing Twitter’s rules.'” Fox notes Roth has a history of making virulently anti-Trump statements, such as calling Trump administration officials “actual Nazis.” Jon Levine of the New York Post featured screenshots of several anti-Trump tweets posted by Roth on his account. “I’m just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason,” Roth tweeted on Nov. 8, 2016. “‘Today on Meet the Press, we’re speaking with Joseph Goebbels about the first 100 days’ – What I hear whenever [Trump adviser] Kellyanne [Conway] is on a news show,” he tweeted on Jan. 22, 2017.
“Partnering with biased fake news ‘fact checkers’ is a smoke screen to lend Twitter’s obvious political tactics false credibility,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted after the fact checks appeared. “There are many reasons we pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and clear political bias is one of them.”
Others were not as put off by the unprecedented move. “Twitter fact checks Trump. Great, but not sure I understand why now, why not three years ago,” Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post alum who now writes for The Atlantic, tweeted. “Twitter’s tagging, even insofar as it can be construed as a factual statement, is shielded by the defense of truth: the claim that Trump’s tweets about massive write-in voter fraud are at best extremely misleading and at worst downright lies is demonstrably true,” Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe posted on his account.
Curiously, “comedian” Kathy Griffin chose the same day to issue another death threat against the president. In 2017 Griffin notoriously made a video of herself holding up a likeness of Trump’s severed, blood-soaked head. On May 26, she tweeted out a call for an air-filled syringe to be injected into the president. This would presumably lead to an air embolism, thus killing him. The tweet had been up several hours as of this writing with Twitter having taken no action against it.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.