In the New York Daily News: Punished for tweeting the truth

Jul 11, 2019 | Featured

Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed piece at the New York Daily News. The piece starts this way:

Twitter has locked my account. I can’t post anything or read messages from other users. The reason? In March, I tweeted that the perpetrator of the New Zealand mosque shooting was “a socialist, environmentalist, who hates capitalists & free trade.” I also wrote that the killer believed his attack would “lead to more gun control” in New Zealand and the United States.

What I tweeted was entirely accurate, and Twitter hasn’t bothered to provide me with an explanation for why they locked my account, but they have made clear that it was this tweet that supposedly violated their terms.

Twitter has locked out other conservatives. After the release of the Mueller report, actor James Woods tweeted a paraphrased quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “If you try to kill the King, you better not miss.” Twitter informed Woods that the tweet constituted “abusive behavior,” and that it was considered “targeted harassment of someone, or incite[s] other people to do so.” It is hard to believe that anyone felt threatened by the tweet, but Woods’ account was locked in April and remains so.

In my case, Twitter identifies the offending tweet for me, and then writes, “We determined this Tweet violated the Twitter Rules, specifically for:” but the message ends there. When I log into my account, the only thing I am only allowed to see the offending Tweet.

My description of the New Zealand killer’s left-wing views didn’t conform to the mainstream media’s narrative, according to which the killer was a “right-winger” and a Trump supporter.

The Washington Post called the New Zealand mosque shooting, “One of the worst cases of right-wing terrorism in years.” “The person giving a sign of allegiance to President Trump is the killer here,” said CNN’s John Berman.

This is apparently the only narrative that is acceptable to Twitter, which is replete with news media posts calling the killer a “right-winger.” But no account seems to have ever been suspended for calling someone a “right-winger.”

The media have been extremely selective in their presentation of killer Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto.

Right-wingers don’t normally declare that “conservatism is dead” and that “global capitalist markets are the enemy of racial autonomists.” Tarrant calls himself an “Eco-fascist.” Have you ever met a right-winger who pontificates about the need for “furthering the unionization of workers” or minimum-wage increases? Or one who denounces “the ever increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit”?

Tarrant writes: “The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.” The political figure with whom he most closely identifies? England’s Sir Oswald Mosley, who self-identified as a member of the “left” and a proponent of “European Socialism.”

Tarrant frequently disparages minorities, but his racism stems from environmentalist concerns. “The environment is being destroyed by over population, [and] we Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment.”

You won’t find the media blaming environmentalists for the carnage at the mosque.

To say that the killer gave his “allegiance to President Trump” is far from truthful. Under the headline “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?” Berman writes: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”

The media also conveniently ignores what the killer hoped to accomplish by his attack. He said that it was his “plan all along” to help achieve “the removal of gun rights” for New Zealanders and Americans. Of course, leaders in both countries have obliged. 

The media and many Twitter users want to classify anyone who is racist as a “right-winger.” But environmentalists, socialists, virulent anti-capitalists, and supporters of unionization can also be racists.

Twitter shouldn’t be afraid of people quoting the New Zealand mosque killer’s own words. What I posted was accurate. But even if what I said was wrong, Twitter should explain why it silences people when it does so. The social media giant’s actions show a profound lack of appreciation for the sanctity of free speech.

The piece is available here. Real Clear Policy also featured Lott’s op-ed piece.