January 10, 2021: The story dominating the news is the unruly storming of the Capitol on the 6th, with news sites overwhelmingly reporting on it as Trump ‘inciting’ the riot with his tweets. We published on that here. Twitter (D-MO) has banned the president now, as have a bunch of other Democratic social media platforms. World news depends. Europe, which is generally against Trump, like DW is running lots of stories like, “Trump shunned by Republicans and social media after Capitol riot” (with a video caption reading “Persona non grada?”). And it’s true, significant Republicans seem to be antagonistic or oppositional to Trump. To me this looks like simple love a winner, hate a loser behavior. When Trump was elected, tons of people who would never have otherwise supported him were visiting him every day at his building in New York, musicians, politicians, business owners. They wanted to be seen siding with him. When he lost, everyone wanted to be seen as against the loser. Politicians in a democracy, that’s to be expected. Their game is about being seen as most favorable by the majority of people, and principles will just create an unsuccessful politician. Trump switched his stance on Abortion as soon as he became a Republican ticket, too, although I doubt anyone believes he’s in favor of criminalizing women who have abortions. The hate a loser thing, though, I think might be going a bit further as it progresses, into the bullying phase natural to human groups. He’s weak and without defense, and unpopular at least with the majority, who are also the only ones given news voice and coverage so seem to be the vast majority to anyone watching. In that situation 99.9% of people, even if they don’t agree with what they themselves are doing, will either turn against him or be silent while others bully him. The only people he might find to support him, besides his still very vocal and outraged politician and ideological supporters and friends, who you can hear in comment sections if not covered on the actual news, would be the principled 0.1% who believe in fairness. Of course, they wouldn’t be supporting him, but supporting fairness. Trump Jr. has been on Twitter talking about freedom or censorship of speech, and saying the world is laughing at the US and Stalin and Mao are smiling, but of course his father was president for 4 years without doing anything for protection of freedom of speech or human rights. That’s not Trump’s area, and it seems to also be something he doesn’t even understand. I was looking for something in that area to possibly come from him. His area is business and doing deals, and probably he’ll be seen as doing well in that. He’s also a guy’s guy and not too much of a square, having lived a lot of life with a lot of availability of things, and among a lot of people wearing shoes from the same store.
January 11. What’s happening with politics and news does seem orchestrated and coordinated. Not saying it is, but it looks that way. After Twitter banned Trump outright, Parler went to number one on the App Store. So Amazon, after a tweet ‘from it’s workers,’ removed Parler from their cloud hosting. It’ll be down for a week maybe until they find new hosting. Gab is the next one being talked about because it reportedly doesn’t sensor speech.
In the news, though, the same type of journalism prevails. It’s all editorialized and no coverage. Name the big news outlet and the things I’ve seen from them are the same. I’ve watched just a few, the ones that from the headline didn’t just say ‘everyone turns against Trump’ or ‘Trump incited’ but instead something like ‘an hour-by-hour of the events of the 6th,’ but they don’t show even one line being said by Trump, or quote one tweet or quote one thing he said. I haven’t yet seen anything reported that shows anything ‘encouraging’ violence or anything other than assembling and marching.
It’s interesting that these big tech giants are also the biggest cloud hosts, which now it seems control voice and access to communication through their ability to selectively remove content from their servers. It’s harder to switch away from them once you’re already set up with them, paid for the year, and they’ve put all many competitors out of business through they great scale.
Something a ‘right-wing’ news blog wrote the other day was about ‘domestic terrorism’ going to become a key word among politicians. It’s the justification for government overreach as we saw after 911, but this time focused within the US.
Looking at the events and their results, it seems like the effect, planned or not, will be that assembling and protesting will be portrayed as dangerous and malignant, a bad motive behind doing so, a violent outcome for doing so. This will cause people who don’t want to be branded that way to stay away from protests and riots, and only those who are outraged or really believe in freedoms to attend, but they can be a smaller number and more easily portrayed or attacked as violent and ignorant, unworthy of defense. This isn’t entirely clear to me yet but I suspect it will become more so as time passes and we see more.
On this topic, Brendan O’Neill at Sp!ked commented on all the events for the various social media organizations, noting that the presidents suspension wasn’t based on his words but on the ‘risk’ of ‘inciting violence’ based on how other people might read or interpret his words, and that Twitter is censoring based on how his tweets are being received on and off Twitter, and how his statements can be read and ‘can be mobilized by different audiences’ and that it may be part of a precedent in internet censorship that punishes not inflammatory speech but normal, legitimate speech based on how some other person might respond to it.
YouTube suspended Trump’s account and disable comments on his videos. Reddit suspended /r/DonaldTrump. Tripe and PayPal suspended payments to Trump’s campaign. But from what I see, I think this is going to go the other way. Telegram downloads are up to like 500,000,000 or something. They went up reportedly 25,000,000 in a day. Some people say both Signal and Telegram are ‘another miss,’ because they’re just two more apps that tie the account to a real world identity, which isn’t a safe or secure practice (they use phone numbers and Telegram anyway gives your phone number to anyone you have as a contact).