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When your government thinks banning Trump from Twitter is the real injustice

The response of the Australian government to US President Donald Trump’s incitement of the January 6 attack on the US Congress was, shall we say, muted.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his “distress” and his hope that order would soon be restored. However, he stopped far short of condemning the President, an extraordinary omission for the leader of a liberal democracy, considering Trump’s goal was to violently overthrow the results of a democratic election and retain his power.

It seems reasonable to expect that the government of a country that regards the US as its closest ally would express considerable alarm at a violent anti-democratic insurrection in which five people died, and yet…

Members of the Morrison government have saved their loudest outrage for Twitter, the social media platform Trump used to incite his followers, and the platform that has finally banned Trump for life. This, it appears, is the great injustice, an affront to “free speech,” and, wait for it, censorship.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, Nationals backbencher George Christensen, Member for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack are among government members who have condemned the “silencing” of Trump. (Trump has a pressroom in his house & can summon the world corps at any time, but that spoils the narrative so let’s not mention it).

Several MPs have called for the introduction of regulations that will ensure the state has control over the terms of service of private businesses such as social media, a most extraordinary demand from the party of small government, and one made with absolutely no sense of the irony inherent in the demand.

Christensen has started a petition demanding legislation to rein in the big tech overlords. Sharma is calling for a “publicly accountable body” to control who social media companies can and cannot refuse to host on their platforms. Frydenberg says he is “uncomfortable” with Twitter’s decision to dump Donald, leaving this writer to wonder how “uncomfortable” Mr Frydenberg is with the spectacle of Trump’s anti-Semitic foot soldiers wearing shirts declaring that “6 million wasn’t enough.” Mr Frydenberg has remained silent on this outrage.

Michael McCormack (some of you may know him better as the Elvis Impersonator) has this morning doubled down on his assertion that the insurrection at the Capitol last week was no different from Black Lives Matter protests, an assertion that has been strongly repudiated by Indigenous groups and Amnesty International as deeply offensive and flawed.

McCormack went on to state that “violence is violence and we condemn it in all its forms,” except, apparently, when incited by President Trump, whom McCormack has conspicuously failed to condemn.

What actually happened was that Twitter warned the President over several weeks that his content was violating their terms of service. Twitter then placed warning notices on many Trump tweets, while still permitting their visibility. They offered Trump the opportunity to delete his more troubling posts, and he declined. Finally, after weeks of what many perceived as irresponsible tolerance on the part of the social media platform, Twitter banished Trump.

The President received far more warnings and chances than any other user in the history of Twitter.

It is a manipulative leap to equate the breaching of a private company’s terms of service with “censorship.”

As Garry Kasparov remarked on Twitter:

 

 

Let’s not forget as well the enthusiasm with which an LNP government, under John Howard, took us along with the US into the invasion of Iraq, claiming as one of their justifications the delivery of democracy to that country. And yet, when democracy is under threat from domestic terrorism inside the US itself, there’s an orchestrated effort on the part of the LNP to distract attention from these momentous events and focus instead on Twitter allegedly “censoring” the leader of that insurrection.

Big tech de-platforming Donald is what they want you to think about, not Donald trying to destroy the US democratic process. Ask yourself why this is.

It is deeply troubling when your government decides the issue is a president being chucked off Twitter, and not a president attempting to violently interfere with the results of an election in an attempt to retain power. In its refusal to condemn Trump, the Australian government leaves us with little alternative but to assume its tacit support of the outgoing US President.

If what you take from the events of the last week is that the outrageous injustice is Twitter banning Donald Trump, you are either complicit or incomprehensibly stupid. Which is the Morrison-led Australian government?

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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26 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    “If what you take from the events of the last week is that the outrageous injustice is Twitter banning Donald Trump, you are either complicit or incomprehensibly stupid. Which is the Morrison-led Australian government?”
    I trust that this is a rhetorical question.

  2. Karen Kyle

    Great article…..and spot on. Gives rise to suspicions about the motives of our government. Why do they need a dishonest distraction? Surely they are not as stupid as they appear to be. What the hell is going on?

  3. Keith

    Trump has not tried to impede violent extreme right wing groups since he was elected. There have been a number instances where it would have been appropriate for him having done so. Just on such a basis it is hard to support his commentary.

    Something that I find interesting is that many politicians say they are Christians; yet, they break the commandment of “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” … tell lies. Supporting Trump’s mad commentary on social media amounts to supporting lies.
    Those lies are often directed at people out of his favour.

    If not breaking a commandment, a moral axiom is certainly being broken. The truth is something that parents try and instill in their children, schools try to do the same.

    But, it is naive to think that politicians will tell the truth. They hide behind the view of free speech which is being shown to be very dangerous.

  4. Karen Kyle

    A lot of Republicans do claim to be Christians. But they have convinced themselves that Trump has been chosen by God. A dangerous idea if ever there was one. Therfore Jesus wouldn’t mind a spot of lying….all in a good cause, just as Jesus would not object to torture….after all the country and Donald Trump have enemies. And those enemies are the enemies of God.

    Months ago one particularly extreme Fundamentalist pastor said that there is no choice. Donald Trump is going to have to start killing his enemies. A psuedo Christian load of sickening rubbish and the Christian version of Isis. Both groups show alarming anti enlightenment anti modern tendencies. Thank our lucky stars that the so called Christian group of utter wackos is small.

  5. Neil

    Don’t agree with the whole thing. Doubt, however, Twitter is terrified by Mcwhathisname

  6. Roswell

    Karen, this is the second day in a row that I’ve agreed with you. I was starting to wonder what was happening, then it dawned upon me: you’re finally starting to think like I do. 😁

  7. Paul

    “Liberal MP Craig Kelly, Nationals backbencher George Christensen, Member for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack are among government members who have condemned the “silencing” of Trump.”

    That’s a pretty damning admission of who this unaccountable mob think are actually appealing to.

  8. Henry Rodrigues

    The truth is, most members and supporters of the coalition, are Trump idealists, who consider him and his behaviour and policies, to be the kind they would appreciate being implemented here in Australia. I know because I have, to my deep regret, an unwanted acquaintance, who comes from a family of coalition voters and who, to a core, defend and praise Trump openly and vigorously.

    Its no surprise to me that Christensen and Kelly and the rest like Josh the idiot, and Sharma the knob and of course Scummo and his mate fat Hockey in Washington, look with admiration and awe at what Trump has achieved. Scummo every night before going to bed,
    probably takes out the medal he was awarded just a few weeks ago by Trump, and his eyes mist up and he clutches it with reverence. As for McCormack, could there be another Nationals leader as vacuous as him.

  9. New England Cocky

    @Henry Rodrigues: Agreed. We have a similar problem here in New England where the Nazional$ are represented by Barnyard Joke, who the male local yokels envy his ”family values” of alcoholism & adultery while the Tamworth women supported his re-election and so supported his adultery, fornication, sexual harassment and misogyny.

    If Mick Muck and Barnyard Joke are the best the Nazional$ can raise to be ”leaders” then the Nazional$ should be put out of their misery in the 4/8 NSW state electorates west of the Great Dividing Range by a credible local INDEPENDENT OR SFF candidates nominated at the next elections.

  10. Henry Johnston

    Well crafted argument. Thank you for the insights.. My fear is a jumpy incoming US Government will evaluate Morrison’s closeness to the Trump Gang as verging on the conspiratorial. If so a downgrade in Australia’s capacity in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance is on the cards. I know Biden is a fan of Australia, but I suspect a prime minister honoured by the Gangster In Chief with the Legion of Merit, will be as toxic as Fredo Corleone. As Don Corleone said. ” A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.”

  11. DrakeN

    There is a serious problem with the title of this posting: “When your Government thinks…”
    Thinking is not what they do.
    Acting in primitive self serving animalistic ways, with greed and power their primary objective is not what thinking people do.
    However, they are supported by a majority of the Australian voting public, so they are demonstrating the mindsets of a very large portion of the population.

  12. Matthew Synnott

    This rabble of a disgracefully dishonest government like to claim the moral high ground when it suits them, claiming to be champions of free speech, down with censorship, what outrageous humbug. So when journalists, together with very brave whistleblowers dare to reveal the dirty deeds of our government and/or its agents/servants, extreme pressure is bought to bare on them. Nothing as clumsy or unsophisticated as water boarding, electric shock treatment, thumb clamps, sleep deprivation and the rest but more subtle forms of psychological torture and done in the name of National Security or that the release of certain information is deemed to be not in the National Interest. The Government, our government, gives itself carte blanche to act as it wishes, answerable to no one.

    We have been conditioned to believe that we here in Australia can take pride in how we act on the world stage, with honour, truth and honesty. Is that how it was at the start of this millennium when we spied on East Timor, a small and economically disadvantaged nation to our North who miraculously had the good fortune to have oil and gas fields on its doorstep. Along comes helpful big neighbour wanting to assist this struggling people to improve their circumstances. Hey we Australians are like that don’t you know, it s in our psyche, help those down on their luck? Except in this case, not so much, more a big rotten greedy wolf in sheep s clothing. Lets not deceive ourselves folks, our government set about the deliberate elaborate, sophisticated and cunning plan to advantage ourselves by directly disadvantaging this trusting people. It would never have occurred to East Timor s leaders to sweep their Government s Cabinet room for bugs where confidential meetings, confidential to East Timor that is, could be held. If the treaty over oil and gas sharing was to involve dodgy states, say for example North Korea, Russia, China etc, then sweeping the cabinet room would be advised if not obligatory but hey Australia, everyone trusts Australia right?

    Brave witness K and his lawyer have been harassed, threatened, mentally tortured, had their lives put on hold and lost their passports because they had the temerity to blow the whistle on the evil deeds of the Australian Government, that s our government folks. Don t know about you but I sure as hell never deserved this government. We all know about the rotten regimes, the rotten leaders, the U.S. is about to be rid of their malevolent despot. Our government now decides that denying Trump his right to free speech is a bad thing, that if wants to incite his like minded supporters to trash democracy, act with brutality towards those of opposing view then he should be allowed. I smell the air of inconsistency, if free speech is so important to our government, then legislate to protect whistleblowers instead of effectively shooting the messenger.

  13. jamie

    Now clearly ‘the poor white trash (sledgers, Trumpees, racists) of the world: the moscum crim LIEbrals. Give ’em the white trash ‘stuff’ Timmee Painne. and you still lost!!!!! Disgraceful, derelict, disgusting. And Joshshee. Holy Mollee. Penal corporate fascist racist gulag stralya. Wake up you dullards!!!!!

    Will MoSCUM send Big Ben over with his SAS crims to fire up his eyebrow Donnneee boy???

  14. Andrew J. Smith

    LNP et al. do not know what to do about Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. as opposed to say NewsCorp, 9Fairfax and 7. The latter and their ‘journalists’ mostly support and promote government policies for free without prompting, while the former may do sometimes but much more unpredictaable and uncontrollable… whether content or deletion of content, hence a messaging risk.

  15. Sean Crawley

    The US of A is on tenterhooks in the lead up to the Inauguration of Joe Biden next week. It’s fascinating stuff. The world’s #1 economy on the brink of chaos.

    It’s hard to know what should be done when people don’t accept the outcome of an election, especially when they have no qualms about storming the halls of government and are prone to take up arms.

    A basic tenet of democracy is that the outcome of the vote has to be accepted by those who didn’t vote for that outcome. It’s a rule of the game. We educate our children about this from an early age. I can’t help seeing Trump and his followers as children who haven’t learnt a basic lesson of life.

    The blocking of Trump and others from certain social media sites has been decried as censorship, an assault on free speech. It is no such thing. Social media sites are publishing platforms and are free to decide what and who they publish.

    If people don’t believe that Australia could follow this trajectory, this article might sway their complacent and ignorant opinion.

    Well done.

  16. Terence Mills

    The Shovel sums up our politicians and free speech :

    “People Should Be Able To Say Whatever They Want, Unless It’s About Me In Filipino Strip Clubs”, George Christensen Says.

  17. wam

    A great read and one that has moderated my americophobic stance on censoring donald j trumpand I join erdogan, maduro and boris in trumpgating.
    The POTUS has a robbottian belief in his truth and the power of his mind is such that he puts himself in the realm of the greatest intellect ‘ever’, the most popular winner ever in the history of popular, he revels in the ‘they said it couldn’t be done. We did it” He didn’t but belief is truth and his truth should be censored and reported to the police as he is committing a criminal offence
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/373
    ps
    the rabbott’s religion allows lying, cheating, stealing if the heart is pure and done for god. ergo the rabbott never lies
    pps
    Rosswell, my facebook conspiracy post, has got support of the morning shows???

  18. wam

    getting senile yesterday I confused jack cade (ports) with MN (??) and today rossleigh(conspiracy) with roswell

  19. Henry Rodrigues

    The young inexperienced gap toothed mug who masquerades as Treasure should reflect very carefully when he bashes a private company who takes action on what they believe is a gross misuse of their product. I refer to Google, Facebook Apple Amazon etc. Does this young idiot also object when Deutche Bank calls in its loans made to the Trump businesses ? Is he prepared to call out the banks too ? And what about the dickhead who is his boss, what’s his position ?

  20. guest

    That the argument about Trump’s tweets should degenerate into a partisan squabble about censorship by a social media platform is a travesty. What is it that Trump tweeted? Lies and delusions and in the end incitement to riot in an attempt to overturn the results of a democratic federal election! How did he get away with it? He was warned and he took no notice. But there are some who regard these tweets as historical documents. And it is said that to attempt to impeach trump a second time would make him a martyr. Really?
    A great Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, assassinated in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate spy, while he attended a theatre performance. Wilkes had also intended to murder General Grant as well, but the General was not present. So, was Booth merely making a statement, some kind of freedom of expression, free speech?
    So will Trump eventually have something like the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the greatness of Trump’s legacy?
    I am reminded somehow of a single incident of which much was made in the Murdoch media. A pregnant woman was handcuffed in front of her husband and children because she was being taken to the watch-house and protocol required handcuffing. Accusations were made about police lack of empathy, of police heavy-handedness. What had she done but seek on social media for people to rally against government restrictions in the pandemic and what right had un-elected pandemic experts to give instructions on behalf of a state governments intent on taking away the historic freedoms of citizens gained over centuries of hard-won political battles such as freedom of speech…etc etc.
    Somehow the real issues are lost in the political miasma.

  21. DrakeN

    guest: “Somehow the real issues are lost in the political miasma.”

    That’s the name of the game – obscurance; hiding the actual malfaesance behing a cloud of petty peccadillos.

    What’s more, it is a consistently effective strategy.

  22. Matters Not

    Yes reality, like history, is a construct – ever subject to revision. It’s why both should be preceded by A (the indefinite article) and not The (the definite article).

    And such constructs have consequences. Sometimes called the Thomas’ Theorem.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Interesting you should say that, MN.

    A candid moment in a show I was recently watching when the uni lecturer told his class that Paul Revere wasn’t the hero that history records. The hero was actually someone else (name escapes me) who completed the ride after Revere was captured by the British.

    “So why is Revere given hero status when the hero was actually someone else?” he asked the class. “Because Revere had a better publicist,” he joked.

    But is it a joke?

  24. Carole

    Dave Sharma hmmm….. the politician who supports the government’s stance on penalty rate cuts and workplace reform while investing a goodly amount of money in payday lending companies. Sort of double dipping IMHO.

  25. guest

    Matters Not, Further to your comment about history being a construct, I suggest you read a post in theconversation.com, today, 14/1/2021, by Henry Giroux, of McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, entitled “Trump impeached a second time – but Trumpism will live on.” It has an excellent analysis of what Trumpism is about. One central theme is: “Trumpism is a giant disinformation machine that aims to colonise culture and public consciousness by emptying them of democratic values and destroying institutions that nurture critical thought and civic courage…The public sphere has become a barrage of bomb-like daily events hat obliterate the space and time for contemplating the past, while freezing the present into a fragmented display of shock. Under such circumstances, the lessons of history disappear.” Giroux points to the support given to Trump by right-wing news outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart. In The Australian today is a writer who is telling us that the big destroyer of democracy in the US will be Joe Biden because he will have unrestricted power! The war continues.

  26. Jon Chesterson

    They (our politicians in government, the LNP) who do not condemn it are condoning it, or worse still contemplating the possibility of doing it themselves in their own country knowing full well they too have perpetrated huge injustices, corruption and deceit in their own country. What they see is themselves going forward with a justification when Australians vote them out – Prelude to a last desperate attempt to hold on to power, sowing the seeds of insurrection. I don’t buy stupid, albeit that is what they are, more seriously they are a malicious and mounting threat to our own democracy.They are banking and investing on our stupidity and indifference when that time comes, Australians – Are we?

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