The NRSC has declared war on Twitter, and the battleground will be Twitter’s revenue stream. It started with Mitch McConnell’s campaign account tweeting out videos of protesters at his home, threatening violence against him for his political positions. In a headscratching move, Twitter suspended the @Team_Mitch account for violating its policies about making threats — even though McConnell was the victim of the threats:
McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, confirmed the account was locked this morning “for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell.” The video featured a clip from a recent protest outside McConnell’s home in Louisville, where participants reportedly donned clothing and held signs that read “Massacre Mitch.”
That moniker is a reference to McConnell’s opposition to gun control legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Golden slammed Twitter over its decision, which he said the campaign unsuccessfully appealed. He said the company informed the campaign the account will remain locked until the video is deleted.
“This is a problem with the speech police in America today,” Golden said. “Twitter will allow the words ‘Massacre Mitch’ to trend nationally on their platform. But locks our account for posting actual threats against us.”
That certainly seems like a fair complaint, especially when one watches the video itself. It’s as awful as you’d expect:
McConnell’s team had every reason to highlight and expose the violent threats from some of the demonstrators at his house, if for no other reason than as a warning about what might come next from them. Video of those threats are evidence of that violent rhetoric, which should be exposed so as to discourage such rhetoric in the future. Twitter’s decision to suspend the account to block the video while promoting the #MassacreMitch hashtag — which could be interpreted as an imperative and not just an adjective — is beyond perverse.
The NRSC made its displeasure known by suspending Twitter from its ad budget. They may end up with more money on hand even beyond the savings, too:
“Twitter’s hostile actions toward Leader McConnell’s campaign are outrageous, and we will not tolerate it,” said Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “The NRSC will suspend all spending with Twitter until further notice. We will not spend our resources on a platform that silences conservatives.” …
The new halt in spending on Twitter is an escalation from Republicans, who have long complained the social media company of harboring a bias against conservatives. POLITICO reported Wednesday that the White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies.
The NRSC has spent low five-figures on Twitter so far this campaign cycle, according to Hunt. The committee is planning to raise money off their decision to halt future spending. A fundraising email to be sent from the NRSC Thursday urged supporters to “push back.”
A five-figure ad buy isn’t going to make or break Twitter. However, one has to wonder why conservative groups bother advertising on the platform at all. It’s the worst social-media platform when it comes to imposing biased speech codes, and it’s the worst platform when it comes to pretty much any other kind of cogent communication, too.
Engaging on it is a must, if for no other reason than self-defense, but funding its speech police? There has to be better ways to spend campaign money. In fact, there may be no worse way of spending it, outside of FEC-prohibited activities.
In case some of you are too young to get the reference in the headline … well, that’s just sad.