But cancellation often has nothing to do with Trump or even with conservatism. When Carson King of Iowa, who had unexpectedly earned a million dollars from strangers for beer money donated it all to a children’s hospital, Aaron Calvin of the Des Moines Register decided to dig up old racist jokes he had tweeted as a high school sophomore. Anheuser-Busch dumped its partnership with King as a result.
At least Calvin faced a reckoning when there was a widespread backlash to his hit job. After journalists botched the case of the innocent Covington Catholic High School students, many in the media continued. Further video showed that the students were victims of harassment, not perpetrators, but that didn’t stop writers at Slate and Deadspin from vilifying them as “privileged” and “smug.”
A free society requires a free press to serve as a check on the powerful, but for a free press to survive the passions of the people, it must remain fair. That doesn’t include using massive public platforms to bully and harass anyone, especially private citizens and nobodies, who commit wrongthink.