CNN Parties Over Twitter’s ‘Amazing’ Choice to Ban Trump: He’s ‘Been Kneecapped!’

Mark it down, NewsBusters readers: January 8, 2021 will go down as one of the greatest days in the lives of more than a few CNN charlatans due to the massive, unprecedented crackdown on American free speech, including Twitter’s permanent banning of President Trump

On CNN’s Situation Room, the mood was euphoric as they celebrated the “amazing situation” and “historic moment” of Twitter having “kneecapped” Trump before our very eyes, even though it was many years later for these censorship fiends.

Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta delivered the news, feigning concern for what Trump will do now and how it’ll affect his “state of mind” considering “he’s been unstable.”

Acosta boasted that, if Trump were to send out a video message, the White House would have to rely on the media even though they’re “their least favorite people in the world.”

“So, the President has been knee capped by Twitter. He can no longer use this account to do all of the various and sundry things that he does on a regular basis. He is, for all intents and purposes, banned at the moment from this very powerful social media platform, Wolf,” a giddy Acosta added. 

Reliable Sources host and censorship-loving Brian Stelter was ebullient, gushing to host Wolf Blitzer about this “moment in Silicon Valley history, as well as a moment in political history and this has significance all around the world.”

                            
Stelter continued to explode with glee (click “expand”):

[B]ut this is an historic moment where Twitter has stepped in and said no, that world leader, the United States President, is too dangerous to use our platform. It is an astonishing thing that technology companies like Twitter and Facebook feel they have to protect the public from the American President, they have to take away his keys because they don’t trust him to get behind the wheel. 

It does speak to the power of technology companies and I think many Trump supporters will hear about this and say this just proves that Trump is being censored, he’s being punished, he’s being hurt by Silicon Valley, but censorship is not the right word here, this is not about the First Amendment. The First Amendment is about your relationship with the government, not your relationship with a private technology company. And these social media companies have been under pressure from many liberals, from Trump critics, from including their own employees to take action. Hundreds of Twitter employees signed a letter saying they want Trump banned and now he’s banned. 

Moments later, he bragged that his friends at Twitter took such a “remarkable action” to which Blitzer lamented that “a lot of people think these platforms should have been done this a long time ago, given what the President was out there promoting.”

Seeing as how he has such a hatred for people that disagree with him that he’ll fight to impugn their right to speak, Stelter fretted that “Twitter and Facebook have been very afraid to cross paths with this President…when, in any other case, he would have been suspended years ago.”

In response, Blitzer fawned: “It’s an amazing, amazing situation when you think big picture about what’s going on.”

Acosta, Blitzer, and Stelter continued to happily bludgeon the President. Acosta warned that Trump’s “reaction will be fierce, because this is a President who has been complaining about what he deems to be social media discrimination for some time.”

Cheering the fact that Twitter’s “a private company,” Acosta went postal on Twitter for having allowed him to “spread lies and fear and hatred over the last four years” and that such a purging “will be applaud[ed]…on both sides of the political spectrum” because Trump “has broken the rules of decent society.”

In contrast, Acosta and his network will almost certainly refuse to say a word about whether there should be bans doled out to Chinese accounts denying their modern-day concentration camps or Iranian handles spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric. Remember the left’s own rules where silence symbolizes approval!

Stelter also had more to say, swooning over Apple’s threats to remove Parler from its App Store and griping Twitter didn’t listen to him sooner. For Blitzer’s part, he approvingly replied how “incredible” this news was (click “expand”):

STELTER: But never has a world leader been deplatformed like this. I’m talking Third World countries, dictatorships. We don’t see this happen from these platforms. We got more detail from Twitter, Wolf. I’m going to read here. It says, in determining whether to ban Trump’s permanently, Twitter took into account statements he made off-platform, meaning they weren’t just judging his tweets. They were judging his behavior at the Save America march and other statements he’s made. Twitter also saying we need all social platforms to do this more proactively. Often what is planned in a semi private space has bearing on the open web. So, Twitter is sending a message to other technology companies saying, we all, all of these companies, that have platforms on the internet, have to step up their performance and judge content more seriously. By the way, earlier today, Apple said that it may take action against Parler. Parler is that new social media network for far-right Trump supporters. That’s been speculation that Trump will just move over to that site instead. Apple is threatening to remove Parler from its App Store because of content moderation concerns. So, look, it’s the fourth year, all of this probably should have happened sooner. But these technology companies are trying to show some responsibility in the very last days of the Trump administration. 

BLITZER: It really is incredible.

CNN’s cheering of censorship was made possible with the support of advertisers such as ADT, Chase, and Consumer Cellular. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

CNN’s The Situation Room
January 8, 2021
6:27 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: If you can see this on screen right now, the President’s Twitter account has been suspended. All you can see if you go to @realdonaldTrump at the moment, it says “account suspended,” everything has been wiped off his social media platform. Twitter has just released a statement in the last several minutes, and I can read this to you, it says: “After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” That is from the Twitter Safety department at the Twitter social media platform. Wolf, this is obviously an extraordinary development, because as you know, one of the defining aspects of the Trump presidency has been his use of his Twitter account. He has fired people by Twitter. He has announced policy changes by Twitter. He has announced pardons by Twitter. And he has incited violence on Twitter, as we know. We saw this leading up to the events on January 6 and Twitter is saying because of the President’s potential to further incite violence, they are shutting down his account. Now, obviously, Twitter has come under a great deal of scrutiny. A lot of pressure from social media safety advocates in recent weeks, saying that the social media platform hasn’t gone far enough in recent days. We saw they took down some of the President’s tweets and prior to that, they have been labeling the President’s tweets in the run-up to January 6, pointing out, when he would say false things about the election results and so on. But this is a dramatic development, Wolf, no question about it, suspending permanently the social media platform says, the President’s Twitter account. Now, one has to wonder, Wolf, what will this do to the President’s state of mind. We know he’s been unstable. We’re hearing from our sources he’s lost it and so on in recent days. What does this do to the President now that he no longer has access to this Twitter account which he talks about all the time as a way of going around the media and so on? He doesn’t have that anymore, at least not for the time being. And it makes you wonder, covering this President, knowing how unstable things have been in recent days, whether or not this pushes the President further to the edge as impeachment is being contemplated, the 25th Amendment is being contemplated, and so on. He can’t vent on Twitter. One of the things we’ve noticed over the weekends covering this President, he won’t be, you know, doing the work of the American people, he’ll be tweeting his grievances and so on. He can’t do that, it seems, this weekend, during a critical time, the end days of his presidency, Wolf. 

BLITZER: Yeah, I just want on my phone to his Twitter account, and I saw, the only thing you see over there, it says he was following 51 individuals, but he had 88.7 million followers, 88.7 million followers —

ACOSTA: Correct.

BLITZER: — account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts that violate the Twitter rules. He’s always boasting how many millions of people get his information on social media. Facebook suspected him, Instagram suspended him. Now Twitter has suspended him. This is going to cause him deep, deep not only frustration but anger and I assume he’s going to try to retaliate. 

ACOSTA: I assume he’ll try to retaliate. We — we are expecting this evening some kind of video message from the President. Now, you know, we also have to wonder whether or not that video message is something that Twitter did not want to put up on the platform. Perhaps that’s not the case. We’re going to have to wait and see what that video message is. These recent video messages that the President has put out there, after January 6, he’s tweeted them out. He can’t do that this evening and so presumably if the White House wants to get that video message out to the American people this evening, one that we’re expecting this evening, they’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way, they’ll have to email it to the White House press, their least favorite people in the world, in order for us to get it out to the rest of the world. So, the President has been knee capped by Twitter. He can no longer use this account to do all of the various and sundry things that he does on a regular basis. He is, for all intents and purposes, banned at the moment from this very powerful social media platform, Wolf. 

BLITZER: And banned from sending out anything to his 88 million followers. Brian Stelter, our chief media correspondent, is with us as well. Brian, give us a little perspective on what is going on right now. 12 days to go in the presidency and Twitter permanently suspends him. 

BRIAN STELTER: This is a moment in Silicon Valley history, as well as a moment in political history and this has significance all around the world, Wolf. So many world leaders use Twitter to communicate, but this is an historic moment where Twitter has stepped in and said no, that world leader, the United States President, is too dangerous to use our platform. It is an astonishing thing that technology companies like Twitter and Facebook feel they have to protect the public from the American President, they have to take away his keys because they don’t trust him to get behind the wheel. It does speak to the power of technology companies and I think many Trump supporters will hear about this and say this just proves that Trump is being censored, he’s being punished, he’s being hurt by Silicon Valley, but censorship is not the right word here, this is not about the First Amendment. The First Amendment is about your relationship with the government, not your relationship with a private technology company. And these social media companies have been under pressure from many liberals, from Trump critics, from including their own employees to take action. Hundreds of Twitter employees signed a letter saying they want Trump banned and now he’s banned. 

BLITZER: He’s banned not just from Twitter and his 88 million followers but earlier, Zuckerberg banned him from Facebook and Instagram as well. Those are the three biggest social media operations that the President had, hundreds of millions of individuals potentially were getting his — his information here in the U.S. —

STELTER: Yes.

BLITZER: — and around the world. 

STELTER: Yes. Facebook basically suspended him indefinitely, but at least two weeks, that means through inauguration day. On Facebook, he has a chance to come back someday in the future. On Twitter, this is apparently a permanent move by Twitter. So February, March, whatever, there’s no appeal, there’s no coming back to Twitter. Not just Twitter, but we’ve seen YouTube, we’ve seen Twitch, we’ve even seen websites that specialize in shopping, Shopify also took action against the President’s campaign. This is a — YouTube is another one. The list goes on and on. You know, we have seen this remarkable action by technology companies, because they fear what Trump will do with his platforms. 

BLITZER: As you know, Brian, a lot of people think these platforms should have been done this a long time ago, given what the President was out there promoting. What do you think? 

STELTER: That’s right. Look, think about six months. The President was on Twitter during the unrest across the country. He said, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” And that was the kind of post, so incendiary, that many people said then his account should be suspended. The reality has been Twitter and Facebook have been very afraid to cross paths with this President. They have been afraid to take action against his account when, in any other case, he would have been suspended years ago. That’s just the reality. But they put in place different policies, different exceptions to the rules in order to avoid this moment, this collision with the American President. There are regulatory concerns, there’s concerns that Trump’s fans will leave these platforms. And by the way, that’s already happening, Wolf. I think we will hear about the President going off to fringe platforms instead. He’s going to go off far right websites that promise they won’t block him. And that’s where he’ll communicate on those instead, but to a much, much smaller audience, Wolf. 

BLITZER: It’s an amazing, amazing situation when you think big picture about what’s going on. This is the President of the United States in his final 12 days in office and all of a sudden, Twitter suspends him personally, “account suspended.” I want to bring in Preet Bharara, our senior legal analyst. The former U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. What do you think about this from a legal perspective? 

PREET BHARARA: Well, with respect to Twitter, something that should be clear to everyone and it gets confused a lot, and a lot of folks who are put under sanction by social media platforms make an allegation that they’re being censored or that it’s a violation of their first amendment rights, It is not. Twitter is a private company. It has terms and conditions of use and if you violate those terms and conditions, you can be suspended temporarily or permanently as they have done now. In fact, President Trump, by virtue of his office being the commander in chief, has probably gotten away with more violations of the Twitter terms than any other human in the country and only now given the events of this week and the violence that’s resulted in death, is Twitter taking it seriously when it comes to the President of the United States. So he has no cause of action, he has no claim. Probably to some extent, it’s probably helpful to him. You know, taking him off Twitter precludes the ability of him to make incriminating statements about things that have been litigated in court. I mean, I imagine that if there’s impeachment proceedings, that one of the things that’s going to be raised is what was in Donald Trump’s mind with respect to the insurrection of this past week. And some of that evidence comes from his tweets. 

BLITZER: Very quickly, you know, Preet, he’s going to be a private citizen in 12 days, maybe even earlier if he were to resign or be removed according to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Preet, but once he’s a private citizen, can he file lawsuits, can he complain, does he have any legal case at all to get back on? 

BHARARA: I don’t believe so. He can be a plaintiff even as the President. What cannot happen while he’s the President is under DOJ guidelines, he can’t be charged with a crime, but for other legal proceedings, he’s free to make and bring and he has done so on behalf of his campaign, as we know, dozens of times around the country. He can try to bring an action, but I think there’s a clear case based on the internal regulations and terms and conditions of Twitter, which they’re allowed to enforce pretty much as they see fit. I don’t think he has any claim or cause of action whatsoever. 

BLITZER: We just got a statement from Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, thanking Twitter for taking this action. A significant statement indeed. There you see it right now: “Thank you twitter for taking this action. We must come together as a country to heal and find a common path forward.” Let me go back to Jim Acosta, our chief White House correspondent. Any reaction at all from the White House, Jim, that we’re getting to this really dramatic move? The President of the United States suspended from tweeting. 

ACOSTA: Not yet, Wolf. But I suspect that the reaction will be fierce, because this is a President who has been complaining about what he deems to be social media discrimination for some time. But let’s keep in mind, this is a private company, it’s a publicly traded company but it is a company that has a platform that he’s been using to spread lies and fear and hatred over the last four years. You know, he’s tweeted everything from calling the press the enemy of the people to #FireFauci about Dr. Fauci during this coronavirus pandemic. He’s used this Twitter account to great harm. But Wolf, you don’t have a First Amendment right to shout fire in a crowded theater. And that is essentially what the President has been doing over these last four years and it’s what he’s been doing leading up to the events on January 6, the attempted violent coup that we saw on January 6. The President of the United States was inciting people not just at that rally on the Mall on January 6, he was doing it on social media and so, you know, this is a social media platform, a very powerful company, as Brian Stelter was just talking about, taking stock of the situation and saying, you know, listen, we can’t do this forever. One of the things that’s been discussed, Wolf, leading up to the November 3 election, is whether the President could be banned on social media platforms had he won reelection, but now that he’s a loser, he’s — he’s leaving office soon, he goes back to being a private citizen. As we’ve seen time and again on social media platforms, private citizens can get banned from these platforms left and right if they’re not complying with the rules of those social media platforms and Donald Trump is somebody who has time and again not just broken the rules of social media but just sort of broken the rules of decent society, spreading hate and fear and lies and so on. I think a lot of people will be applauding this tonight on both sides of the political spectrum, Wolf. 

BLITZER You know, it’s interesting, Brian Stelter, the President suspended permanently from Twitter and Twitter saying that they do so because they cited the risk of further incitement of violence, Brian. Further incitement of violence by the President of the United States. How often does Twitter suspend permanently individuals? Because a lot of individuals out there on the far right, let’s say, maybe on the far left as well, are permanently inciting violence. 

STELTER: This does happen from time to time. Largely with people that our viewers have never heard of. Random, usually fringe accounts that do get suspended temporarily and you get a few warnings, you hit a few strikes, then you might get permanently banned. But never has a world leader been deplatformed like this. I’m talking Third World countries, dictatorships. We don’t see this happen from these platforms. We got more detail from Twitter, Wolf. I’m going to read here. It says, in determining whether to ban Trump’s permanently, Twitter took into account statements he made off-platform, meaning they weren’t just judging his tweets. They were judging his behavior at the Save America march and other statements he’s made. Twitter also saying we need all social platforms to do this more proactively. Often what is planned in a semi private space has bearing on the open web. So, Twitter is sending a message to other technology companies saying, we all, all of these companies, that have platforms on the internet, have to step up their performance and judge content more seriously. By the way, earlier today, Apple said that it may take action against Parler. Parler is that new social media network for far-right Trump supporters. That’s been speculation that Trump will just move over to that site instead. Apple is threatening to remove Parler from its App Store because of content moderation concerns. So, look, it’s the fourth year, all of this probably should have happened sooner. But these technology companies are trying to show some responsibility in the very last days of the Trump administration. 

BLITZER: It really is incredible.

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