NYT’s Manjoo Plays Left-Wing Twitter Cop Again: Should Trump Tweets Face ‘Censure’?

July 5th, 2018 6:09 PM

New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo has shown himself eager to be the left-wing Internet politics czar. In 2014, he explained why tech executive Brendan Eich had to go under the headline: “Why Mozilla’s Chief Had to Resign.” Eich’s crime? Donating $1000 to a California measure to ban same-sex marriage.

Manjoo also urged cracking down on wrong-think on Twitter in November 2017, by “look[ing] to the community for determining the rights of people on the platform.” In other words, letting activists ban those who disagree.

His latest social media policing comes in Thursday’s Business Day, where he spent 1,400 words trying to start an employee uprising at Twitter, and apparently begging the social media platform to “censure” the President: “Trump Leads Twitter Astray, but Will It Fight Back – Coarsening Discourse Puts Workers in Bind.”

Manjoo notes liberal employees of Microsoft, Amazon, and Google were reconsidering federal contracts in the Trump era:

But it’s premature to declare those giant tech companies as suddenly woke. The government contracts in question are inconsequential to their fortunes.

A better test of tech-worker activism would involve a company with a primary product that is being used to inject misinformation and authoritarian speech into mainstream conversation -- and, more to the point, a company that appears to have directly benefited from the toxic flood of political vitriol in which all of us are now drowning.

In other words: Will there be an employee uprising at Twitter?

He noted that chief executive Jack Dorsey is an outspoken liberal, but he’s not squelching speech sufficiently to please the columnist:

But Twitter’s real-world effect has hardly been a liberal panacea. Around the world and particularly in the United States, Twitter is used every day to infuse misogyny, racial and ethnic animus and conspiratorial thinking into mainstream news coverage.

So no liberals engage in “misogyny, racial and ethnic animus and conspiratorial thinking”? For misogyny see: Bee, Samantha. And Twitter is full of more left-wing Trump-Russia conspiracies than one can count:

And Twitter is obviously the favored tool of President Trump, who has recently picked up the pace of his tweeting. The president often uses the service to seed threats and falsehoods into the world -- falsehoods that are then picked up and amplified by supporters and critics alike, ricocheting to deafening effect across the news.

The tension between Twitter’s liberal employee base and the service’s role in news and politics has only heightened recently....

To the news that “Twitter is making an unexpected, somewhat miraculous comeback,” Manjoo responded soggily, “Perhaps. But at what cost to the world?”

He sided with Twitter’s liberal staff in dismissing conservative complaints:

....Mr. Dorsey’s decision -- earlier reported by The Washington Post -- to meet with conservative pundits who have accused the platform of liberal bias did not sit well with many workers.

(The Media Research Center is one of those voices fighting the censoring of conservative voices among social media companies.)

After all, isn’t there enough evidence already that conversations on Twitter aren’t very healthy?

Physician, heal thyself; Manjoo has tweeted some 173,000 times since signing on to the service way back in March 2007. He notoriously lied about his Twitter use in a column earlier this year about having “unplugged” from the platform, while actually tweeting nearly every day.

Another problem with Twitter: Too many men use it:

....the service has actually turned the political news media into an even more male-dominated echo chamber.

Manjoo suggested Trump could face “censure” on Twitter for failing “to promote a healthy public conversation.” And who will get to define that? People who think like Manjoo, of course. How convenient:

Sooner or later, Twitter’s executives and employees are going to have to make a decision about which is more important, Mr. Trump’s tweets or the company’s desire to promote a healthy public conversation. It’s hard to see how both are tenable.