My guess is that if you asked the staff and reporters at NPR if they think censorship is okay, they would reply with a resounding ‘no’. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, these things are critical tenants of our American sensibilities, deeply rooted and important.
With that in mind, it is outrageous down to our trembling, climate-changing-toes that they printed an article with a substantial 10%-down-grade, runaway-truck-ramp kind of political slant.
The article is titled “Twitter Removes Thousands Of QAnon Accounts, Promises Sweeping Ban On The Conspiracy.” This literary masterpiece was crafted by Bobby Allyn, published on July 21, 2020, midday.
Ultimately, Twitter has deleted 7,000 user accounts based on the user’s real or alleged connection to QAnon. The company provided notice to all users on July 20, 2020 that 7,000 accounts had been removed over the preceding several weeks and that another 150,000 accounts could be affected. The title of NPR’s article tags QAnon as “the conspiracy” (when what they really mean is ‘a conspiracy theory’). The article becomes more problematic in the first paragraph when Mr. Allyn describes QAnon as “a loose group of online provocateurs who support President Trump and spread absurd claims about forces supposedly attempting to topple the president.” The entire sentence smells of a pile of burning journalistic integrity. “Provocateurs” is a loaded word, “absurd claims” is an overstatement, and associating the violence with Trump is no more valid than holding Joe Biden responsible for the violent acts being demonstrated nationally, by thousands of individuals who have caused injuries, violence, murder, and extensive property damage throughout the nation in the name of social justice. Throughout the article, NPR connects the actions of two individuals as the doings of QAnon-loving-Trump-loving-crazies, (presumably they couldn’t find more than two examples of such misbehavior or they would have certainly included them in the article.) Of those two offenses, one was an egregious murder of mob boss Frank Cali and happened in March of 2019 (not mentioned by NPR) and the other appears to basically be a parking violation in February of 2020. Again, had there been current examples of misbehavior from individuals tied to QAnon thinking, NPR would have mentioned that.
NPR further quotes two university-industry individuals; the first is a professor at UNC, Alice “hey guys” Marwick (@alicetiara), who is cited by NPR as “studying disinformation” – ironic to say the least, considering the disinformation in the article. (I guess she needs to do some more studying.) The second, Sarah Roberts (@ubiquity75) from UCLA is a strong supporter of SJW activities and the violent protests that are happening in Portland, although she appears to be afraid to post much on Twitter from her own thinking and quietly, safely relies on the Retweet button to express her disdain for local law enforcement.
Clearly NPR condones Twitter’s move. Allyn carefully inserts opinion over fact with poetic descriptions like “shadowy figure” and “warped worldview” to lead the reader, or at least NPR’s political base of supporters, into a land of good-v.-evil, in which Liberals are laboring hunched from the weight of their own golden halos and Conservatives are mowing down peaceful protesters, in their jacked-up, Ford F-150s with 3 or more AKA’s in the window gun rack.
This is not excellence in journalism. Really great reporting presents the facts and allows those facts to speak for themselves. NPR editors need to understand that presenting the facts in a careful way, and a lot of them, allows minds to be changed – clearly they don’t trust their readers. By presenting a slanted, toilet-watered delivery of an important subject, they are not gaining followers, for the company or for their political outlook. Ah, but then again, that wouldn’t keep the base of donors and sponsors happy, now would it.
Journalistic integrity. NPR has lost its way, apparently a long time ago.
Worse yet, NPR is supporting censorship by giving Twitter a pat on the bum for putting duct tape on the mouths of those they don’t agree with. Even if you abhor what is being said, you should have even greater fear and hatred of censorship. Allow it, and soon, when the winds change, you will be the victim instead, along with most college professors. It’s a simple choice – either we allow freedom of expression for flat-earthers, birthers, and JFK assassination fanatics or we open the door to future censorship of our OWN thoughts, beliefs, and tweets. You don’t have to agree with what’s being said to understand the merits of allowing it. Far more appropriate would have been for the great and capable minds at NPR to do a story discussing and evaluating whether or not Twitter’s move was one of censorship. Now that might have been a good read!