Saturday, December 03, 2022

POOR RON DeSANTIS! (updated)

The 2024 Donald Trump presidential campaign is very much in danger of failing, but at a time when even MAGA diehards are wondering whether Trump has had his moment and should give way to the presumably more electable but equally malicious lib-hater Ron DeSantis, along comes Elon Musk with a lifeline for Trump:
Two years after the fact, Elon Musk — Twitter’s megabillionaire new owner — promoted the release of documents showing the company’s internal deliberations about blocking the New York Post’s account over its reporting on Hunter Biden.

The new disclosures, touted as “The Twitter Files,” were posted in a lengthy Twitter thread by investigative reporter and author Matt Taibbi (and retweeted by Musk). It’s based on “thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter,” according to Taibbi — shared with him, it would appear, with the blessing of Musk....

“Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe,'” Taibbi wrote. “They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.”
Normal people don't care. Normal people, even if they use Twitter, don't care about the machinations there, although they might be vaguely interested in what that Musk guy is up to. Twitter is not real life. In real life, people care about gas prices. They worry about crime and drug addiction and gun violence and abortion access and education and the sense that the country seems to be splitting apart. But normal people don't care about Hunter Biden's laptop. All through the midterms, when voters were asked what their top concerns were, Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't the answer they gave.

But Republicans care. Republicans aren't normal people. They're rage monsters hyped up on whatever they're fed by the right-wing media apparatus, which now includes Taibbi and Musk. They're deeply political in a way most normal people aren't. So maybe bots are the reason that #TrumpWasRightAboutEverything is trending on Twitter, but fake social media engegement is meant to influence real people, and if this is seen as a story about Trump rather than about evil tech libs, Trump benefits. No social media company has ever muted a story about Ron DeSantis this way. In the victimization sweepstakes, DeSantis loses.

This is just a moment, of course. It'll pass. But we know that House Republicans intend to hold endless hearings on Hunter Biden, and now I assume they'll toss in an inquisition on social media censorship, with this as the bloody shirt.*

Can DeSantis top that? He'll try. But he might not be able to compete with Trump's grievances.



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