Cuba Guantanamo

They call it “Twitmo” instead of Gitmo on the “Break the Media Blackout” Facebook page. That’s where Twitter has apparently been sending individuals who have been tweeting too much on the Kermit Gosnell abortion trial, suspending accounts and putting users in a virtual “time out” until they check off a few boxes in a “I promise to behave” form.

Yesterday I ended up a detainee, my accounted frozen until I promised the Twitter gods that I would abide by a vague collection of rules that are selectively enforced by nameless faceless Twitter moderators.

At 12:38 p.m. I posted a story on the media blackout of the Gosnell case, and throughout the day I used the #Gosnell hashtag:

• Ignoring #Gosnell infanticide, #MSNBC investigates if #GOP voters too #prolife

• Thanks for all your work on bringing light to the #Gosnell case, @leslieps918. http://wtim.es/XwD0bs #prolife #tcot #CNN #NBC #ABC #CBS

• Talked media bias on #Gosnell w @AndyParksTWT, DC’s 102.9 FM. http://wtim.es/1241drp @iowahawkblog’s great observations mentioned. #tcot

• . @TheRevAl leads #MSNBC show ranting about #RandPaul talking to minorities. No talk of #Gosnell murdering minorities. #ProLife #tcot

Only moments after Tweeting Al Sharpton, my account was suspended for sending “multiple unsolicited mentions” to other users. I have used Twitter for years in the same manner and have never been banned, and my last mentions to Al Sharpton that I know of were February 1 and September 26, 2012:

• #TawanaBrawley found after decades, served court order for defamation case – http://wtim.es/Xd57YW Any reaction, @TheRevAl? #apologize

• #MSNBC’s Politics Nation: You’re a racist, but Tawana Brawley isn’t mentioned @BlackEaglePower @TheRevAl #tcot… http://wp.me/pOtV7-1bM

Is it unacceptable to tweet Reverend Al Sharpton a handful of times over the course of months, when his cable news show on MSNBC routinely casts conservatives as racists, bigots, sexists and homophobes? Are the objects of his slander not allowed to respond to him directly? On Twitter, that may be the case.

Al Sharpton Twitter

So millions of viewers are allowed to be told that guys like me are racists, but if I take a moment out of my day once in a blue moon to tell Al Sharpton that he’s a man who made his career peddling lies, I get my account frozen? Unbelievable. What would happen if I reminded Al of the time he ruined a man’s career by accusing him of raping a black woman and smearing feces on her face when, in reality, it was all just a hoax? I’d probably be banished to a Twitter gulag forever.

Although, there is another possibility: I ended up in “Twitmo” for simply using the hastag #Gosnell in ways that made too many pro-choice Twitter users upset. Armed with the spam button, they are notorious for getting conservative accounts suspended (‘Twitter gulag’ is what some users call their probationary period).

Testimony from the “Break the Media Blackout” page include:

• Catherine Contreras: Ugh! Suspended from Twitter! How long does Time Out last?? Using other account in the meantime

•Markie Marie Works: I’m in Twitmo and I haven’t even tweeted that much,?????

•Rebecca De Anda Boucher: second twitter account…win!

• Karen Elizabeth Clark: Twitter says I am over my limit of tweets for today … I have never seen that before on Twitter

• Philip A Hagen: Twitter is censoring this movement. Time to take it to our local news stations?

• Sabrina L Beaz UGGG I just got suspended again! Dang Twitmo

• Yvette Gonzales So I just tried to get into my Twitter acct and I’m blocked right now.

The Kermit Gosnell case is shaping up to be not just a murder trial, but an examination of free speech in America. On one hand we have media outlets that have abdicated their role to provide citizens with timely, comprehensive and important stories. Why would Al Sharpton lead his show with a day old story on Rand Paul when social media sites everywhere were exploding about the Gosnell case? In another segment, he talked about how guys like Paul Ryan were too pro-choice for at least five minutes and not once did Gosnell come up with anyone on the panel.

On the other side of the debate we have grassroots conservatives covering a story, only to be blocked on social media platforms because of rules that are seemingly enforced in full when conservatives shift momentum in their favor.

The Kermit Gosnell case is far from over, and whether or not The Associated Press, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS or Twitter moderators are happy about it, conservatives aren’t going away without a fight.

All Sharpton can use his nationally syndicated talk show to call conservatives racists, bigots, sexists and homophobes every day. Take the rare occasion to call him out on his hypocrisy and he'll have your account suspended.
Al Sharpton can use his nationally syndicated talk show to call conservatives racists, bigots, sexists and homophobes every day. Take the rare occasion to call him out on his hypocrisy and he’ll have your account suspended. If Twitter existed decades ago, he’d probably would have used the platform to falsely claim cops smeared feces on Tawana Brawley.
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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

11 comments

    1. Sharpton is a joke, but the tactics he and his ideological allies use are most definitely serious. He is not a smart man, but he is still incredibly frightening.

  1. Twitter’s a stacked deck. No surprise there. A story this week exposed the fact that some Hollywood stars, singer, and pols have — gasp!– fake twitter followers.

    In a computer class a guy I know (who is a genius programmer) demonstrated a robot that could open thousands of Twitter accounts in minutes (FB too) and that of course could be used to blackball anyone you want with a flurry of bans, etc.

    The fact that they’re reacting in their typical “screw your free speech’ manner means you’re making an impact and are a danger to them.

    Congratulations.

  2. the right-wing meme-machine is successfully pushing this story, congratulations, and also thank you. if not for your diligence this Nation article may never have been written, putting this case into a broader political context:

    A great deal has been written about Dr. Kermit Gosnell and the shocking conditions and practices at his facility, which was closed last March after a drug raid, and is back in the news because a grand jury has indicted him and nine employees for murder in the deaths of one woman and seven infants. There have been many calls for further restrictions on abortion, much revulsion expressed at post-viability abortions, much blame cast on prochoicers for supposedly doing nothing to stop him. But it has not been pointed out often enough that what Dr. Gosnell was doing was illegal in Pennsylvania. It is not legal to perform abortions after twenty-four weeks. It is not legal to slit the necks of born-alive fetuses at any age, much less at thirty weeks or even more. It is not legal for untrained, unlicensed employees to perform medical procedures.

    Now prochoicers are being blamed for this rogue operator. The grand jury report suggests that Tom Ridge, Republican governor from 1995 to 2001, discontinued inspections because prochoicers claimed they were too burdensome. The ones I talked to were skeptical. “We never lobbied against inspection,” Carol Tracy of the Women’s Law Project, which represents clinics in Pennsylvania, told me by phone. She pointed out that under Ridge’s Democratic predecessor, Bob Casey, who was famously opposed to legal abortion, Gosnell’s clinic was inspected three times, and each time serious problems were found. Nothing was done. Perhaps it’s relevant that Gosnell’s patients were poor, many of them immigrants—like 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar from Nepal, with whose murder Gosnell has been charged—who may not even have known that safe and legal abortion is available here.

    1. why edit calling me a loser to telling me to grow up? both are cop-out non-responses to the article I posted.

    2. One comment is apparent to anyone who reads your response; the other is a bit of advice that upon a little self reflection, maybe you’ll take.

      You say I’m “partisan”? (Shocker: Conservative guy is conservative). Lizard is partisan to partisan. You only want to talk about what you want to talk about. This is a post about free speech and media bias, and you want to talk about Tom Ridge.

      No thanks. Not today. Not with you.

    3. got it. so this case you are trolling people over and getting your twitter account suspended over is not a case you want to actually know more about because, as a cog in the right-wing meme-machine, you don’t actually care about what happened in this case and why. no, it’s just an opportunity for you and your ilk to throw tantrums over the liberal bias in the media.

      and after calling me a loser for providing your readers a bit more context, you edit your own comment because you probably can see how badly you come off in your childish response.

  3. What context? Excuse-making by pro-choice zealots (from a magazine that still thinks Alger Hiss was innocent, to demonstrate their tenuous grip on reality). People who note that Gosnell’s actions were illegal, yet defend Barack Obama for voting against protections for born-alive survivors of abortions.

    Oh, and Tom Ridge was pro-choice. That somehow wasn’t mentioned by the author. And Planned Parenthood/NARAL have repeatedly opposed attempts to increase regulation of abortion clinics, never mind their rhetoric now that Gosnell’s a bit of an embarrassment.

    The real point of Gosnell is that he represents the slippery slope of pro-choice arguments. Oops, the fetus survived, so why should any pro-choice person care if the “neo-nate” is killed in some gruesome way. Five minutes earlier they wouldn’t have cared if a third trimester fetus with a fully developed nervous system was yanked apart, so what’s the big deal now that it’s out of the womb? THAT is the real lesson of Gosnell. It forces the pro-choice community to look in a mirror, and so they’re attempting to divert in every way possible. Thanks for linking The Nation’s attempt, Lizard, it was very educational on that front.

    1. born-alive survivors of abortions? do you have a link so I can read more about how Obama is standing in the way of protecting born-alive survivors of abortions?

      what you don’t seem to get, Josh, is even if the pro-lifers got their way and made all abortions illegal, the market forces of supply and demand would continue. it would be a black market, of course, and evil people like this asshole would be more likely the type of person a desperate woman would go to. is that what you want?

      if conservatives were actually serious about REDUCING abortions, they would support funding health care for women, especially poor women, to ensure they have access to contraception and other health care needs. they would support sex education in schools instead of idiotic “abstinence only” approaches.

      conservatives are creating an environment where more unwanted pregnancies are happening to women with less support. that is a recipe for disaster. in Montana, Democrats had to sacrifice 500 state jobs in order to keep Republicans from rejecting millions in Title X funds. if you want to know what those funds do, read this:

      – Last year, nearly 26,000 Montanans from every one of the 56 counties used the 25 clinics that provide health screenings and contraceptives at low or no cost to patients with low income.

      – Sixty percent of women using these clinics used them as their primary or sole source for health care.

      – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ranks the Title X family planning program as one of the most cost effective public programs in the country.

      – Montana Medicaid pays the bills for 40 percent of all births in this state, but low-income women of childbearing age generally only qualify for Medicaid after they become pregnant.

      – Federal law FORBIDS SPENDING any Title X money on abortion services and clinics are audited to make sure that rule is followed.

      did you see that FORBIDS SPENDING part Josh? I capitalized it so it stands out. of course, that didn’t seem to bother Montana Republicans one bit. it’s starting to seem like they just want poor people to suffer.

      The real point of Gosnell is that he represents the slippery slope of pro-choice arguments. Oops, the fetus survived, so why should any pro-choice person care if the “neo-nate” is killed in some gruesome way. Five minutes earlier they wouldn’t have cared if a third trimester fetus with a fully developed nervous system was yanked apart, so what’s the big deal now that it’s out of the womb?

      if the Gosnell victims survived, how many conservative pro-lifers would see them as just more poor minority sucklers of the government teat?

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