Twitter has given conservative “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos a lifetime ban. The reason: Some of his followers sent Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones racist messages. Given that your friendly neighborhood blogger was once banned from Twitter after calling out the company for not punishing the guy who threatened to kill me, I figured this story might be worth a YouTube video.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think of Milo, Twitter’s selective enforcement of its own code of conduct, online trolls, and Ms. Jones. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Update: Twitter refused to verify my account despite the fact that I’ve worked with a major newspaper in Washington, D.C., for years. Classic!

Twitter verify

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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.

5 comments

  1. I like what you said about how conservatives need to engage the culture. That’s something that’s been really missing. “The culture” has a very liberal bent to it, not because the majority of people have very liberal views, but because conservatives traditionally have really walked away and refused to engage. That is also part of the reason why conservative candidates are perceived as being so disconnected from the people and not having their interests at heart.

    I blogged about Milo today, too. Free speech, social engineering, and internet harassment, what it is and what it isn’t, are all issues that interest me.

    1. “I like what you said about how conservatives need to engage the culture. That’s something that’s been really missing. ‘The culture’ has a very liberal bent to it, not because the majority of people have very liberal views, but because conservatives traditionally have really walked away and refused to engage. That is also part of the reason why conservative candidates are perceived as being so disconnected from the people and not having their interests at heart.”

      I’ve said this a ton of times over the years, so I apologize if you’ve read it before in the comments section: Years ago I used to work with a lot of social conservatives and the vast majority of them wanted absolutely nothing to do with popular culture. They were ironically tasked with figuring out ways to convince young people of the merits of conservatism. When I tried to explain to them that disconnecting from popular culture had the practical effect of turning them into American aliens, they didn’t get it. Just saying, “Liberty, liberty, freedom, freedom, Constitution, etc.,” to young people means nothing. As depressing as it is, going through 12 years of public school in the U.S. these days turns most of these kids into zombies.

      It is so frustrating to see conservatives who are good people make total fools out of themselves because they have no idea how foreign they sound to millions of their fellow Americans.

      “I blogged about Milo today, too. Free speech, social engineering, and internet harassment, what it is and what it isn’t, are all issues that interest me.”

      You know that you are free to plug your blog around here, right? 😉 If I write on something and you’ve done similar work, through a link in the comments section. I hope people check it out.

  2. Is it a matter of free speech, though? I’m really asking here. I see a lot of people talking about this (“it’s a public forum”/”it’s their website”), and it just seems to go in circles. And I doubt as many people would care about this if Twitter was remotely consistent with its rules. I mean, how many ISIS accounts are still active? I don’t particularly like Milo myself; honestly, I think he’s a jackass. He’s basically the male Ann Coulter; every time he makes one good point, there are at least a dozen examples of him mouthing off and thinking that somehow proves him right. I’ve even seen more than one commentator suggest Milo was really asking for it during this fiasco. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be irritated at Twitter all the same.

    I think there’s more of a middle ground here a lot of people arguing about this ignore. Twitter needs to get its act together–make the rules clear and not be so arbitrary. (i mean, was it just Milo who was banned? What about the people who tweeted those things?) As for Milo, I would’ve banned him, but a lifetime ban seems more and more excessive the more I think about it. It should’ve been like a month tops and with a warning to tread carefully from there on out.

    And you’re right, conservatives need to engage in the culture. I guess it’s a case-by-case basis. (Like go on Fallon’s show since he’s more likely to be fair rather than a hack like Colbert. Besides, Fallon gets better ratings.) Some of the younger pols are certainly better at, but they got a real stigma they have to break through, and it’s seems like so few overall are willing to try. I mean, some conservatives come across as repressed and out of it as Principal Skinner:

    When you were talking about culture, I kept thinking of Andrew Breitbart. He had his eyes on the prize, but few (such as those who took over his site after he passed) seemed to get it. If he was still here, he probably would’ve roundly condemned Twitter for its practices several times by now, as well as smacked Milo upside the head for his practices.

    1. “Is it a matter of free speech, though? I’m really asking here. I see a lot of people talking about this (“it’s a public forum”/”it’s their website”), and it just seems to go in circles. And I doubt as many people would care about this if Twitter was remotely consistent with its rules.”

      There is a reason why my headline explicitly mentions “selective rules enforcement” and not free speech, my friend. 😉 I’m messing with you. But seriously, there is a free speech element here. Think about someone like Mark Zuckerberg, who is (at least behind the scenes) very active in politics. Facebook isn’t just “some” company, and neither is Twitter. Facebook has over 1 billion users, and I’m not using Dan Aykroyd math there… If Facebook acts as a de facto propaganda are for the state, and it has a nasty habit of quashing speech that challenges the state, then we have a First Amendment debate on our hands. The same goes with Twitter.

      The companies haven’t gone full Hugo Chavez. We’ll just say that they’ve gone “Soft Chavez,” which sounds like a sexual insult…but I really didn’t mean it that way. Heh.

      So the question becomes: Why is there selective rules enforcement? Inquiring minds want to know and it appears as though they really do have a thing against conservative/libertarian thought. After Facebook was accused of skewing its newsfeed in favor of liberal stories there was about a two week period where stories showed up for me where I was like, “Okay, well, that would have never showed up in my feed if it weren’t for the biased accusation.” But now it seems as though Facebook has said, “Did we weather the storm? Can we go back to normal? Go to sleep, conservatives. Go to sleep. Shhhhhhhhhh.”

      “I don’t particularly like Milo myself; honestly, I think he’s a jackass. He’s basically the male Ann Coulter; every time he makes one good point, there are at least a dozen examples of him mouthing off and thinking that somehow proves him right. I’ve even seen more than one commentator suggest Milo was really asking for it during this fiasco. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be irritated at Twitter all the same.”

      He also rubs me the wrong way a lot of the time, which is why I stared out the video that he relishes the “troll” label in many ways. He’s just a crafty troll in that he really doesn’t say anything that is worthy of a ban, or certainly not a lifetime ban.

      “When you were talking about culture, I kept thinking of Andrew Breitbart. He had his eyes on the prize, but few (such as those who took over his site after he passed) seemed to get it. If he was still here, he probably would’ve roundly condemned Twitter for its practices several times by now, as well as smacked Milo upside the head for his practices.”

      Breitbart was of the “merry prankster” role, which I think is quite different from a “troll.” He loved to debate and could throw out sharp jabs when necessary with a smile on his face, but he wasn’t mean…and he didn’t go out of his way to hit someone with a low blow.

  3. Once a franchise/business is run by a bunch of liberal hypocrites, it basically stays that way. It’s folly to think Twitter or Facebook for that matter can be shamed or pressured into changing in any meaningful way.

    However it can be outed and shunned, Salon and Slate got stupid after some initial fanfare, most people consider them garbage now. When internet liberal ‘warriors’ tell you it’s a business and they can ban whoever they want, they are really telling to shut up so their favorite little space doesn’t lose support. They don’t believe that crap for one second, they think every business should have it’s associative powers be strictly controlled…by them, for their benefit.

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