Facebook, Twitter Won't Let Trump Lie About Pandemic And Kids, How Is That Even Fair?
Yesterday, Donald Trump visited with some of his only remaining friends, the friends on "Fox & Friends," so he could lie about virtually everything, as one does when on "Fox & Friends." It's sort of a cultural thing there. Among the many lies Trump told during the freaking hour he spent on the phone was this load of kinkajou bollocks about the coronavirus:
Trump insisted, yet again, that the virus will just go away (not true) and then said children are "almost, and I would almost say definitely, but almost IMMUNE from this disease." Not true, and It's actually worse than comments he made at his Big Coronavirus Transmission Party in Tulsa back in June, where he also downplayed the risk to young people, although he didn't claim they were in any sense "immune." Which, as we say, they are not. It's so completely untrue and irresponsible that Politifact may have to invent a new graphic for it.
It came as a "surprise" to TrumpWorld and assorted wingnuts when Twitter and Facebook both pulled videos of the clip that had been posted to their platforms, because Jesus Christ on a moped with one bad tire, while it's true that kids may be less susceptible to, and less badly affected by COVID-19, they are not "immune" in any sense of the word: Children can get the virus, transmit the virus, get sick from the virus, and suffer lifelong damage or die from the virus.
Private social media platforms removing a lie like "kids are immune" to coronavirus — which did we mention is a lie? — isn't "censoring" Donald Trump. It's minimally responsible corporate behavior.
Facebook straight up removed a copy of the clip from Trump's official account, explaining that the video "includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation." And Twitter froze a Trump campaign account that had posted the video, saying the clip "is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again." Trump's personal account had also retweeted the campaign's tweet; when the campaign took it down, the retweet went away, too.
The Trump campaign, as is its wont, enthusiastically lied about what Trump had even lied about on "Fox & Friends." Remember, Trump had said kids are "almost, and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune" to the virus. So what did the campaign spox say? They claimed Trump was merely "stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus."
If he'd actually said that, of course, the video probably wouldn't have been pulled, because that's merely a bad basis for rushing into reopening schools, not an outright lie.
CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy also offers this useful point about Trump's peddling of misinformation on his favorite source of misinformation, Fox News:
It's likely that Trump picked up the piece of misinformation about children being "almost immune" to the coronavirus from Fox News, and then simply repeated it back to the network's morning hosts. If you've watched the conservative cable channel, you know that arguments about children not being at high risk for coronavirus have saturated much of its coverage related to schools reopening.
"He regurgitated back to Fox News the same thing he hears on Fox News," tweeted Angelo Carusone, the head of the progressive watchdog Media Matters. "And now both Facebook and Twitter took the video down for violating [Terms of Service]. Fox News is the problem."
Bingo! it's yet another manifestation of the Fox-Trump Bullshit Feedback Matrix that has been making America stupid for years now. And as a bonus, Darcy observes, it turns out that — at long last — Facebook and Twitter actually have higher standards for what they'll allow on their platforms than the editorial standards in effect at Fox News. How's that for a depressing assessment of how bad things have gotten?
In conclusion, we're pretty sure we heard the ghost of Edward R Murrow vomiting just now, the end.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.