Twitter Tyrants Silence Habitual Liars Project Veritas And Gateway Pundit, So Sad
Twitter permanently suspended the account of James O'Keefe's rightwing disinformation operation "Project Veritas" (Latin for worm vomit on thin spaghetti) Thursday, saying the permaban was imposed for "repeated violations of Twitter's private information policy." Twitter also temporarily suspended O'Keefe's personal account, although that was back up Friday. For now. The suspension came almost a week after Twitter also banhammered Jim Hoft, aka the Gateway Pundit, aka The Stupidest Man On the Internet, for constantly tweeting lies about the 2020 election. If you thought Twitter stank a little less lately, that may be why.
O'Keefe's stock-in-trade almost always involves using hidden cameras to catch people saying something that can be spun — usually with deceptive editing — as scandalous proof of horrific crimes or media bias. But this time, the video that got Project LieALot in trouble featured one of their "reporters," Christian Hartsock, right out in the open, with a Project VeganButthole emblem on his mic, ambushing Facebook VP Guy Rosen as he returns home from jogging (his first name is Guy. For once we're not calling someone a VP guy). Hartsock had important journalism questions to ask Rosen about a leaked video in which Rosen said Facebook can "freeze" comments on posts containing "hate speech," which we guess is the latest thing wingnuts are panicking about. We're not going down that rabbit hole and you can't make us.
Hartsock wanted to know what Rosen meant by "hate speech" anyway, presumably because, like "racism" or "white supremacy" or "unethical reporting," it's such a vague term that no one can possibly know what it is, much less silence patriots for it. As Rosen ignores him completely, Hartsock asks, "How do you define hate speech? Is it just speech that you hate?" Ooh, sick burn.
Not that that has anything to do with why the video (brave snowflakes can see it here) prompted Twitter to swing the banhammer. O'Keefe showed The Wrap a form email he'd received that said, "You may not publish or post other people's private information without their express authorization and permission, although it didn't get more specific.
The problem appears to be that the video briefly shows the numbers on a pole (it's a Facebook post!) in front of Rosen's house, although the actual street isn't named, so we suppose O'Keefe & Company would claim that's not quite doxxing. (Weirdly, the video does blur out the license plates of any cars parked on the street, but not the home address.) Here's a screenshot; Yr Wonkette has pixelated the house numbers for Mr. Rosen's privacy, and Project Vanitas's URL because ew.
O'Keefe told The Wrap it was totally unfair, because
Reporters with microphones [and] cameras engage in reporting activities on the streets all the time in residential communities, so I'm trying to understand what Twitter considers violating their rules against posting private information. Does Twitter consider reporting information the public has a right to know private information? This is quite the Rubicon we're crossing if Twitter wants to ban this particular piece of information.
He also took to his reactivated Tweeter account to post a video from CNN of a reporter talking to a woman on the sidewalk in front of her home; and what about THAT, huh? (The woman's house number is briefly seen near the end, though not as prominently as in the shot of Rosen's home.)
Twitter suspended @Project_Veritas for “repeated violations of the companies anti-doxxing policies.” Also known in… https://t.co/VnJgjMDDpP— James O'Keefe (@James O'Keefe)1613101850.0
At least the video itself is amusing, with the woman refusing to accept that her Trump gathering was organized on Facebook by a Russian disinfo account, because there weren't any Russians at the Trumperware party and she doesn't even know any Russians.
We suppose O'Keefe might even have a point, of sorts: House numbers do sometimes get shown on TV. We don't know whether TV stations or the industry have actual rules bout that, but it seems reasonable you'd want to avoid it — like pixelating license plates. But O'Keefe is definitely arguing in bad faith when he suggests the public has any need to know Guy Rosen's house number. It's just not relevant to the "story."
We'd also note that Twitter is not an actual television station, and it gets to set its own policies. Was the privacy thing a mere pretext? We don't know — Twitter hasn't shared any specifics, but perhaps there were other, similar privacy details in other Project Victimhood videos.
For that matter, Twitter would certainly be on solid ground had it banned the group for violating its "civic integrity" policy, which was the reason it cited when it also permabanned the Stupidest Man on the Internet, Gateway Pundit perpetrator Jim Hoft, for repeatedly spreading lies about the election and fake allegations of "voter fraud." Gosh what a shame. Predictably, Gateway Pundit insisted, with the site's usual accuracy, that O'Keefe and Project Vertiginous had been banned "for exposing Facebook."
Given O'Keefe's penchant for continually presenting bullshit claims of "voter fraud" where there isn't any, that would have been a fine reason tor Twitter to have rid itself of his propaganda outlet, too. In September, a joint study by scholars at Stanford and the University of Washington discussed in detail how Project Veritas created and promoted a video about alleged ballot harvesting in Minnesota that "made several falsifiable claims that have either been debunked by subsequent reporting or are without any factual support," and concluded that the video "stands as an interesting example of what a domestic, coordinated elite disinformation campaign looks like in the United States." (The report is also really good reading for media nerds!)
We can't say we're really feeling a lot of sympathy for these poor sad liars who'll have to take their lies elsewhere. Probably that means we hate Freedom.
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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.