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Tuesday, June 9, 2020
In Attack on Twitter, The Propaganda Loop Between MRC, Trump Closes
Topic: Media Research Center

When Twitter attached a fact-check to a tweet from President Trump that falsely fearmongered about mail-in voting, the Media Research Center reacted as expected: by using it boost its failing war against social media for purportedly discriminating against conservatives.

The meltdown started in a May 27 post by Corinne Weaver:

Twitter has long threatened to label certain tweets from President Donald Trump. Now it finally has used the liberal media to fact-check his tweets.

A tweet from the president that discussed mail-in ballots was labeled as an “unsubstantiated claim” by Twitter. When Trump tweeted, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” A bright blue sentence was added by the social media platform at the bottom of the tweet, which said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The label led to a Twitter Events page, which said, “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”

The statement continued, “These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”

Weaver didn't contradict the fact-check, just complained that its sources were "liberal."

Alexander Hall then served up a post hyperbolically headlined "RNC Chair SCORCHES Twitter for Trump Voter Fraud Fact-Check, Citing Liberal Media," in which Ronna McDaniel assailed the Twitter fact-checking system as "a joke" and offered only anecdotal evidence to contradict the fact-check, which didn't bolster Trump's original claim that mail-in voting is "substantially fraudulent." Hall later whined that "liberal journalists from all corners of the internet came out of the woodwork" to support Twitter's fact-check.

Perpetually angry MRC writer Nicholas Fondacaro found a new enemy, huffing that "Twitter’s in-house fact-checker was an anti-Trump activist who had leveled many false accusations against the President" -- in fact, Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of site integrity, didn't do the fact-check -- then complained that evening newscaasts "scoffed" at Trump's "understandably angry reaction."

The MRC then went into to victim mode with a post by an anonymously written post claiming to identify "33 Examples of Twitter’s Anti-Conservative Bias" that began by declaring, "President Donald Trump is right that social media companies have been targeting conservatives." But given that Twitter users post millions upon millions of posts each day, the fact that the MRC could find only 33 examples of "anti-conservative bias" isn't persuasive.

Hall returned to gush that Trump was about to issue an executive order in retaliation for Twitter fact-checking his tweet, softing declaring that "Twitter’s choice to fact-check the president’s genuine concern over the hazards of mail-in voting appear to have been the last straw." Hall then played whataboutism, accusing Twitter of allowing "other forms of Chinese government propaganda to remain on the platform. Hall further gushed over how "working on legislation to strip Twitter of federal protections that ensure the company is not held liable for what is posted on its platform," adding that "social media may be in for a reckoning."

MRC chief Brent Bozell had to weigh in, of course: "President Trump is right. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech firms are guilty of censoring conservatives and their protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be reviewed." Bozell did not explain how fact-checking Trump had suddenly become "censorship."

All of this inevitably led to a closing of the propaganda loop between Trump and the MRC, as an anonymous writer crowed:

President Donald Trump hit back at Big Tech bias by signing an “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” in the Oval Office on Thursday. And he relied on information from the Media Research Center’s TechWatch to do it.

Before Trump signed the executive order that interprets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), he showcased a blog by NewsBusters MRC TechWatch staff writer Corinne Weaver headlined “Mueller Report Twitter Moments: 76 Anti-Trump Tweets, Just 1 Pro-Trump.”

Remember: This is all about power and influence and destroying any media outlet or social media platform that isn't sufficiently right-wing.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 9:29 PM EDT

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