Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center has slobbered over Donald Trump's new social media operation, Truth Social, while also censoring the numerous financial and management questions surrounding it. As the launch date neared, MRC writer Alexander Hall ramped up the slobbering.
"FREE SPEECH!" Hall declared in the headline of a Jan. 7 post cheering that a launch date had been announced:
Former President Donald Trump’s Big Tech alternative platform Truth Social will reportedly go online on Presidents Day in February.
Presidents Day will have a powerful new association with liberation for many Americans in 2022. “Trump Media and Technology Group, former President Donald Trump’s new company, indicated Thursday it’s planning to launch a social media platform February 21, more than a year after Trump was banned from Facebook and Twitter,” Forbes reported Jan. 6. Truth Social is viewable in preview form on Apple’s online app store, including screenshots of a sleek interface very similar to Twitter, but touting inclusivity for all ideologies. Screenshots indicate a similar newsfeed structure and red check mark verification badges.
Far from being an exclusively conservative platform, Truth Social boasted of a “Big Tent” approach as a selling point and compared itself to the bipartisan public gathering both polarization and the pandemic have driven to near extinction:
The press release quoted Trump hailing the launch of his social media empire as a new era for the United States: “America is ready for TRUTH Social, and the end to cancel culture."
Of course, Hall didn't mention the whole inciting-insurrection thing that got Trump banned from Facebook and Twitter, or that none of the people involved in the venture are known for taking a "big tent" approach to viewpoints they disagree with.
When Truth Social finally launched, it was like Christmas Day for Hall, as he wrote in a Feb. 21 post headlined "Happy President's Day!" that reads not unlike a press release:
Former President Donald Trump’s Big Tech alternative platform Truth Social has gone online.
Truth Social has met the ambitious President’s Day headline and is currently the #1 most popular app in the Social Media category on Apple’s app store. “An alternative social media platform backed by former President Donald Trump went live on Monday, becoming available for download on Apple's App Store — but access to the service appears limited for now,” CNN reported Feb. 21.
“Truth social begins today! It’s very cool,” former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declared on Twitter. “They are limiting the number of signups per day at first - so be patient and sign up early. No more silencing our voices!”
Hall went on to tout an endorsement of the site from one of the most divisive and inflammatory right-wing activists out there:
Other popular Trump supporting commentators celebrated the launch as well. “I’m on Truth Social! As the only Member of Congress to have had my personal @Twitter account banned, I understand what millions of conservatives have gone through having their personal freedom of speech stolen from them by Big Tech for not parroting the approved messaging,” Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) explained in a tweet.
Greene condemned the political powers that be for failing to prevent the rise of censorship on legacy platforms, lamenting that “when it comes to freedom of speech, Congress has failed and stood by while Big Tech & Big Media reigns over information with an iron fist.” She appeared to imply that Truth Social may provide a “competition in the market place” in the same way that “a restaurant with bad food & service will go out of business when a new restaurant with good food & service opens.”
Hall concluded with another PR-rep-worthy outburst:
Truth Social reportedly has a massive waitlist of people who are all signing up to have their own profiles on the platform. CNET reported that the platform has been strained by its massive popularity in its first day, as many users have been “placed on a waitlist after signing up. ‘Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist,’ read the message, which included a waitlist number. People who preordered Truth Social had the app automatically downloaded to their iPhones.”
As to be expected from Hall, all this PR hype is highly divergent from the truth. The back end of Truth Social is a mess; the day before the launch, a reporter was able to get the @realDonaldTrump handle (it has since been stripped from him). The massive backup in signups on launch day is actually a bug, not a feature. And far from being the "big tent" site Hall told us it would be, its terms of service blocks users who "disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site"; in practice, that meant an account under the name @DevinNunesCow -- the same handle that mocks former congressman and current Trump Media & Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes, who actually sued Twitter in an attempt to shut down that particular form of free speech -- was banned.
A couple weeks later, Truth Social was still having trouble getting people signed up, making it a fairly lonely place, and even Trump's inner circle has demonstrated little interest in the platform, and Trump himself isn't even using it.But Hall's readers don't know about any of this because he (nor anyone else at the MRC) hasn't written about Truch Social since launch day.
Apparently, even he knows it's a dog and that all the mindless PR he serves up isn't going to change that.