MSNBC’s Ruhle Urges Twitter to Ban Trump Over Lebron James Tweet

During Monday’s MSNBC Live With Velshi & Ruhle, anchor Stephanie Ruhle was so outraged over President Trump criticizing NBA star Lebron James in a tweet that she urged the social media platform to ban the commander-in-chief. In a later segment, she also renewed her call for Facebook to be “shut down” over concerns about Russian-backed fake accounts.

During a panel discussion that focused on hyperventilating over Trump slamming James in a Friday tweet, Ruhle fretted: “According to The New York Times, Trump has insulted someone via Twitter at least 487 times. Is there a point in which Twitter says, ‘This is a violation of our ethics, we’re gonna shut you down’?”  

The anchor directed that question to Recode Executive Editor Kara Swisher, who seemed to endorse the idea: “Oh, funny you should say that, I’m writing about that this week, in the next column.” However, Swisher lamented: “I think Twitter has sort of laid out the position that, ‘He’s the president and what he says is important, and therefore, we’re going to publish it.’ I think there is a Rubicon he could cross, but he hasn’t crossed it yet, for Twitter at least. And it’s hard to say what it would take to do that.”

She implored: “And so the question is, you know, will some of these social media companies which have a lot of power start to throttle things back?”

How important are these platforms to society? Last week I suggested, listen, if it was a drug company and there was one bottle of Tylenol that could kill someone, on the bottle, Tylenol would say, “I have to take every bottle off the shell to figure out which one that would be.” I suggested that and people said that’s crazy because you have to factor in all the people who depend on platforms like Facebook for their business, as their only way of communication.

The host wondered: “Is it naive to say they should shut down until they have this sorted?” Swisher bluntly replied: “Yeah, it is, actually.” The tech writer went on to explain: “You know, I think the issue is it’s not so much shut down. I think it’s – you know, people like to compare it to cigarette manufacturers or Tylenol, things like that. I mean it’s sort of like fire, you don’t know if it’s going to warm your house or burn it down.”

Wrapping up the exchange, Ruhle wistfully imagined: “My gosh, Kara, imagine if people were no longer allowed political rants on Facebook. I’d say that would be more enjoyable and more fun….God, wouldn’t it be better to never see that stuff in your feed?”

It’s disturbing that the first instinct of the liberal media – which claims to staunchly support the First Amendment – is to enforce blanket censorship and “shut down” online platforms.

Here are excerpts from both of the August 6 segments on Velshi & Ruhle:

STEPHANIE RUHLE: On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” Trump was referring to a CNN interview in which James criticized the president as being divisive.

RUHLE: Kara, according to The New York Times, Trump has insulted someone via Twitter at least 487 times. Is there a point in which Twitter says, “This is a violation of our ethics, we’re gonna shut you down.”     

KARA SWISHER [RECODE EXECUTIVE EDITOR]: Oh, funny you should say that, I’m writing about that this week, in the next column. You know, I don’t think so. I think Twitter has sort of laid out the position that, “He’s the president and what he says is important, and therefore, we’re going to publish it.” I think there is a Rubicon he could cross, but he hasn’t crossed it yet, for Twitter at least. And it’s hard to say what it would take to do that. And so the question is, you know, will some of these social media companies which have a lot of power start to throttle things back?

(…)
    
11:45 AM ET

RUHLE: How important are these platforms to society? Last week I suggested, listen, if it was a drug company and there was one bottle of Tylenol that could kill someone, on the bottle, Tylenol would say, “I have to take every bottle off the shell to figure out which one that would be.” I suggested that and people said that’s crazy because you have to factor in all the people who depend on platforms like Facebook for their business, as their only way of communication. Is it naive to say they should shut down until they have this sorted?

SWISHER: Yeah, it is, actually.

SWISHER: You know, I think the issue is it’s not so much shut down. I think it’s – you know, people like to compare it to cigarette manufacturers or Tylenol, things like that. I mean it’s sort of like fire, you don’t know if it’s going to warm your house or burn it down. And so, it has both abilities. And the issue, I think, for a lot of these companies is can they – there’s parts they could shut down. There’s areas around political ads they could, you know, try to control better, shutting down is one way of doing it. But what I think they have to do is put a lot of resources into it. And I think there’s been not enough resources.

RUHLE: My gosh, Kara, imagine if people were no longer allowed political rants on Facebook. I’d say that would be more enjoyable and more fun.

RUHLE: Kara, thank you so much for joining me.

SWISHER: Thanks a lot, Stephanie.

RUHLE: God, wouldn’t it be better to never see that stuff in your feed?     

    

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