Twitter has suspended Alex Jones from using their platform for 7 days, after his call for viewers to “get [their] battle rifles ready, because they’re coming” in a recent Periscope stream. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, has described this suspension as a “time-out”, meant to make Jones “think about [his] actions and behaviours,” in a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. The language used in this interview is very concerning.
Alex Jones is known for bombastic language, but he is at the same time quite careful with his words. This situation, like so many others, is being taken out of context in a very dishonest manner. Lester Holt paraphrases Jones in saying, “Alex Jones posted on Twitter this week what is essentially a video calling for people to get their battle rifles ready against the media, saying it’s time to act, it’s gotta be done now, move criminally against people… Sent a chill up my spine.” By stripping away all context, and preventing anyone from hearing Jones’ words for themselves, they have twisted what was definitively a statement of assuring one is ready to defend themselves, into, in Holt’s own words, “a call to arms.”
Holt goes on to ask Dorsey if he thinks this suspension will cause Jones to “change the way he acts or think about some of his past comments,” and it is in this that Holt’s intentions are revealed. There is no concern for the man’s rights, or for permitting a plurality of views; they only wish to control him, and every one of us.
With the video removed from Periscope, Holt and the rest of the mainstream media are free to disregard the context of Jones’ words with impunity. Most people will not know better. But the pressure being applied to Twitter, by news outlets and fascistic elements within Silicon Valley, grows by the day.
The argument that Twitter is a private company, and is free to do what it wishes rings hollow in the ears of those who understand that one’s life and career are dependent and integrally-connected with their social media presence. To remove Alex Jones from every social media network, even temporarily, is to “unperson” him, in the language of George Orwell. And the concern growing among those on the right and the left is this: if they can do it to him, could they do it to me?
You can watch Lester Holt’s (disgraceful) interview with Jack Dorsey here: