Twitter – the End of Democracy

twitter storm end of democracy

Stuart Lyle

Mainstream news media have worked hard, if unwittingly, to undermine one of the foundations of democracy: a free and critical free press.  It may sound contradictory, but it is the press itself that has failed to grasp the White House strategy that is intended to make the news media redundant.  While conscientiously laboring to interpret the “news” and deliver it in an unbiased way to readers, they have, instead, served as a willing accomplice to “misinformation” – lies – emanating from the White House.

Even as the White House has completely abandoned the time-honored tradition of regular White House press conferences, the media have supinely continued to amplify the compactly sculpted prevarications contained in 140 character tweets.  The press has felt obliged to treat these as news… after all, they were coming from the President of the United States, and therefore, I assume the thinking goes, they carry the weight of the office with them.

Shut out of the White House press room, a place currently just gathering dust, the media has cravenly accepted their second-tier status as conduits of the stream of abuse and madness encapsulated in appropriately named, “Twitter storms.”  They now serve to amplify the reach of those unfiltered, often contradictory, and more-often-than-not brazenly untrue atmospheric aberrations – with no opportunity at all to question the assertions contained within.

What if the media just turned off the Twitter stream?

It’s not really news, and it is impossible to corroborate even who it is coming from.  If the White House wants press coverage, why not insist on a proper press conference?

And instead of covering the tweets spewing from the administration, only cover the responses from sources that are willing to talk to the press, rather than hiding behind a digital wall?

A “free” press that is unable to verify sources and unable to ask critical questions of those sources is not doing the job that is required to protect our democracy.  They are aiding and abetting a new dictatorship and hastening the end of the 200-year-old American experiment with democracy.

8 thoughts on “Twitter – the End of Democracy

  1. It is unprecedented, it is bizarre beyond comprehension almost, but yes…POTUS now announces policy decisions via Twitter. Presidential etiquette is as presidential etiquette does, I guess. I considered Twitter a stupid medium from its outset and want nothing to with it, personally. It was designed for “celebrities”–most of whose names I don’t even recognize when they appear on CNN website!–to stay in touch with their fan bases. Speaking of CNN, that organization–designated The Enemy of the People by Trump–is now a much sturdier opposition “party” than the Democrats. (I’m well aware Trump applied this “enemy” label to the non-Fox, Breitbart, etc. media in general, but he especially dislikes CNN.) But this role was forced on them by Trump’s hostility. He threw the first punch. The spokespersons for this administration have adopted the stance that they need not reply to questions from reporters they deem “hostile.” In our current plight in the US, this means any reporter seeking some objective information vaguely resembling truth. And POTUS himself doesn’t hesitate to verbally fight with reporters when he does appear before them. This genuinely is a “different” president we’ve been saddled with…for the time being. But the Constitution, a document of which this POTUS is conveniently grossly ignorant, provides a means of dealing with such an unprecedented disaster in the Executive branch. You know what it’s called. Starts with the letter “i.” That the Democratic Party leadership dragged their feet so long before launching the preliminary steps in the process is NOT to their credit in the least.

  2. This just in (c. 5 PM Eastern US Time, Oct. 11)–“Breaking News”: A headline on CNN.com re: departure of someone from Fox “News” suggests that there is a DIVISION between “News” and “Opinions” within that esteemed (!) media operation. Now that really IS news…to me, at least!!

  3. I think this article misses the real points. The press has always been the megaphone for the ruling elite. Tere is no free press other than the independent media which a) is always struggling for survival, and b) is being systematically suppressed online with rabid intention.

    It is high time that people stop mincing words and look reality in the eye and call it out for what it is–the voice piece of the blooming fascism that has become more and more blatantly expressed. The mainstream media will never do this as, as already noted, it is in the service of the oligarchy. Unfortunately the internet is now also being used to decide what the public should know and and what it should think. The range of options is narrow, benign, distracting and patently falso in most cases. Currently it is embarked on controlling the narratives about the election which is, once again, trashing Bernie Sanders who would be the hands down winner of the 2020 election as he would have been in 2016 but for the centrist Dems who support corporatist interests instead of democratic principles.

    The battle for our lives is in the final throws for democratic principles and our civil liberties which have been getting truncated inch by inch in so many areas of our lives that it is impossible to keep track of it all. Everything from control of our very body to the illegal and genocidal global assaults on peoples of color and other nations right to self-determination, particularly countries that oppose American corporate control of their resources. Our survival depends on people coming together with the power in our numbers to resist. As Andrew Wakefield said this evening regarding our freedom of choice for our health it is time people learned about protest from countries who know how to do it-taking to the streets by the 100’s of 1000’s and demanding the government responds to our demands. Elections are meaningless as they are totally controlled and rigged and Russia is not really the problem.

    • tamarque — Your criticisms of the mainstream media and their corporate controllers are on target, of course. But is not the bigger problem more fundamental still: the inability of the American electorate to think, to analyze events, independently? Huge failing of our “educational” system. Not exactly unintentional, obviously. Hell, from what I hear, a large percentage of college graduates (I happen to be a drop-out) are incapable of writing a lucid paragraph or two on any topic.

    • Perhaps that has been the role of the media, but it has in US also been a filter that has limited the ability of more extreme elements to spread their bile. There is a fundamental difference between the press being “the megaphone of the elite,” and the press being relegated to a secondary role with no capability to filter.

      If elections were “meaningless,” then I doubt the republican extremists would have spent the last 30 years figuring out how to eliminate the “undesirables” from the electoral rolls.

  4. Sadly, the media is a business, not a public service, and it’s all about keeping eyes glued to the TV screen. Even as Trump and the media attack each other, they’re thriving in a weirdly symbiotic way, even as they act as a parasite to democracy.

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