Mika Brzezinski to Twitter: When are you going to end these smears and deplatform Trump?

I don’t know why she’s having trouble with the concept that the president is entitled to smear anyone he wants, on any platform he wants, any time he wants.

It’s in the Constitution, not to mention the Bible.

It’s always bittersweet for a Never Trumper when Joe and Mika are mad at Trump for something. Even when they have a point, it can’t be forgotten that they’re the cable-news equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein. They helped mainstream his candidacy to Official Washington in 2015. Now he’s wrecking the lab and they want help.

Brzezinski’s mad because Trump continues to tweet vicious nonsense insinuating that Scarborough had something to do with the death of an aide who worked for him when he was in Congress. He did it last week…

…and he did it again this morning, which set Mika off:

Scarborough’s aide wasn’t murdered. She had a heart condition, collapsed, and hit her head on a desk. Trump may or may not realize that — he’s constantly ingesting garbage information from dubious sources, so who knows — but he’s happy to pass along the smear regardless because he’s angry at Scarborough for criticizing him relentlessly since their falling out a few years ago.

This has now gone beyond “Morning Joe” vs. Trump, said Brzezinski in a monologue this morning. This is now about Twitter.

She wasn’t messing around when she said the company would be hearing from her. She raged about it all morning. (“Jack” is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for those who don’t use the platform.)

Trumpers are replying to her that she’s a “Karen,” which is funny and true enough (even her haircut is right) but which obscures the issue. Should a private company let its product be used to broadcast thinly veiled accusations of murder to a global audience by an unbalanced demagogue? Brzezinski tweeted at Twitter HQ to “please read your policy.” Here’s the section on “abusive behavior”:

You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.

On Twitter, you should feel safe expressing your unique point of view. We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.

In order to facilitate healthy dialogue on the platform, and empower individuals to express diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behavior that harasses or intimidates, or is otherwise intended to shame or degrade others. In addition to posing risks to people’s safety, abusive behavior may also lead to physical and emotional hardship for those affected.

The point of that rule, as I read it, is to make everyone comfortable using the platform. It’s not the abuse per se that Twitter’s worried about, it’s how fear of it might discourage some people from participating in conversation. The multimillionaire TV personalities with their own morning show on a national network are at no risk of having their voices “silenced,” needless to say.

But that’s a crabbed reading. Very basic here: Is falsely insinuating that someone has committed murder a form of “harassment”? Of course it is. It probably doesn’t amount to actionable libel because of Trump’s wink-wink ambivalence about whether Scarborough is guilty (“Some people think so”) but the point is clearly to popularize the smear among those who read his Twitter account, which is the entire planet. Why enable him, Brzezinski wants to know from Dorsey and his company?

There are obvious answers: Influence. Prestige. It’s nice to be known as the president’s social media platform of choice, even if he’s using it to fling sh*t at people like a rabid monkey. And it’s risky to make an enemy of a famously vindictive politician whose fans already have it in for Big Tech. Presumably Twitter will come up with some more politic justification, like “It’s in the public interest for Americans to see what the president is saying, even if what he’s saying is irresponsible.” But Brzezinski and Scarborough have a prominent enough platform in their own right on MSNBC to make life uncomfortable for Twitter. That’s why I wanted to call her harangue today to your attention: It’s possible that this episode will lead to some sort of change in how Twitter handles Trump’s account, even if no one expects them to ban him or to delete his tweets. One idea that’s been kicked around before is to append some sort of label to tweets by Trump that violate the company’s terms of service noting the violation. Maybe that’s what they’ll end up doing — although then they’ll be back to having to explain why the president’s tweets get to stay up with some sort of disclaimer attached while your tweets or mine would be summarily yanked down and our accounts suspended.

And before you ask, no, I can’t believe either that a major social media company needs a strategy on how to handle the president’s tweets because he’s too much of a low-rent troll to conduct himself with basic civility.

Stay tuned. Here’s Pelosi commenting today about Trump’s Scarborough tweets and mentioning something about, uh, doggie doo.

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