Journalists and Twitter

Someone on Mastodon had a link to an article, “Journalists (And Others) Should Leave Twitter. Here’s How They Can Get Started,” with an interesting (and valid) pull quote:

“This should have been a pivotal moment in media history — an inflection point when journalists realized how dangerous it is to put their fates in the hands of people who claim to revere free speech but use their power to control it…thanks to a combination of journalistic cowardice, inertia and calculation, business as usual prevailed.”

The article keeps its hands wrung over journalists – of all principled people – obeying the rules about what is acceptable on Twitter now:

Beyond that, thanks to a combination of journalistic cowardice, inertia and calculation, business as usual prevailed. Today, some journalists remain banned, or restricted. The journalists whose accounts were fully restored are back to tweeting, though some remain banned and/or restricted. Their organizations never stopped using the platform even when their employees were being restricted.

My thought is: why not? Why would these fine upstanding people care now? The only thing that’s changed is the nameplate of their corporate master: it went from a proxy for the FBI to Elon Musk, and honestly, the slop they feed upon should be tasting about the same as it did.

What’s new here, after all? If they posted something against the acceptable narrative two years ago, they’d have been muted and banned, if not cancelled. They knew it. So they stuck to what the egregore told them to say, in the way they were supposed to say it (“add a little individuality, please, so the rest of the egregore thinks you’re a rebel, thank you – now get a tattoo so you’ll be unique just like everyone else!”).

Now there’s a new lord and master; maybe it’s a little less of an egregore than it was (one thing I have to give credit to Musk for is not being as susceptible to groupthink as so many seem to want to be.) But it’s just a different master, with slightly different rules, and apparently less locked-down than what the old masters preferred; Musk actually allows people I don’t like to say things I don’t like! How dare he!

And this is supposed to be more restrictive? Because now the things you can and cannot say are different? Journalists should have howled when their narratives were being tuned for them, no matter whether their careers benefitted or not. The tuning is the problem, not who did it or what the tuning’s results were.

Journalists who were fine with the FBI dictating their content but not Musk… I get it, I empathize, but let’s be real here: those aren’t journalists any more. They’re shills. They’re paid spokesmen, soulless and vain, at this point, no matter what they tell themselves, no matter how much gravitas they can muster as they issue their sales pitches for The Party.

It doesn’t matter what side they’re on. They should be celebrating the cacophany. Sure, they might not like the restrictions, but … so what? The restrictions aren’t new. They’re just different. They’re protesting the changing of their muzzle, when what they should have been doing was protesting the existence of a muzzle at all.

And most of them chose to strap their yokes on, willingly.