Editorial

Liberals Want To Be Exempt From Their Own Social Media Rules

Liberal commentator Sam Seder got his job back at MSNBC Thursday after being fired earlier this week.

Seder’s contract with MSNBC was severed following last week’s social media outrage over an old tweet he made about Roman Polanski.

“Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/ a great mise en scene,” Seder’s tweet from 2009 read. (RELATED: MSNBC Rehires Contributor Who Made Rape Joke)

That tweet, which Seder claims was meant to be an anti-Polanski joke, was unearthed by right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich and used as a battering ram against MSNBC. The network’s decision to sever ties with Seder soon served as a cause célèbre for liberals in media.

Outlets ranging from Vox to The Washington Post condemned the move as a pathetic capitulation to the “alt-right.”

The New Republic’s Jeet Heer bemoaned the move as proof that “weaponized outrage is a threat to free speech,” while seemingly forgetting his publication’s own cases of weaponized outrage.

In subtweets published shortly after it was publicly announced Seder was gone, MSNBC host Chris Hayes made similar points.

“I reiterate my longstanding position that people shouldn’t be fired for a tweet, *particularly* one that is obviously being read in manifestly bad faith,” Hayes tweeted.

“The entire culture and our politics are now dominated by people who have weaponized bad faith and shamelessness,” the MSNBC host followed up.

His very next tweet after the last comment was a retweet of an article criticizing a Trump nominee for expressing support for Milo Yiannopoulos on Facebook, which surprisingly gives a good picture of the Left’s hypocrisy on this matter.

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For years, left-wing journalists have exploited social media posts against the Right and random people like Justine Sacco to score political points and police the culture. For instance, when the pro-Trump pundit Jeffrey Lord mockingly called a liberal he was arguing with on Twitter a Nazi, he was fired from CNN. Shockingly, no liberals worried about the exploitation of out-of-context tweets to get people fired then.

Weaponized outrage is something invented by the Left, and it is only a problem now that it is being used against progressives themselves.

Seder wasn’t the only MSNBC personality to find themselves at the center of social media outrage recently. Anchor Joy Reid faced a torrent of criticism after it was discovered that she wrote several homophobic blog posts years ago. Unlike Seder, Reid faced no repercussions from her employer over the matter.

Jeet Heer was also upset by people using Reid’s own blog posts against her and claimed that the MSNBC host apologizing for the posts was sufficient contrition for the wrong think. “Firing Reid, as some are calling for, is a punishment far in excess of the crime,” Heer wrote.

The New Republic writer was honest enough to point out that “[Bernie] Sanders supporters, and others on the left, need to rethink the way they weaponize outrage and try to get people fired.” But that point seems to be made in the spirit that weaponized outrage should only be deployed against the enemies of liberals — not against liberals themselves.

The Seder episode is reflective of a larger trend of leftists feeling the blowback from the popularization of this tool that was previously theirs alone.

Buzzfeed reporter Katie Notopoulos wrote over the weekend about the harrowing experience of having her Twitter account locked for an old tweet saying, “Kill All White People.” Notopoulos insisted it was a joke and complained that “Literal Nazis” weaponized her tweet and she was wrongfully punished ove it.

The Buzzfeed tech reporter criticized Twitter’s “arbitrary” system that punishes her but doesn’t do enough to ban users she doesn’t like.

“Twitter is getting played. They’re trying to crack down on the worst of Twitter by applying the rules to everyone, seemingly without much context,” Notopoulos argued. “But by doing that, they’re allowing those in bad faith to use Twitter’s reporting system and tools against those operating in good faith.”

Essentially, the argument is that Twitter should allow journalists with the proper views say whatever they want and ban anyone who offends these journalists. Talk about tough standards.

The Daily Beast reported Monday on another trend of social media platforms punishing the “wrong” people under the standards set by the Left. According to The Daily Beast, Facebook has a tendency of suspending female comedians who lash out against men on the platform.

“[I]f a woman takes to Facebook to vent about how she ‘wants to imprison men and milk them for their male tears,’ she could quickly lose access to her account,” Daily Beast reporter Taylor Lorenz grimly warns.

Horrifically, saying things like that and “men are scum” (which The Daily Beast describes as “bland”) can result in friends of journalists… I mean innocent victims, suffering under a week-long suspension.

Considering how right-wing personalities like Lauren Southern routinely have to deal with Facebook censorship for sharing their political views and average Europeans have to face arrest for their speech on the platform, it seems the possible consequences for feminist comics are pretty minor.

Once again hiding behind “it’s a joke” defense, the temporarily suspended women whine that Facebook is “silencing women” because those with progressive views have to abide by the same rules as everyone else.

Liberals demanded that social media platforms do more to censor views they deemed offensive or harassment. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others complied, but those same liberals are now up in arms that the rules are also apply to themselves.

It would be great to live in a world where people didn’t have to worry about old tweets being weaponized against them by their political opponents and no one had to fret over jokes resulting in internet suspensions.

But that’s not the world the Left created. We now all have to live with the threat of unemployment over one dumb tweet and censorship for political speech.

There’s no reason that liberals and leftists shouldn’t have to live with the same rules everyone else has to deal with.

All the recent anguish over progressives suffering from weaponized outrage is disingenuous. They have no problem with using it against their enemies — they just don’t want it coming back to hurt their friends.

Follow Scott on Twitter and buy his new book, “No Campus for White Men.”