DC Trawler

Blocking People On Twitter Is A First Amendment Violation, But Only When Trump Does It

As a dirty rotten #NeverTrump traitor, I realize my opinion doesn’t count for much, but I think it’s a mistake for President Trump to be tweeting all the time. Sure, it helped get him elected, but is it really helping him govern? His off-the-cuff style can be fun, and I can’t help but enjoy the way he drives lefties out of the tattered remnants of their minds, but spewing out every little thing that annoys him about whatever he’s watching on cable news… It just seems like a bad idea in the long run.

That said, he has every right to do it, and he’s under no obligation to listen to anybody he doesn’t want to. Twitter allows users to mute or block any other user, at any time and for any reason. You can say whatever you want, but that doesn’t oblige anybody else to listen.

That’s not enough for some people, though, because Hillary lost and it isn’t fair and they will not be ignored. Charlie Savage, NYT:

Lawyers for Twitter users blocked by President Trump after they criticized or mocked him are asking him to reverse the moves, arguing that the Constitution bars him from blocking people on the social media service.

The request raises novel legal issues stemming from Mr. Trump’s use of his Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, to make statements about public policy…

The blocked Twitter users are represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, whose executive director, Jameel Jaffer, said in a statement that Mr. Trump did not have a right to exclude his critics from engaging with his posts…

One of the Twitter users the letter said Mr. Trump had blocked is Holly O’Reilly, whose account is @AynRandPaulRyan.

After reading this, I became curious about the sort of person who would threaten to sue the President of the United States for blocking her on Twitter. So I clicked the link to check Ms. O’Reilly’s Twitter account, and guess what I saw?

Yep:

I’ve never interacted with this person in my life. I’d never even heard of her before yesterday. And yet the woman who made the pages of the New York Times because Trump blocked her… had blocked me. Apparently she used some sort of block list, because a lot of other people who follow me on Twitter are discovering they’ve been blocked by her too.

She has every right to do so, of course. I never would’ve cared, or even noticed, if she hadn’t made a spectacle of herself in the Newspaper of Record by howling about Trump doing the exact same thing to her.

She doesn’t have to listen to me. He doesn’t have to listen to her. The First Amendment has nothing to do with any of it.

But hey, #Resist, right?

If a person in power blocks you on Twitter, you shouldn’t sue. You should celebrate! You may or may not have done something right, but at least you momentarily annoyed someone you don’t like. That’s what the Internet is all about. Take the win already.

Update: WaPo published Ms. O’Reilly’s op-ed today, because of course they did. She seems to think Trump is “silencing” her, which is utterly ridiculous. No, child, you can stand outside and scream all you want. But you can’t stop him from closing his windows. Just like you’ve closed yours.