Mika Brzezinski Calls For Trump To Be Banned On Twitter

Twitter Logodonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedScarborough’s co-host and wife Mika Brzezinki is calling for President Donald Trump to be banned on Twitter after he resumed his bizarre pushing of a conspiracy theory that Joe Scarborough murdered an intern in 2001. I have long denounced the President’s use of the tragic story of Lori Klausutis as callous and wrong.  There is not a shred of support for this claim and the constant tweets from the President only adds to this tragedy for the Klausutis family.  As I noted yesterday, “politics ain’t beanbag” but it is also not a license for such malicious slandering of your critics.  Having said that, I do not support the effort to ban Trump from Twitter. I have written repeatedly about the danger posed by calls from politicians for increased censorship on social media and the Internet.  Indeed, I criticized Trump recently for such banning of opposing views from his Twitter account.

President Trump has been calling for an investigation into the death of Klausutis as a foil to use against Scarborough, one of his best known critics.

Despite many of us roundly condemning his use of this tragedy, the president returned on Sunday to the subject.  He called again for an investigation in “Psycho Joe Scarborough.” He asked “So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator?”

He also questioned the findings of the autopsy and suggested that Scarborough left Congress mysteriously after the death: “A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!”

download-3One does not have to search for “forensic geniuses” to reject this salacious and sad conspiracy theory.  The autopsy revealed that Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition which caused her to pass out and hit her head as she fell.  Not only did the coroner rule out a blow from another person, but Scarborough was not even in town. He was in Washington.  Moreover, Scarborough had announced that he was leaving Congress a month before this death

The President would be just as credible in arguing that Big Foot did it.  There has to be some modicum of decency and civility left in our politics.  Regardless of how some may feel about Scarborough and Brzezinski, this is beyond the pale for any person who believes in such values.

Thus, I do not blame Brzezinski for being angry. She has also been the subject of reprehensible attacks by President Trump.  However, Brzezinski told her Twitter followers “A call is being set up with @jack and the GC,” referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the company’s general counsel. “At what point is @Twitter a part of this?” Brzezinski tweeted and called on Dorsey to “TAKE DOWN TRUMP’S ACCOUNT – the world world [sic] be safer.”

This would not make “the world safer.” It would also not silence President Trump. It would further fuel the movement toward speech regulation and censorship.  All of the parties involves are public officials or public figures.  That comes with the sad reality of being the such of unhinged and unfair attacks.  Over fifty years ago, the Supreme Court handed down New York Times v. Sullivan to add protections for such speech criticizing public officials, and later public figures.  It is a protection of the free press and free speech that President Trump has often railed against.  The “actual malice” standard requires a showing that the newspaper published a false report with either actual knowledge of its falsity or a reckless disregard of the truth.  Imposing a high standard for proof of defamation, Brennan sought to give the free press “breathing space” to carry out its key function in our system. In his concurrence, Hugo Black stated: “The half-million-dollar verdict does give dramatic proof . . . that state libel laws threaten the very existence of an American press virile enough to publish unpopular views on public affairs and bold enough to criticize the conduct of public officials. The factual background of this case emphasizes the imminence and enormity of that threat.”

These tweets are opinion, which are protected under New York Times v. Sullivan — the very standard that Trump has denounced.  As we have previously discussed, simply saying that something is your opinion does not automatically shield you from defamation actions if you are asserting facts rather than opinion. However, courts have been highly protective over the expression of opinion in the interests of free speech. This issue was addressed in Ollman v. Evans 750 F.2d 970 (D.C. Cir. 1984). In that case, Novak and Evans wrote a scathing piece that attacked a professor at New York University, Bertell Ollman. Judge Kenneth Starr wrote for the D.C. Circuit in finding no basis for defamation. This passage would seem relevant for secondary posters and activists using the article to criticize the family:

The reasonable reader who peruses an Evans and Novak column on the editorial or Op-Ed page is fully aware that the statements found there are not “hard” news like those printed on the front page or elsewhere in the news sections of the newspaper. Readers expect that columnists will make strong statements, sometimes phrased in a polemical manner that would hardly be considered balanced or fair elsewhere in the newspaper. National Rifle Association v. Dayton Newspaper, Inc., supra, 555 F.Supp. at 1309. That proposition is inherent in the very notion of an “Op-Ed page.” Because of obvious space limitations, it is also manifest that columnists or commentators will express themselves in condensed fashion without providing what might be considered the full picture. Columnists are, after all, writing a column, not a full-length scholarly article or a book. This broad understanding of the traditional function of a column like Evans and Novak will therefore predispose the average reader to regard what is found there to be opinion.

A reader of this particular Evans and Novak column would also have been influenced by the column’s express purpose. The columnists laid squarely before the reader their interest in ending what they deemed a “frivolous” debate among politicians over whether Mr. Ollman’s political beliefs should bar him from becoming head of the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. Instead, the authors plainly intimated in the column’s lead paragraph that they wanted to spark a more appropriate debate within academia over whether Mr. Ollman’s purpose in teaching was to indoctrinate his students. Later in the column, they openly questioned the measure or method of Professor Ollman’s scholarship. Evans and Novak made it clear that they were not purporting to set forth definitive conclusions, but instead meant to ventilate what in their view constituted the central questions raised by Mr. Ollman’s prospective appointment.

The same analysis would apply here.  Brzezinski has over a million Twitter followers and a popular morning show on national television. She does not need to seek to bar people from speaking to address untruths.  Indeed, the Trump tweets have led to a barrage of condemnations. including Republican members and Fox News journalists.  It is an example of good speech correcting bad speech.

These tweets were, as I have said repeatedly, unspeakably wrong.  However, compounding that wrong with a call for censorship is not the answer.

131 thoughts on “Mika Brzezinski Calls For Trump To Be Banned On Twitter”

  1. Turley Is Right To Acknowledge Trump’s Baseless Murder Conspiracy. ..But–

    But if baseless murder conspiracies aren’t sufficient reason to ban someone from Twitter, ‘what is’..??

    Seriously, it’s hard to think of a more irresponsible use of social media than promoting a baseless murder conspiracy against a broadcast celebrity. Trump is essentially inviting deluded followers to take a shot at Joe Scarborough. ‘It’s justified’, Trump suggests, ‘He’s a murderer!’

    The fact that this baseless murder accusation didnt become a major news story illustrates how the media has deviated-down with regards to Donald Trump.

    In a normal America, this baseless murder accusation, from the president, would be grounds for immediate removal from office. ‘A president this irresponsible is mentally unfit to continue as Commander In Chief’, the reasoning should go. But again, this reasoning would only apply in a ‘normal America’.

    Professor Turley and Trump defenders routinely assert that mainstream media is hostile to Donald Trump. Yet this story effectively illustrates that if anything mainstream media has come to tolerate the inexcusable from Trump.

    Imagine the outrage conservative media would have expressed had Barrack Obama leveled baseless murder accusations against Sean Hannity, for instance. Obama was far too sane to engage in such behavior. Obama’s public demeanor, in fact, was typically so reasonable that a baseless murder conspiracy, from him, would have stood out as completely insane.

    Yet with Donald Trump insanity is normal. Therefore this story was presented as ‘just another crazy thing Trump Tweeted’. That’s deviating-down! Instead of being hostile to Trump, the media has gotten far too tolerant.

    1. You lied for 3+ years straight about Trump with the media, or you were insane, take your pick. Maybe you’re still insane. Likely, in fact. A liar too. Both.

      So we have one sane man, Trump, and a whole gaggle of crazy idiots like you and your media hooks who will never admit their literally insane errors for 3+ plus years.

      We knew it all along, from day 1 it was literally insane. Stop projecting, Seth.

    2. Twitter is full of garbage and lies. It’s a heap of dung. So If Trump makes a wrong tweet, he better not get deleted.

      Maybe Jack Dorsey will get his mouth deleted too. Who made Jack Dorsey the pope of what’s true anyways?

      Social media editors are modern day Torquemada in disguise, ready to bring out the tongs on thought criminals, pull out their tongues so they can’t spread wrong ideas. heretics against the church of political correctness

  2. BTB has stumbled onto the truth. Despite Democrats overwhelming efforts to literally hand Trump two terms, he seems intent on trying to lose.

  3. Speaking of tweets, Ann Coulter took no prisoners – again – yesterday.

    “…calling Trump a “moron” and a “blithering idiot,” and even saying, “I will never apologize for supporting the issues that candidate Trump advocated, but I am deeply sorry for thinking that this shallow and broken man would show even some remote fealty to the promises that got him elected.”

    “The most disloyal actual retard that has ever set foot in the Oval Office…”

    “Trump didn’t build the wall and never had any intention of doing so.”

    “COVID gave Trump a chance to be a decent, compassionate human being (or pretending to be). But he couldn’t even do that. “

  4. Rarely do posters expose their cult loyalty, immunity to the truth, and moral bankruptcy as clearly as some are on this “issue”.

    Knee jerk defensiveness aside, don’t Trump’s supporters understand the benefit to him and his reelection if he was banned from Twitter? It’s not like anyone applauds his tweets who isn’t in the cult already. As for the rest of us and the country, the lowering of political pollution levels would maybe focus us on more important things than toxic and hallucinatory accusations like this one. The country survived and prospered without Presidential tweets for a very long time and the discussion of the kind of ridiculous BS – from hurricaine maps to chlorowhatever to murders by cable TV hosts – Trump likes to promote.

    PS One seriously doubts that Absurd would kick Mika out of bed for eating Triscuits, nor do the rest of us care.

  5. So Mika is upset because the president’s tweets were soooooooo upsetting to her family. This from the woman who pushed the salacious dossier as fact for nearly three years. Because reading front page stories claiming your husband or father hired hookers to piss on a bed can just be brushed off.

  6. “Until Mr. Trump, no one challenged the media. The adage among politicians was “never get into argument with anyone who buys inc by the barrel.” Journalists could say or do almost anything. Because of the evolution of social media, it no longer matters who buys the most ink. Mr. Trump understands that. The mainstream media does not.”

  7. Uhhhh, progtards! She was murdered uat a work environment and location. WHERE is the Forensic files “superstar” in Congress? Hey Trey, get to work!!!

  8. This whole presidential election is really worrisome. We have two candidates that are troubled and two candiates that are treated differently. President Trump is hated by the media to an extreme. It is a vicious hate that drives people to say or doing anything whether it is legal or not. The goal is simple – get rid of Trump. The president responds in kind. He is the first Republican who stood up to it. When he said three years ago my campaign is being spied on people laughed and made fun of him. He was right and did anyone retrack no. Now he has in almost four years fought and fought and somehow he has withered it. He is like a general in war with bombs dropping on his head. Russia was a bomb. Spying is a bomb the list is endless. Its a never ending war. Biden on the otherhand is treated with kid gloves and can do or say no wrong. The Democrats will dump him after he wins the presidency if he wins it. He cant handle it and people know it. So again there are more dirty tricks and Trump knows it. This needs to stop but I dont know how two candiates both troublesome

  9. Sooo, its not true? So what. Why should I care? The Democrats and The Morning Joe crew lie all the time about Trump, so turnabout is fair play.

    I would like to play nice, but if the Democrats whack us over the head with a folding metal chair, shouldn’t we do the same?

    Besides, what was Joe doing messing with the intern in the first place???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  10. Tangential to Turley’s point, but I couldn’t help noticing this statement by Starr:

    “The reasonable reader who peruses an Evans and Novak column on the editorial or Op-Ed page is fully aware that the statements found there are not “hard” news like those printed on the front page or elsewhere in the news sections of the newspaper.”

    At best Starr his a bit dated in his analysis of the front pages isn’t he?

    1. The libel case in question was filed ca. 1982. Ollman is still around, though very old. Novak died in 2009 and Evans died in 2001.

      1. Hence the analysis is dated at best. I don’t know that Starr should really be let off the hook for saying it at the time. The front pages didn’t exactly cover Reagan in an objective manner. And seemed well on the path to where they are today.

        1. SteveJ, the main problem with our media coverage of politics is they – it’s not an “it” – focus too much on horse race aspects and little on actual policy differences. Your “sense ” of fairness is probably no correct.

          “According to the analysis, both candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump “received coverage that was overwhelmingly negative in tone and extremely light on policy.” Trump was covered slightly more negatively than Clinton over the course of the general election, with coverage being 77 percent negative to 23 percent positive compared to Clinton coverage running 64 percent negative to 36 percent positive coverage. But over the course of the entire campaign, Clinton was covered more negatively than Trump, with 62 percent negative and 38 percent positive coverage compared to Trump’s coverage, which was 56 percent negative and 44 percent positive.

          “Game-centered reporting has consequences,” the report said. “The media’s tendency to allocate coverage based on winning and losing affects voters’ decisions. The press’s attention to early winners, and its tendency to afford them more positive coverage than their competitors, is not designed to boost their chances, but that’s a predictable effect.””

          https://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/12/report-general-election-coverage-overwhelmingly-negative-in-tone-232307

          Another failing is journalists loyalty to finding and writing “the story”. They are trained to write in a way we will want to read, and that is for “the story”.

          “An analysis of news coverage from the 2016 primary races found that mainstream media outlets engaged in “journalistic bias” that led to over-coverage of the Donald Trump campaign and under-coverage of Democratic candidates, in particular Sen. Bernie Sanders.

          The report, from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, underscores the role that the press can play in anointing — or sinking — a candidate, as well as keeping voters under-informed by focusing only on the horse race instead of the candidates or relevant issues.

          The press doesn’t favor certain candidates because it’s engaged in a vast conspiracy, according to the report. It’s a lot simpler: reporters like a good story. It’s what their business is based on. And this year, Trump’s narrative seemed more novel than that of Clinton or Sanders.

          This isn’t the first time the press has fallen for a candidate. Barack Obama received “outsized coverage” when he first ran in 2008, as did Sen. John McCain in 2000, when he invited reporters aboard his campaign bus, the “Straight Talk Express.” Trump, the report said, is now on that list…”

          1. Accepting your comment for the sake of argument, you agree with me that Starr’s observance of “hard” news on the front pages is questionable now, and was already becoming so at the time he said it.

            1. Steve, no in the sense that has thus always been that some editorial and feature article stuff has been on the “front page”. Humans write and read our newspapers, which I think explains it. If anything standards are more watched and therefore “strict” now than previously in our history.

              Acceptance of this fact of life – like many facts of life – does not however absolve one of the responsibility to keep up with actual news as best as once can and by recognizing the sources which sell the ideal of real news – if not the perfection of presenting it – vs those which sell confirmation bias. All out 24/7 TV “news” shows are in the latter category, while remaining dailys around the country , and especially the NYTs, WSJ, and WaPO are in the former. They are not perfect, mix some editorial content with news and more feature articles than in the past – but are worthy enough to be delivered to top execs, govt officials, and all other kinds of important people who depend on facts.

              1. PS The reputable sources also print error retractions and wait for corroboration they trust before reporting news.

  11. With all due respect, Professor, they deserve Pres. Tump’s wrath.
    Next time maybe they’ll pick on someone their own size, ..like someone from Lilliput……LOL

    1. Scarborough and Mika cannot claim blanket immunity, but can we lay off the transparent smears? Even if the woman in question was murdered, Scarborough was certainly not the perpetrator. He was demonstrably out of town at the time.

      1. Absurd…..I’m not interested in the “murder”….And no, sorry, I don’t want to lay off the “smears”, as you call them, because I have watched these two from the beginning, when I was stil a Democrat. Back then, Mika would actually have little temper tantrums if anyone mentioned he father’s name! She would walk off of the set! Journalism and reporting news were the least important things to her……Then she turned on the Trumps because it’s the thing to do. She and Ivanka were friends. How would Mika like it if every morning on air Ivanka mercilessly trash talked her father? And repeated lies about him? Every day!
        So, again I say, they deserve Trump’s wrath.

      2. Yes, because no one hires out.
        Your blind spots are immense.
        It’s just incredible how they fool you like you’re a two year old.
        Then you pass it on, as if everyone should buy it.
        That contrasts remarkably with your knowledge you sometimes share.

  12. Mika was a pretty girl. It’s sad what age, bad grooming, and eating disorders have done to her.

    1. Oh, that picture isn’t Mika. It’s the late Lori Kaye Klausutis (ne Bolterstein).

  13. IIRC, the coroner in that case later faced professional discipline in another matter. One problem we have in this country is that just about anything you can think of in the realm of public services can be and often is done in the most half-assed way imaginable. Just about the most dismaying as a manifestation of sheer inertia and irresponsibility is the investigation of deaths. Lots of non-metropolitan jurisdictions still have elected coroners – commonly undertakers or doddering GPs who serve part time. The typical state in the union should be divvied up into two or three coroner’s jurisdictions and just about every coroner in the country should be a board-certified forensic pathologist. Any staff examiner should be at the very least a board-certified general pathologist and employed f/t or employed p/t with their main appointment at a local hospital. Pay them satisfactory salaries so we’re not relying on immigrant doctors with shizzy credentials.

    The case is odd enough that it might be warranted to have a second examination by a competent forensic pathologist to put the matter to bed.

    Scarborough isn’t a scrupulous or appealing character and that tends to vitiate your visceral sympathy for him. It’s a lame-o troll. Since Scarborough was demonstrably out of town at the time, you’re not going to pin it on him, so this is a smear. Don’t smear. Be creative.

    I guess Mika’s loyalty to her man is kinda sweet. Pity the father of her children wasn’t granted that by her.

    1. That’s rather silly. People with power don’t get their own hands dirty. It doesn’t matter where Scarborough was at the time.
      The Clinton’s didn’t personally whack their 57 arkancided list.

  14. Of course they want him banned. He tweeted his way to victory in 2016 and they are afraid he will do it again in 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens. What’s the next step, have him banned on Fox News? Freedom of speech is specified in the Constitution, not to protect popular people saying popular things, but unpopular people saying unpopular and even “unspeakably wrong” things. If you want freedom of speech to recite the party line you can go to NK or China and have all the freedom you want. I believe (although I hope I’m wrong) that 2020 will be forever remembered as the year America surrendered all her freedoms and all her rights without a shot fired. Good luck trying to get them back. As to Trump’s claims about the intern, on the face of it they do seem unlikely, but Trump has been right so many times about so many unlikely things that it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he’s right this time as well and I’m sure others feel the same. Trump’s like the boy who cried wolf in reverse. Maybe this is the one time he’s wrong about the wolf but I wouldn’t bet money on it, especially since Scarborough is so overtly slimy.

  15. Yes the tweeting can sometimes be overdone but as you yourself stated 96% of media coverage on Trump is negative! He needs a source to talk to people. Also a video has surfaced of Scarborough having a good laugh at that poor girl’s unfortunate death with Don Imus. Brezinski and Scarborough peddle Fake News and lies daily!

  16. Twitter’s rules say “You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.” Trump is engaging in targeted harassment of Scarborough.

    Mr. Turley says “[politics is] not a license for such malicious slandering of your critics.” Slander is illegal. Perhaps Scarborough should sue Trump.

    Ms. Klausutis is survived by her husband and other family. How vile that Trump adds this conspiracy theory to their loss. Trump’s words also place them in the position of having to choose silence in response or risk retaliation:
    “No one in Klausutis’s family would talk about Trump’s tweets for this article, fearing retaliation by online trolls of the type who went after parents of the Sandy Hook massacre victims… ‘There’s a lot we would love to say, but we can’t,’ said Colin Kelly, who was Klausutis’s brother-in-law.” (Washington Post)

    Nicholas Kristof: “What’s the best word for President Trump’s disgusting fabrication here, so devastating to the woman’s husband and family? “Grotesque”? “Vile”? “Demented”? “Scurrilous”? “Monstrous”? “Depraved”? “Evil”? “Loathsome”? Not sure we have a word that captures the ugliness.”

    Trump doesn’t care about any of this. Shame on him. He is a deeply sick person.

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) responded to Trump’s tweet with “Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us.”

    Trump doesn’t care that he’s spreading paranoia and that that’s bad for the country.

    1. KAG 2020! But nice try! I bet you look down your hook nose at “little” people, too. he’s just destrying the “blue’ states, and that’s an EXCELLENT thing!!!

    2. LOL
      LAUGHING !
      Putin knows you typed that, and he’s going to do it again, and there’s not a durn thing you can do about it but shed tears for four more years. Your deep and extended near coming decade of total lack of control and cold war back to bite you paranoia must be devastating.

  17. You champion free speech, even speech you strongly disagree with — and for that, I Thank you.

  18. MIKA hates Trump. She has been very critical and also pushing all the conspiracies for the last 3.5 years – She should calm down. By fanning the flames does no good.

    Trump has a right, as noted above article. He does these things and drives the Press and Dem’s nuts, to the point they act Crazy people.

    Mika and Joe use to be friends with Trump until he got elected then they turned on him. Two more Never Trumpers

    1. Exactly, so Mika and Joe can apologize for 3 months straight to Trump – every morning, about a couple of their lies and smears while refraining from any more.

      After 3 months Trump can tweet once in tiny text in a pic block added, he’s not certain because it’s not clear, but since Joe says he was out of town, he at least didn’t admit to have a hands on murder spree, and he may have just been the one who hired the hit man.

      Then we can call it still skewed against Trump but we’ll settle for a potato.

  19. If Colombo has been on the case, Joe Scarborough would’ve been arrested for murder a long time ago!

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