Goose Meet Gander: Executive In Charge of Twitter Rule Enforcement Under Fire For Anti-Trump Postings

The attacks are numerous, raw, and offensive.  However, conservatives calling for him to be fired or his tweets censored are reaching the wrong conclusion.  The problem is not Roth but his role.  He has a right to express himself. I have no problem with Twitter hiring people with such political views and I believe it is a good thing for people to express themselves on social media.  Indeed, we have discussed the free speech concerns as private and public employers punish workers for their statements or actions in their private lives. We have addressed an array of such incidents, including social media controversies involving academics. In some cases, racially charged comments have been treated as free speech while in others they have resulted in discipline or termination. It is that lack of a consistent standard that has magnified free speech concerns.  We have previously discussed the issue of when it is appropriate to punishment people for conduct outside of the work place. We have followed cases where people have been fired after boorish or insulting conduct once their names and employers are made known. (here and here and here and here and here and here).

Roth’s comments highlight how bias is always a concern for those who take it upon themselves to decide who can speak or who must be “corrected” in communications with others.  Twitter is notorious for a lack of consistency and coherence in the enforcement of its rules.  However, regardless of such enforcement, there remains a core free speech issue in the regulation of speech. I recently criticized the calls of Democratic leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for greater censorship of the Internet and social media. Such calls have been growing for years but leaders like Schiff are citing the pandemic as a basis for speech monitoring and censorship. Roth is merely the personification of the problem of such speech regulation.  Again, the real problem is his role and Twitter’s rules.


81 thoughts on “Goose Meet Gander: Executive In Charge of Twitter Rule Enforcement Under Fire For Anti-Trump Postings”

  1. Professor Turley, if Roth as an agent of Twitter censors people, how is this even a legal issue? Twitter is a private company as you know.

    Apologies if I’m missing something here, but you don’t seem to be making any comments about the law here.

  2. You have to hand it to the New American Left, there is no lie too big, no hypocrisy too outrageous for them. Dr. C. Ford MUST be believed, they told us, and you must NOT investigate HER background. Now, Tara Reade MUST NOT be believed and it is entirely appropriate to investigate every detail of her life in search of anything we can use to slander her (wow, just like ALL of sexual predator Bill Clinton’s accusers).

    In this case, you have leftists screaming Nazi at President Trump and his supporters. They will insist that the Nazi were a “right-wing” group. However, right wing means limited gov’t and individual freedom! Leftist means gov’t control and the crushing enforcement of group think and suppression of individual rights. So let’s see, the Nazis would murder you if you crossed them! They were leftist tyrants, murderers, and thugs.

    1. A leftist at that time was an avowed Communist. The Nazis crushed the communists.

      The Nazis were fascists. Which means co-opting big business to serve the ends of state. In other words, the same thing Trump has sought to do to Jeff Bezos (as owner of the Washington Post), Time Warner (as owner of CNN), and now Twitter. Thankfully Trump hasn’t been successful in these efforts, but in a second term the dominoes will start to fall. So I pray to god his last day in office is Jan. 20, 2021.

      1. Trump did no such thing, but Obama actually went after the press, but I see you blocked that out of your mind.

        1. 1. The DOD awarded a multibillion dollar contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon so as to impact the Bezos-owned Washington Post’s coverage. That’s tied up in court I believe. As I noted above, this was unsuccessful because the Washington Post hasn’t changed its coverage. (Of course, by virtue of the lawsuit, it has delayed necessary upgrades to the military’s computing capabilities.) 2. For the same reason, Trump berated the Postal Service over the rates charged to Amazon. As I noted above, this was unsuccessful. The rates were not changed and the Washington Post hasn’t changed its coverage. 3. Trump’s administration blocked Time Warner’s merger with AT&T to influence CNN’s coverage. As I noted above, this was unsuccessful, because (a) a Federal judge overruled the Trump administration and the merger was then consummated and (b) CNN hasn’t changed its coverage. 4. Twitter has blocked people since its inception– in other words, censorship. I assume it blocks Holocaust deniers, for example. Neither Trump nor any other Republican had a peep to say about Twitter censorship during all that time. Twitter then appended a note to two of Trump’s tweets and the result was an executive order that would be detrimental to social media companies such as Twitter. As I noted above, this effort doesn’t seem to have been successful in its obvious purpose of punishing Twitter for appending notes to Trump’s tweets.

          (As I noted above, in a second term will be successful in these types of actions. Businesspeople are self-interested and they will start capitulating to Trump.)

          I highly doubt you have the capability to “see” what I’ve blocked out of my mind, considering you’ve never met me in person or even talked to me. Feel free to tell me anything you wish about President Obama.

          1. Trump’s targeting of businesses using federal power and because of personal vendettas is swamp BS of the worst kind and never seen in recent US history. Supposed free market capitalist GOP establishment has been mum on it, like everything Trump does.

            1. Absolutely. And this week they’ve become the “moochers” that Ayn Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged.

          2. Obama had reporters spied on. Misused the DOJ, the IRS, the CIA etc. Trump may say how he feels but when did he spy on a reporter?

  3. And more on this. See if it reminds you of life in America in 2020:

    One of the most important steps towards Gleichschaltung of German society was the introduction of the “Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda” under Joseph Goebbels in March 1933 and the subsequent steps taken by the Propaganda Ministry to assume full control of the press and all means of social communication. This included oversight of newspapers, magazines, films, books, public meetings and ceremonies, foreign press relations, theater, art and music, radio, and television.[23] To this end, Goebbels said:

    [T]he secret of propaganda [is to] permeate the person it aims to grasp, without his even noticing that he is being permeated. Of course propaganda has a purpose, but the purpose must be concealed with such cleverness and virtuosity that the person on whom this purpose is to be carried out doesn’t notice it at all.[24]

    This was also the purpose of “co-ordination”: to ensure that every aspect of the lives of German citizens was permeated with the ideas and prejudices of the Nazis. From March to July 1933 and continuing afterwards, the Nazi Party systematically eliminated or co-opted non-Nazi organizations that could potentially influence people. Those critical of Hitler and the Nazis were suppressed, intimidated or murdered.[7]

    Every national voluntary association, and every local club, was brought under Nazi control, from industrial and agricultural pressure groups to sports associations, football clubs, male voice choirs, women’s organizations—in short, the whole fabric of associational life was Nazified. Rival, politically oriented clubs or societies were merged into a single Nazi body. Existing leaders of voluntary associations were either unceremoniously ousted, or knuckled under of their own accord. Many organizations expelled leftish or liberal members and declared their allegiance to the new state and its institutions. The whole process … went on all over Germany. … By the end, virtually the only non-Nazi associations left were the army and the Churches with their lay organizations.[25]

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. On the Nazi-like takeover by Democrats of all institutions, it was learned from the Nazis! The process was called:


    The Nazis used the word Gleichschaltung for the process of successively establishing a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society and societies occupied by Nazi Germany. It has been variously translated as co-ordination,[2][3][4] Nazification of state and society,[5] synchronization, and bringing into line,[5] but English texts often use the untranslated German word to convey its unique historical meaning. In their seminal work on National Socialist vernacular, Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi-German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich, historians Robert Michael and Karin Doerr define Gleichschaltung as: “Consolidation. All of the German Volk’s social, political, and cultural organizations to be controlled and run according to Nazi ideology and policy. All opposition to be eliminated.”[6]

    Think about this the next time you watch the Oscars turn into anti-Trump theatre, or the the late night comics bashing Trump nonstop. Or as Disney starts putting out more queer-norming movies for kids, or you see a story about perverted sex freak drag queens putting on shows in libraries.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. It’s a tired old cliche’, but still true: If it weren’t for the double standard, the liberals would have no standards at all.

  6. I actually think “Nazism” is quite apropos since that’s precisely what the Nazis did – commandeer all media for use as propaganda machine. So to suggest that central authority cannot regulate media is ridiculous; they obviously can, and have in the past. The only question here is whether the American public shall permit social media to be so empowered. If we permit those like Twitter to wield Section 230 liability unfairly, in discriminatory manner, to silence those who do disagree with their personal political ideology, then that is precisely what we’ve achieved – the creation of propaganda machine. Which flies in the face of everything America holds scared. Congress can definitely regulate freedom of liability to ensure non-discriminatory practice.

    1. “The only question here is whether the American public shall permit social media to be so empowered.”
      Maybe it’s human nature to prefer being told what to think than to actually have to think. Mental laziness. That’s why propaganda is so successful and why so many people buy into flat-out lies with so little encouragement. A large swath of the American public actually trusts the propaganda machine, but the real horror of it is, these are the same people entrenched not only in the media, but also in education. It’s like watching the spread of a pandemic, a silent takeover.

      I think this country’s in big trouble.

      The only question for me is if the Left manages to take control, and finally succeeds in: eradicating the Constitution, laying waste to the institutions, destroying the economy, murdering all the dissidents, subjecting the population to mass starvation and deprivation, who’s going to swoop in for the kill – the Chinese, or the Russians?


    “He has referred to Trump and his team as “ACTUAL NAZIS” and called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a “personality-free bag of farts.”

    Personally, I think the term “Nazis” has been overused to the point where it has lost all meaning. But that description of Mitch McConnell is dead-on! McConnel is so uninspiring, in every way, that it’s hard to believe he ranks as one the country’s top leaders. McConnell could be pictured in the dictionary to illustrate the word “Dour”.

  8. Bill Clinton is a disgrace as is his wife…and all those Americans who made excuses for the rapist.
    Trump is the perfect answer to the enablers of BC.

    Trump 2020

    Bill Clinton had an affair with Ghislaine Maxwell

    Bill Clinton had an affair with British-born socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping recruit underage victims for notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, according to a blockbuster new book.

    The ex-president — who denies cheating on wife Hillary Clinton with Maxwell — reportedly engaged in the romps during overseas trips on Epstein’s private plane, a customized Boeing 727 that’s since become known as the “Lolita Express.”

    The ex-president — who denies cheating on wife Hillary Clinton with Maxwell — reportedly engaged in the romps during overseas trips on Epstein’s private plane, a customized Boeing 727 that’s since become known as the “Lolita Express.”

    The nation’s 42nd head of state also repeatedly sneaked out to visit Maxwell at her Upper East Side townhouse, as detailed in this exclusive excerpt.

    Excerpt from “A Convenient Death: The Mysterious Demise of Jeffrey Epstein,” by Alana Goodman and Daniel Halper, out June 2

    Clinton was allegedly carrying on an affair with at least one woman in Epstein’s orbit, but she was well over the age of consent.

    Ghislaine Maxwell, a constant presence at the ex- president’s side during these trips, was the primary reason Clinton let Epstein ferry him around the world.

    “[Bill] and Ghislaine were getting it on,” a source who witnessed the relationship said in an interview. “That’s why he was around Epstein—to be with her.”

    The source explained that reporters have been missing the point about the Clinton- Epstein relationship by focusing on Epstein’s sex crimes. “[Clinton’s] stupid but not an idiot,” the source says, dismissing the idea that the ex- president was sexually involved with children.

    Clinton’s primary interest in Epstein was the woman he once dated and who allegedly helped procure her ex-boyfriend’s future victims.

    “You couldn’t hang out with her without being with him,” the source said of the Epstein-Clinton relationship.

    “Clinton just used him like everything else,” the source explains.

    In this case, Epstein was being used as an alibi while he hooked up with Maxwell.

    The relationship between Clinton and Maxwell was not confined to these overseas junkets. It continued in New York City, where Clinton on multiple occasions visited Maxwell’s own private townhome at 116 East Sixty-fifth Street, an $11 million pad that runs a touch below seven thousand square feet, much more modest than Epstein’s palatial townhome a few blocks north. (Maxwell purchased it in 2000 for a mere $4.95 million.)

    The coziness between the former president and the charming British socialite drew notice in New York social circles. Clinton and Maxwell were spotted dining together at the Madison Avenue Italian mainstay Nello, according to a 2002 New York magazine article, which described Maxwell as a “man-eater” in the same paragraph. When Clinton went stag to a New York education charity gala in late 2001 — Hillary declined to attend — Maxwell was reportedly at his side.

    The relationship also carried over to the Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation. Maxwell became somewhat of a fixture at these events. It was there where she was even served court papers about her participation in Epstein’s abuse.

    On July 31, 2010 Maxwell was among the few guests to attend Chelsea Clinton’s wedding at the former Astor estate in Rhinebeck, New York. This auspicious event followed an embarrassing incident for Maxwell.

    “Only a few months earlier, while attending the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, at the end of an Indian summer, in September 2009, a process server walked through the packed lobby of the Sheraton Hotel…and served Ghislaine Maxwell papers for a deposition,” the journalist Conchita Sarnoff recalls.

    “Maxwell…was huddled in a small group talking to other guests” as the server approached her. He “called out her name and…with so many people surrounding her, Maxwell was unsuspecting. She confirmed her identity and he served her notice. The deposition was in relation to Epstein’s sexual abuse case. The server left at once,” Sarnoff writes in her book, TrafficKing.

  9. Twitter is not a government entity and therefore not subject to first amendment guarantees. If JT doesn’t like their policies he can quit using their services instead of confusing the issue. He should know this as a law professor.

    By the way, the right was behind shutting down the “fairness doctrine” on our public airwaves back in the 1980s. The precedent there was at least based on the fact the airwaves are a limited resource, unlike the internet. If we can drive coast to coast surrounded by almost all right wing screamers on the radio, Twitter can control their platform however they see fit.

    1. Exactly the point. JT seems to really try hard to have it both ways. Defending trump and concerns about freedom of speech where it can actually be regulated as in Twitter deciding, not the government.

    2. it is a utility basically. it can offer its services to all who do not post illegal content on the same terms, or not

      and if it wants section 230 liability protection, it needs to quit censoring the hell out of its users. or strip the immunity away.
      that’s what Congress can do, and it should, aim that gun right at Twitter and Google-youtube and FB too

      that’s not censorship, that’s just stripping away a statutory privilege that regular folks like you and i dont have

    3. Perhaps you can explain why, according to you, that individuals are not subject to first amendment guarantees? According to your logic, it’s OK to yell FIRE in a movie theater. WOW.
      Only government entities have free speech protection under the Constitution? DOUBLE WOW.

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