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June 14th, 2021
L&T Opinions Page

earl wattL&T Publisher Earl Watt


Is it an “essential human right” to be able to access Twitter?

According to Twitter, the answer is yes.

Realize, of course, that Twitter is a private business making money from collecting eyeballs staring at their content that they approve on their platform.

Nice try, Twitter.

I would like to take this opportunity to declare that owning a copy of the Leader & Times is an essential human right. Any effort to prevent someone from getting a copy should be considered anti-American.

It’s really a great gimmick, and I don’t know why corporate America hasn’t caught on sooner.

I’m sure Budweiser would consider the purchase of their product an “essential human right,” as would virtually every other business that produces a product or service.

The claim by Twitter came after their service was banned in Nigeria.

Why was Twitter banned?

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari posted a tweet after several government buildings and police stations were attacked and set on fire, and the group responsible was a separatist group in the southeast region of the country that has been trying to create an independent nation.

President Buhari threatened the group if they did  not stop the terrorism there would be action taken against them.

Twitter has a policy against promoting or threatening violence, and so the thought police at the social media company decided to block the tweet.

In response, Nigerian’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, shut Twitter down in the entire nation.

Twitter’s Public Policy division was aghast at such action as banning their platform, and their response was to declare themselves an “essential human right.”

Twitter, who has openly taken political positions by banning conservative voices across their platform, banning Donald Trump, blocking discussions about financial policy from Ron Paul, and the list of others banned from using Twitter a mile long, is now offended they have been banned by an entire nation.

Heavy-handed government can do that. When you want government to be all powerful, you get actions like Nigeria President Buhari and the Minister of Information and Culture pulling the plug.

Let’s remember when Trump was and still is called a tyrant, a dictator, that he was destroying democracy and all the other false claims that continue to be posted and are allowed to be posted on a daily basis, did Trump ever pull the plug on Twitter or Facebook? Did he go to his “Minister of Information and Culture” and tell him to shut these platforms down?

We know the truth is Trump never did anything to limit Twitter or Facebook. They are private businesses earning billions of dollars by allowing discussions they determine to be appropriate or sharing political speech they support.

Let’s thank God that America does not have a “Minister of Information and Culture.” At least we don’t officially. Unofficially that is exactly what Twitter and Facebook are doing — deciding which speech is acceptable and which speech is not. Souds a lot like the ”Minister of Information” to me.

In this case, they banned the Nigerian president in a nation that already has a state-sanctioned arbiter of truth, and they gave Twitter the hook.

In the United States, however, we have relented and allowed private multibillion dollar corporations to become a censoring wing of the government all by themselves.

And the collusion between the government and these social media giants was recently brought to the public light when it was discovered that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was in charge of the response to the coronavirus, communicated with Facebook executives on the origin of the outbreak, and Facebook subsequently banned any discussions or positions taken that pointed to China’s Wuhan lab being the source.

Sounds like the Minister of Information at Facebook determined no public discussion could take place because Dr. Fauci and the social media giant made it so.

Now that the overwhelming evidence is pointing to the lab as a definite possibility, which it was all along, Facebook has now said it is acceptable to discuss the lab as the possible source. The only reason for the reversal was the release of a trail of emails from Dr. Fauci that revealed he had a personal interest in keeping that information from going public.

Who gets to determine what is fact and what is opinion, what we think might be worth public discussion and what is not allowed?  Whoever that person/group is, they are the people in charge of the entire nation, because freedom only exists if there is a free exchange of ideas.

If there isn’t, then we do not have a democracy.

But they are a private business, you say. They can run their company however they choose.


But when they collude with the government to allow certain information and suppress others, they are no longer a private company but a quasi governmental agency. When they work to defend the actions of the government above the interests of the people, who checks the arbiter of truth?

As Thomas Jefferson said, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?” which means, “Who guards the guardians?”

We have a Minister of Information in this country, and the connection between one political party, the elite ruling class of the government and multibillion dollar social media and mainstream media working together to push only one concept of truth and culture.

Trump never shut any of that down, something a dictatorial person would do.

At some point, these companies have to be disassembled so that truth can flow freely. While I do not support Nigeria’s decision to shut down Twitter, I understand why they did it.

You can’t allow social media to take sides and be protected monopolies at the same time.

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