• Michelle A. Amazeen

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There are 7 comments on POV: Why I Left the Bird: NPR, Twitter, and Disinformation

  1. I completely agree with taking a break from Twitter. What particularly struck me was Musk’s handling when he bought the site, especially reinstating known climate deniers and people who make false claims about vaccines. I feel like this was extremely harmful for a few reasons. Many people get their information and news from Twitter and they are inclined to trust influential people. Many people don’t have substantial scientific background to understand the science behind vaccines and why they’re so helpful, so people who use their influence to make false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine sow fear in these people. Twitter has definitely taken a turn since it was purchased and it’s unfortunate that they allow an influx of misleading content when compared to previous years.

  2. I love the bird,. Thank God free speech, a pillar of our democracy, has returned in the face of countering a progressive propaganda agenda. Go Elon! Even Robert Kennedy Jr is being censored on FB and demonized by the paid actors. What happened to America? Oh yeah, the powers who want it destroyed… Students, be vigilant in studying ours Constitution and stop paying attention to NPR.

  3. Though I have mixed feelings about Musk’s takeover of Twitter, I firmly believe that the platform has become a much more open under his leadership than before.

    Pre-Musk Twitter exhibited all sorts of unaccountable censorship and misdirection, including on what you call “climate and vaccine deniers”, a politically charged term that suggests that we humans have some unassailable truths on this matter.

    As a scientist, I don’t believe in unassailable truths … everything should be open to inquiry and rational discussion, especially society’s golden calves.

    Whether Musk maintains this openness on Twitter, given the significant external pressures (and his own complete unaccountability) remains to be seen.

  4. Can we all agree that the majority of the folks we hear on NPR are leftist, and as a result bring an unconscious leftist agenda to their work? Not as extreme as Fox News peddling right wing agendas, but it’s hard to call the folks we hear on NPR 100% impartial/non-partisan. PBS Newshour seems closer to impartiality relative to NPR, but only just barely (mostly fact reporting, with occasional leftist undertone, whereas NPR seems to have a more leftist undertone in their news reporting). This is all to say that while a news outlet may not be spewing misinformation, it’s hard to say news outlets don’t manufacture people’s consent, and one can ask how is that impacting our democracy which seems would benefit from having folks look at things from all sides with a factual lens.

    Also, why do we put Twitter, a social media platform, on this pedestal to be this source to get unadulterated facts? As kids, many of us saw what happened to a fact in a game of telephone (Twitter is just a massive digital media version of that childhood social game). So Twitter becomes MySpace, boohoo. Was our so called democracy not able to stand on its own two feet before Twitter was ever a thing?

  5. Bravo to Michelle Amazeen! Twitter is essentially the literary equivalent to being in a tavern during a Saturday college football game-intelligent articulation of thoughts is very hard to find there, especially as the consumption of alcohol increases. By middle of the 4th quarter, the outlandish opinions do become increasingly entertaining, I’ll give it that.

    Everyone has a right to their opinion of course and should feel comfortable to express it freely no matter how ignorant the opinion may be. That’s Twitter, except even worse because at least in the tavern the individual(s) to whom one is speaking can confront the ignorance live and direct in person. With Twitter, there is too much hit-and-run posting. Why in the world any legitimate scientist would post on Twitter in a vain attempt to enlighten is beyond me. The same goes for Facebook.

    Disclaimer: I myself do not have a Twitter account, but on most sports websites videos from Twitter are frequently displayed and although I don’t have an account, I can read the comments. Honestly, it’s hard to find a comment that is articulated with any degree of intelligence. It happens sometimes though. I have seen Twitter comments on climate change in a different context from sports-same phenomenon I’m sorry to say.

  6. I’m sorry, I find Elon Musk, his money, and the way he’s wielded his power over the Twitter app equally abhorrent as the next person, however, I’m really failing to see why exactly this NPR debacle was the straw that broke the camel’s back. NPR is, undeniably, state-affiliated media, and government-funded as well. I listen to NPR on a regular basis, and while my knowledge of this fact in no way detracts from my enjoyment, it does affect the way I interpret the information NPR tells me, as it should. In my case, this is not scanning for subliminal progressive messaging (all of which I would already be on board with) but mainly causes me to take most things NPR says about foreign affairs with a grain of salt, however, I digress.
    You’re railing against Musk for allegedly making Twitter a more friendly environment for right-wing misinformation, but by clinging to the infantile fantasy of “objectivity” you’re in fact aiding the Right. In my opinion, insisting upon being “unbiased” is not only dishonest but ineffectual for media outlets that have an obvious liberal bias. The only reason anyone cares that NPR is government funded and has a left-wing bias is that they actively try to obscure and deny those facts. The thing is, nothing happens in a vacuum, with any event of sufficient magnitude all attempts to try and put it in context will inevitably expose someone’s ideological orientation. Because everyone has an ideology, and that’s okay! You should just be forthcoming about it instead of making people feel as if they’ve been lied to by masquerading behind the facade of “objectivity” when in actuality being “objective” is utterly impossible and your biases will always seep through.
    Here’s why I think not letting the myth of objectivity die benefits the right, as long as we continue pretending to be somehow above our own subjectivity we cede ground toward the right over shaping the narrative because they’re much more dishonest. When we have to somehow find the “middle ground” or “see both sides of the story” between literal genocidal neofascists and those who think people deserve human rights, by being “unbiased” you’re already framing the issue in much more conservative terms that are necessary. Left-wing journalists pretending to be the unbiased vanguard of democracy are in fact the ones allowing Conservatives to legitimate their dangerous rhetoric. This is to say nothing about how all media outlets have the inherent bias of being profit-seeking enterprises owned by millionaires and billionaires, besides the fact that it further goes to show what a sham objectivity is and the inescapability of biases.
    I’m not so dull as to think that Musk labeling NPR as “government-funded” is anything but an attempt by a right-wing billionaire to slander a well-respected source of progressivism. I’m just venting frustration over the fact that I think the way this article frames the whole issue is the wrong hill to die on. If NPR, and left-leaning media in general, just unabashedly embraced their progressive bias this never would have been news. The one thing the right gets right is just being openly, overtly, conservative with no shame and reservations well the left continues playing this silly game that only hurts themselves.

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