Daily Media Links 5/23

May 23, 2022   •  By Tiffany Donnelly   •  
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The Courts

Bloomberg Law: NLRB’s ‘Salt Mine’ Tweet Decision Overturned by 3rd Cir.

By Robert Iafolla

The NLRB was wrong to rule that the publisher of conservative online magazine the Federalist unlawfully threatened workers by tweeting that he’d send them “back to the salt mine” if they tried to unionize, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia held.

The National Labor Relations Board lacked the evidence to support its ruling against FDRLST Media LLC, which runs the magazine, for publisher Ben Domenech’s “salt mine” tweet, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Friday.

“The record contains no sign—indeed, no inkling—of any circumstance at FDRLST Media that leads us to conclude that a reasonable employee would interpret Domenech’s tweet as a veiled threat,” the court said…

A Third Circuit panel of Republican-appointed judges cited the features of communication on Twitter as reasons why Domenech’s “salt mine” tweet wouldn’t be threatening.

Twitter “encourages users to express opinions in exaggerated or sarcastic terms,” the court said.

Bloomberg Law: Richmond Transit Ban on Political Ads on Buses Unconstitutional

By Bernie Pazanowski

The Greater Richmond Transit Co.’s ban on political advertisements on its buses violates the First Amendment on its face because it doesn’t define “political,” the Fourth Circuit said Friday.

Although transit companies “may prohibit political advertising, they must do so by enacting a neutral policy capable of reasoned application,” the court said.

When the White Coat Waste Project’s ad denouncing animal experimentation in Richmond, Va., was rejected by Richmond Transit because it was deemed too political, White Coat claimed that Richmond Transit’s policy violated its First Amendment rights.

Biden Administration

Daily Caller: The Clownish Disinfo Czar Got The Boot, But Biden’s ‘Ministry Of Truth’ Hired Monster Replacements

By Diana Glebova

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hired the co-author of the PATRIOT Act, arguably the harshest crackdown on civil liberties in modern American history, and an official under former President Bill Clinton to head the Disinformation Governance Board during its “pause.” …

The department announced Wednesday former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and former U.S. Deputy Secretary General Jamie Gorelick under Clinton “will lead a thorough review and assessment” of the board that was “grossly and intentionally mischaracterized.”

Free Expression

New York Magazine: The Liberal Obsession With ‘Disinformation’ Is Not Helping

By Sam Adler-Bell

“Disinformation” was the liberal Establishment’s traumatic reaction to the psychic wound of 2016. It provided an answer that evaded the question altogether, protecting them from the agony of self-reflection. It wasn’t that the country was riven by profound antinomies and resentments born of material realities that would need to be navigated by new kinds of politics. No, the problem was that large swaths of the country had been duped, brainwashed by nefarious forces both foreign and domestic. And if only the best minds, the most credentialed experts, could be given new authority to regulate the flow of “fake news,” the scales would fall from the eyes of the people and they would re-embrace the old order they had been tricked into despising. This fantasy turned a political problem into a scientific one. The rise of Trump called not for new politics but new technocrats.

Like other pathological reactions to trauma, the disinformation neurosis tended to re-create the conditions that produced the affliction in the first place.

The Atlantic: An Alien in a Mickey Mouse World

By Sonny Bunch

Hypocrisy is the only modern sin and a bit overplayed, a term deployed to justify one’s own power grabs and political-professional faults. I hardly notice it anymore. But I confess I’m a little shocked by the abrupt about-face on the issue of corporate speech and government efforts to restrain—or encourage—it. I’m so disoriented that I don’t know if left and right have switched positions, or if no one really has a position anymore.

Wall Street Journal: Princeton Targets a Dissenting Professor

By The Editorial Board

Everyone knows American universities are dangerous places these days if you dare to express unpopular views. But Princeton University’s handling of classics professor Joshua Katz is still shocking for its procedural double jeopardy.

The Atlantic: Georgetown’s Cowardice on Free Speech

By David Frum

There’s a lesson here. Punishing people for their words does not make the words vanish from memory. The unsayable is not unthinkable. Indeed, the punishment of the word may actually magnify the impact of the thought. Never mind abstract free-speech principles: Purely on pragmatic grounds, when a member of a community says something that bitterly divides the community, the way to a resolution is not to suppress the thought, but to argue it out.

Online Speech Platforms

Reason (Volokh Conspiracy): Mainstream Political Argument Forbidden “in the Modern Public Square” of Facebook

By Eugene Volokh

Facebook appears to be trying to suppress an important normative position on a live political issue—a view expressed by major elected politicians about what policies our democratic process should adopt. Again, not good for Facebook to try control public debate this way, it seems to me.

Adweek: Twitter Tightens Policy on Misinformation and False Reporting

By Trishla Ostwal

Twitter announced a new policy on Thursday to address viral misinformation during periods of crisis like armed conflict, public health emergencies and large-scale natural disasters.

The new global crisis information policy establishes standards for blocking the promotion of tweets that are determined to contain false reporting, false coverage of events and misleading allegations regarding the use of force, weapons and war crimes. The policy also targets broader misinformation about international sanctions and about the international community as a whole.

Under the new policy, Twitter will add a warning label to posts that are believed to contain misinformation stating that the tweet is “sharing false or misleading info” and will ask users to click a button before displaying the text. These tweets will not be pulled down by the platform; however, tools like Likes, Retweets and Shares will be disabled. Furthermore, the tweet will be blocked from algorithmic promotion.

Candidates and Campaigns

Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Did It

By The Editorial Board

The Russia-Trump collusion narrative of 2016 and beyond was a dirty trick for the ages, and now we know it came from the top—candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. That was the testimony Friday by 2016 Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in federal court, and while this news is hardly a surprise, it’s still bracing to find her fingerprints on the political weapon…

In short, the Clinton campaign created the Trump-Alfa allegation, fed it to a credulous press that failed to confirm the allegations but ran with them anyway, then promoted the story as if it was legitimate news. The campaign also delivered the claims to the FBI, giving journalists another excuse to portray the accusations as serious and perhaps true.

Most of the press will ignore this news, but the Russia-Trump narrative that Mrs. Clinton sanctioned did enormous harm to the country. It disgraced the FBI, humiliated the press, and sent the country on a three-year investigation to nowhere. Vladimir Putin never came close to doing as much disinformation damage.

Washington Post: Everyone’s a Fat Cat in US Politics Today

By Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg

In one especially memorable Democratic cash bonfire, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath lost by nearly 20 points to Republican leader Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky despite outspending McConnell by $25 million. In New York, Republican John Cummings raised $11 million running against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) and lost by 44 percentage points…

We’re living through an era of campaign finance abundance, even though most of the prevailing ideas about money in politics come from an era of scarcity. Loosened laws and regulations have brought big new sources of money — some disclosed, some not — into play. Technological change combined with partisan polarization has produced the phenomenon of big little money — millions of dollars raised in small increments, mostly apparently given by party-loyal voters responding to partisan cues.

Overall, there’s just a flood of money…

What this means is that virtually every serious candidate in a competitive general election for the House of Representatives, Senate, or a governor’s office will be adequately funded…

But unlike the situation 30 or 50 years ago, it’s unlikely that (say) a House candidate with a decent shot at winning won’t be able to afford to mount a serious campaign.

The States

Injustice Watch: Illinois judicial candidates are frustrated with new ban on out-of-state donations

By Rita Oceguera

An Illinois law banning out-of-state donations to judicial campaigns has frustrated candidates and forced some of them to return family members’ contributions. But several of them say the law overlooks a more pressing problem: the potential influence that wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups inside Illinois wield in elections and court decisions.

Tiffany Donnelly

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