Big Tech's rush to take down and ban social media accounts or de-platform entire websites that they believe in some way caused the horrible rioting at the Capitol is based on fear — that Joe Biden's inauguration will devolve into another riot. Or that there will be riots at state capitols.
Social media platforms such as Twitter are only focused on President Donald Trump and his millions of devoted fans. They don't seem to focus on violent thoughts on the left, most prominently the Hollywood left. Apparently, their violent thoughts are never plausibly dangerous; no one could ever be incited by them.
One very easy example is actor (and Trump impersonator on "Saturday Night Live") Alec Baldwin, who tweeted on the night of the rioting: "Put Ted Cruz in the stocks and throw rotten fruit and buckets of horse piss at him. Then ride him on a rail. Then tar and feather him. And film it. For Netflix."
That tweet is still available. Freedom of speech is untrammeled for Tinseltown. Alec Baldwin can always claim he was joking.
He claimed he was "kidding" on Dec. 20, 2020, when he tweeted: "Who arrests Trump if he refuses to concede? Who drags him out? Pepper spray? Cuffs? A knee on his neck, cutting off his oxygen? Does he wheeze 'I can't breathe.' Just whale away on him like a pinata? Rodney King style? The thug who has destroyed the country. What does he deserve?"
Baldwin also claimed he was joking when he appeared on Conan O'Brien's late-night show in 1998, as the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings were underway. Let's recall exactly what Baldwin yelled about the House Republicans working to impeach the president: "If we were in other countries...all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death!" The audience cheered and he shouted: "Wait! Shut up! Shut up! No, shut up! I'm not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death, and we'd go to their homes, and we'd kill their wives and their children. We'd kill their families!"
Did that feel like a joke to Hyde? Or the other Republican impeachment managers in the House? Did their wives and children feel safe?
When Kathy Griffin was dismissed by CNN in 2017 for tweeting a picture of herself with a replica of Trump's severed head, Baldwin tweeted: "No one walked out of the studio and said, 'No! We're serious!' No one....but all your gutless weasels in the GOP insisted that I actually threatened Hyde. They played the victim beautifully."
Nothing happened then. How we wish nothing had happened on Jan. 6.
Baldwin has a bad habit of indulging his violent fantasies for all to see. On the Fourth of July in 2006, he took to the Huffington Post to advance a fantasy about a double murder of Osama bin Laden and then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
"Osama struggles, swearing at me in his native tongue, until I jam the box cutter into his neck. I do it again," Baldwin boasted. "I gather up the body of the world's most notorious terrorist and hurl it over the balcony. Then, in the final stroke of luck, Bin Laden lands on Dick Cheney."
As members of Trump's Cabinet resigned in disgust at the Capitol riots, Baldwin retweeted actor Michael McKean, who also had a stint on "Saturday Night Live." McKean said, "If this were Japan, there'd be a lot of seppuku instead of these chickens—- resignations." In other words, suicide by slitting your own stomach.
Apparently, no one's censoring violent thoughts famous people post on social media...if they're liberal comedians.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.