The Bully Pulpit Needs Some Bullishness.
Donald Trump follows a mere 46 Twitter accounts, 12 of which are or have been Fox News folks, 9 are White House associates, 8 are Trump holdings, 8 are family, and the balance includes the CEO of the World Wrestling Federation, and Diamond & Silk, famed YouTube stars who initiated a "Ditch and Switch" campaign to encourage Dems to dump their party and register Republican.
By comparison Trump has 56 million followers.
On November 3, 2016, Melania Trump pledged that were she to become First Lady, she would invest a portion of her considerable free time to ameliorate cyberbullying. "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough," she explained.
Before and after her plea, Melania's beloved husband of 13 years offered this:
Mexico will pay for the wall!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2016
Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
There’s never been anyone more abusive to women in politics than Bill Clinton.My words were unfortunate-the Clintons’ actions were far worse— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
Nothing ever happened with any of these women. Totally made up nonsense to steal the election. Nobody has more respect for women than me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
And those are the tame tweets.
In December 18, 2017, Twitter enforced new rules related to hateful content and abusive behavior:
"Our hateful conduct policy and rules against abusive behavior prohibit promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of their group characteristics, as well as engaging in abusive behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice."
The remaining issue at hand, however, was how Twitter could enforce such rules when the President of the United States of America regularly brandished policy decisions-cum-character assassinations in 140 characters or less.
Twitter found a solution:
"This policy does not apply to military or government entities and we will consider exceptions for groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution."
Twitter's fourth or fifth largest shareholder, depending upon whom you ask, is Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal ($17 billion). He also has/had considerable stakes in 21st Century Fox, with its recent $90 million dollar payout for shareholder claims related to sexual harassment charges, Citigroup which took more rescue assistance on its $301 billion dollars in toxic investments than any other U.S. bank after the 2008 collapse, and the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts co-owned by the world's second wealthiest human, Bill Gates, ($90 billion) a close friend and business ally of the Prince. Incidentally, the Prince was released from prison in January following an 80-day "detention" related to a rather mysterious and massive corruption crackdown.
Ev Williams founded the now ubiquitous Blogger platform. In fact, he coined the term "blogger." Years later, Williams downsized content volume into what would become a micro-blogging platform otherwise known as Twitter. Being equipped with such triumphs fast-tracks one to the company of Saudi Princes. Williams' net worth is $2 billion.
It makes little difference whether or not Twitter's Chief Tweeter or its Chief Financier run afoul of propriety. Glued eyeballs are red meat. And red meat greases the squeaky gears of mega-media. Twitter was never profitable until 2017, twelve years after its launch. The mystery of sustaining a venture perennially stuck in the red appears to be the stuff of tech icons and the United States government.
Facebook was founded by a gentleman who propagated the idea that a human being (primarily of the female persuasion) was either "hot or not." now 16 years and billions of dollars and disciples later, Zuckerberg (net worth $70 billion) has since failed to adequately acknowledge its toxic romance with an unholy triumvirate: apps, ads, and fake news click farms that drive millions to make ill-informed choices while being kidnapped by identity bandits, a la Cambridge Analytica. Oh, and the whole fake election thing too.
Zuckerberg and his COO Sheryl Sandberg (net worth $1.6 billion) also continue to deny that the platform is a media company, regardless of the fact that it distributes news and information globally, uses advertising from local and worldwide purveyors to generate revenue, and produces original content.
Sandberg is founder of leanin.org whose mission statement is "to empower women to achieve their ambitions." How often her philosophy aligns with women in dual-job or minimum wage scenarios is yet unclear. Sandberg sold her 11,000 square foot Silicon Valley mansion for just under $10 million dollars in order to downsize to a 9,500 square foot mansion a stone's throw from the Facebook HQ she commands.
The Boston Globe ran a piece titled, "Who Will Stand Up to Donald Trump?"
Trump wants to displace children for living in a country that saved them from despair and often to which they have contributed mightily. He wants to jail anyone who burns the American flag or disown those who kneel in protest of civil rights abuses. His plan to halt the opioid epidemic: death penalty for drug dealers, regardless of the fact that 40 percent of opioids are prescription-based.
Incidentally, The Boston Globe is owned by John Henry, net worth $1.1 billion.
Why do billions of global citizens have an interminable desire to share so willingly, to feed these brutish machines with every fiber of their beings? The Facebook advertising revenue model is under a microscope. Justifiably. Data is mined and sold to the highest bidder. When we opt in, we do so knowing that we are commoditized. But to what degree? How many Facebook users know their rights or have even read them?
Imagine if such platforms were subscription-based. Then we would see just how much our "friends" are truly worth to us.
Trump, Zuckerberg, and media giants apparently seek to provoke targets to sustain power. They feed on apparent weaknesses, limited attention spans. They wake to divide and conquer. When citizens make themselves readily and willingly available and vulnerable to the most well-heeled bullies, they suckerpunch their own guts.
Media outlets and those who helm them largely live and die by the crisis, by the conflict, by the fiction that consumes this generation. Perhaps more importantly, speech (or the freedom thereof) lives and dies by the bundles of dough that hail it or kill it. So too do policies that guide lives. Ultimately it is the lot of behemoth corporations commanded by the ultra-rich that fuel policy and leverage media to spread said policy agenda en masse.
The Intercept is largely seen as a progressive journalism endeavor. It is owned by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, whose net worth is $11 billion. The Wall Street Journal and (Fox) News Corp. are owned by Rupert Murdoch, net worth $15 billion. The Bloomberg media empire is owned by Mike Bloomberg, net worth $52 billion. Google is owned by Larry Page, net worth $44 billion. Sergey Brin co-pioneer of Google, net worth $43 billion. Comcast cum MSNBC's chief is Brian L. Roberts, net worth $1.7 billion. The worldwide titan of wealth is Washington Post and Amazon media owner Jeff Bezos, net worth $128 billion.
News is largely a noisy distraction from the dispossession of egalitarianism. Perhaps the way to upend such a thing is to further stifle megalomaniacs with research, rationale, reason, and boundless resistance to further fueling their coffers. How resolute the 99% can be is yet unknown, considering that Zuccotti Park seems like a distant and arguably failed experiment based on the ever-widening wealth gap since Occupy protesters seized its soil nearly seven years ago.
Trump does not see that he himself is the Apprentice. He sits at the head of the world's boardroom and manhandles all who cross his path without an iota of devotion to anything other than the almighty dollar. Media moguls might have more ideological anchoring, but they too are devout capitalists with pliable consciences. Faced with the possibility that their security may slide into the slipstream because families, friends, futures hang in the balance, there is simply no telling what lies ahead.