Ever since Saturday’s terrible tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, conservatives have endured, to use my colleague Dana Loesch’s words, a massive orchestration of defamation against them. And of all the vitriol that has been hurled around the internet, no other target has sustained more of it than Sarah Palin.
Within minutes of the shooting Saturday, the onslaught of inflamed rhetoric was immediate. And by the time Sheriff Clarence Dupnik made his now infamous accusations against right-wing radio and TV, which he’s since confirmed are nothing more than opinion, he’d stoked up the hate level online to a boiling point. I watched as so many on the left took to Twitter to join the herd. It eerily reminded me of my college days – it was like our Greek initiation rituals, when hopeful fraternity pledges take to public places to perform acts of stupidity as proof of loyalty to their organization. I was stunned by the hundreds and hundreds of brazenly stupid threats of death against a woman whom most of these people had never even met.
Others were just as shocked. In fact, a couple of conservatives on Twitter – @coyotered9 and @JoeKenHa – were so disgusted that they decided to collect just a sampling of these public tweets and compile them into a slide show of sorts.
The result was this video, Twitter Users Wish Death on Sarah Palin, originally posted at YouTube. It’s since been cross-posted on Vimeo because of a takedown notice they received from YouTube in response to a privacy complaint. That’s right, one of the haters who was brave enough to publicly tweet her yearning for the death of a former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate is now suddenly concerned for her Twitter privacy.
As you can imagine, after the video first posted to YouTube, viewers were disgusted. In fact, quite a few from both the right and the left were sickened enough to let some of those Twitter users know that their behavior was reprehensible. And when the heat got to be too much for one user, she complained to YouTube about her precious privacy. Because she was “just voicing anger” in a public tweet and doesn’t want anyone “attacking her” back on Twitter.
This of course after publicly wishing death on a public figure.
YouTube has since issued a notification to the video’s creators, indicating that the video will be removed unless the so-called private information has been removed.
This is to notify you that we have received a privacy complaint from an individual regarding your content:
Video URLs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxgJKNpjSNI
The information reported as violating privacy is at 1:50
We would like to give you an opportunity to remove or edit the private information within the content reported. You have 48 hours to take action on the complaint. If you remove the alleged violation from the site within the 48 hours, the complaint filed will then be closed. If the potential privacy violation remains on the site after 48 hours, the complaint will be reviewed by the YouTube Team and may be removed pursuant to our Privacy Guidelines (http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy_guidelines).
Given that the complainant’s tweet was not a private message on Twitter but instead was in the public realm, it’s not exactly a violation of one’s privacy. However, the final determination will be YouTube’s:
For content to be considered for removal, an individual must be uniquely identifiable by image, voice, full name, Social Security number, bank account number or contact information (e.g. home address, email address). Examples that would not violate our privacy guidelines include gamer tags, avatar names, and address information in which the individual is not named. We also take public interest, newsworthiness, and consent into account when determining if content should be removed for a privacy violation. YouTube reserves the right to make the final determination of whether a violation of its privacy guidelines has occurred.
While it might not seem fair to say you can’t show something because of what viewers theoretically might do in response, we draw the line at content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous, illegal activities that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.
The irony is almost painful. As the left is busy launching its Orwellian propaganda war against the right, accusing conservatives of inciting violence with their supposed dangerous rhetoric, the real and demonstrable dangerous rhetoric that’s been on display for all to see comes from the very fools who have been pointing the finger. The best way to stop vitriol is not to limit free speech, but to call it out when you see it.
But they don’t want you to see it. And given its track record, YouTube probably won’t either.
Why not use this as an opportunity to stop the threats, from here on out? While they have absolutely zero to do with the horrible tragedy in Arizona, they do have everything to do with basic, human dignity.
Should the anti-conservative hate speech and threats continue, we’ll simply keep calling them out for all to see. With or without the help of YouTube.