Journalist Tim Pool’s questioning of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and executive Vijaya Gadde on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Tuesday, is what Dorsey’s congressional hearing should have been.
During Dorsey’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in September, some representatives asked the right questions, and attempted to hold Dorsey accountable for political bias and hypocrisy on the social network.
However, most opted to ask softball questions, refer to censorship against conservatives as a “conspiracy theory,” and even defend Twitter.
During Dorsey’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience this week, however, Tim Pool grilled Dorsey and Gadde on the platform’s hypocritical policy enforcement, questioning why many conservatives and libertarians had been banned from Twitter but not left-wing accounts that made death threats, promoted violence, and ran fake bot accounts to manipulate the 2017 Alabama Senate election.
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) July 22, 2014
Though Dorsey and Gadde tried to dodge most of the questions, Pool managed to make Dorsey admit that they “were probably way too aggressive” when Twitter started banning accounts for telling journalists to learn to code after a series of media layoffs– a humorous reference to articles journalists had written telling laid off blue collar workers to do the same.
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 5, 2019
Pool also named many commentators who had been banned from Twitter, and demanded the specific reasons for their suspension, before pointing out Twitter’s hypocrisy and questioning why the social network hadn’t applied these same rules to left-wing accounts who had made much worse posts, like inciting violence against conservative high school students.
After Dorsey claimed there were no politically biased rules at Twitter, Pool pointed out that Twitter’s recent ban on misgendering transgender people — which led to the permanent suspension of feminist Meghan Murphy for stating men aren’t women — was not politically neutral, due to conservatives in red states having a different opinion on the subject than liberals in blue states.
“You have a specific rule for one set of people and there — so there are people who have general body dysphoria,” Pool declared. “You don’t have rules on that. There are people who have actually amputated their own arms. You don’t have rules on that. You have a very specific rules-set and more importantly, in the context of a targeted conversation I can say a whole bunch of things that could never be considered a rule-break but that one is which is ideologically driven.”
Rogan agreed, adding, “It is an ideology… If [Murphy] is saying a man is never a woman, if that is what she’s saying, and then biologically she’s correct we obviously have a debate here. This is not a clear cut [issue]. This is not something you can say water is wet, this is dry. This is not something that you can prove.”
“This is something that you have to acknowledge that there is an understanding that someone who is a trans person we all agree to consider them a woman and to think of them as a woman, to talk to them, to address them with their preferred names and preferred pronouns. But biologically this is not accurate,” Rogan explained. “We have a divide here. We have a divide with the conservative estimation of what’s happening and then the definition that’s the liberal definition of it.”
“This seems like a good example of an ideologically based rule,” he continued. “If she is saying that a man is never a woman, though, that is not in that context harassment. That is a very specific opinion that she has that happens to be biologically accurate.”
After Gadde replied, claiming there were many rules on Twitter protecting certain classes of people, including by race, Rogan questioned why white people do not fall under a protected racial class.
“We have a lot of protected classes. Gender, race, nationality,” Gadde expressed, prompting Rogan to reply, “But it’s not for white people. When you say gender or race.”
“It protects all protected categories. So you can’t attack someone for their belonging to a particular race or a particular religion,” Gadde claimed.
“But you can mock white people ad nauseum and it’s not a problem?” asked Rogan. “What is racism? Is racism only — this is this progressive perspective of racism that it’s only possible if you’re from a more powerful class, someone punching down, that’s the only racism. I don’t think that makes any sense. I think racism is looking at someone that is from whatever race and deciding that they are in fact less or less worthy or less valuable, whatever it is. That takes place across the platform against white people.”
“I’m not saying that white people need to be protected. I know it’s easier being a white person in America. It’s a fact. But it’s hypocritical to have a policy that only distinguishes you can make fun of white people all day long but if you decide to make fun of Asian folks or fill-in-the-blank, that is racist but making fun of white people isn’t and it doesn’t get removed,” he proclaimed. “There are tons of — what about Sarah Jeong from the New York Times?”
Pool also questioned why violent Antifa accounts were allowed to remain on Twitter, while members of the Proud Boys were purged for their affiliation, despite the fact that Antifa was reportedly considered by the Department of Homeland Security to be a “domestic terrorist” group and the Proud Boys were not.
On the topic of the interference of foreign governments in American political affairs, Pool raised important questions about Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who is one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, and how his influence at Twitter could affect democracy in the United States and political discussion on Twitter.
One of Pool’s major arguments during the show was that Twitter only takes action against conservatives on the platform because, since Twitter employees and executives are mostly left-wing, they only read left-wing and liberal websites and newspapers, which only report on conservatives who break rules on the platform.
After Gadde explained that conservative commentator Jacob Wohl was banned from Twitter for admitting in an interview with USA Today that he was running multiple accounts to influence elections, Pool asked Dorsey and Gadde whether they investigated Democrat Jonathan Morgan.
“I don’t know who that is,” replied Gadde, prompting Pool to reply, “You should know who he is. He’s more important than Jacob Wohl is. But for some reason you know about this conservative guy and not the Democrat who helped meddle in the Alabama election… We can see Jacob Wohl said that he’s done this, so you’re like we’re going to investigate and ban him. It was recently reported and covered by numerous outlets that a group called New Knowledge was meddling in the Alabama election by creating fake Russian accounts to manipulate national media into believing [Republican candidate] Roy Moore was propped up by the Russians. Facebook banned him and four other people, but Twitter didn’t.”
The show was the most viewed live video on YouTube at the time during its broadcast, and Pool’s performance was praised by many as an effective questioning of Dorsey and Twitter, with all the right points made.
This is a must watch.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) March 5, 2019
The @joerogan podcast with @jack & @Timcast is one of the most fascinating things I've ever watched.@Timcast (who is himself a liberal) is destroying Jack on Twitter's anti-conservative bias & censorship. A must watch for everyone in media/politics. https://t.co/VzNfuIR9RG
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) March 5, 2019
This @joerogan podcast with @timpool @jack is a must watch for anyone interested in how social media platforms decide to ban people from the platforms. It’s specifically interesting because Tim asks Jack questions that really reveal twitter’s blind spots. https://t.co/EK03ClEJRV
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) March 5, 2019
“You know when an independent journalist @Timcast does better then all of Congress with its security clearances to hold big tech monopolies along with @jack accountable, we have something to worry about,” posted We Are Change founder Luke Rudkowski.
You know when an independent journalist @Timcast does better then all of Congress with its security clearances to hold big tech monopolies along with @jack accountable, we have something to worry about.https://t.co/Z68pSBQAPB
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) March 6, 2019