National Review columnist tackles latest Twitter tussle

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online explains how a recent Twitter incident helps bolster his argument about social media’s ills.

As you may be aware thanks to my merciless flogging of it, I have a new book out called The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics. It is about the way in which social media brings out the worst of the tribalism and idiocy in our contemporary politics by displacing almost all of the substantive discussion with a lobotomized — and, ultimately, useless — politics of white hats and black hats, good guys and bad guys, cowboys and Indians, Us and Them. …

… On Friday, Joe Scarborough had me on Morning Joe and gave me a really generous amount of time. (Thanks for that.) …

… Naturally, Twitter went ape after my appearance, which is the nature of Twitter, a place where people go to behave like chimps. (I do not exempt myself from that; social media never brought out the best in me, either, and my decision to stop using it is right up there with going to bed at 9:30 p.m. on the very short list of good choices I have made about my daily routine.) The usual banality and dishonesty were intensified this time around with the help of NARAL, which sent out a tweet claiming that I’d gone on Morning Joe and said some outrageous things about abortion and capital punishment, two subjects which did not in fact come up at all. …

… The ensuing performance-art/group-therapy Caffeine-Free Diet Maoist outrage circus has practically been lifted from the pages of my book. The lies are there, as is the stupidity: There have been calls to boycott CNN over my appearance (Morning Joe is on MSNBC) and sensitive middle-aged men have raged that they will burn their Dawson’s Creek DVDs in protest. (I use my middle initial in my byline partly as a courtesy to Kevin Meade Williamson, the gifted screenwriter behind Dawson’s Creek and much else, who must surely wish that I were named Bob.)

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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