Take away Trump’s Twitter



President Donald Trump at the Town Hall style debate held on NBC across from Savannah Guthrie.


On Oct. 16, President Donald Trump tweeted a link to an article titled “Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News” and captioned as “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. [sic] Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.” This truly does seem like a controversial move on Twitter’s end, especially for an apolitical platform. Why would they halt site traffic – losing money in the process, just to support a presidential candidate?

But in reality, this never happened. The headline belonged to The Babylon Bee, a satire “news” website similar to The Onion. Sporting the tagline “fake news you can trust,” The Babylon Bee specializes in satirizing current events, politics, religion and practically all facets of modern life and society. Headlines on this site include “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch” and “Mark Zuckerberg Pops Out Of Man’s Shower To Warn Him The Story He’s Reading Is Fake News.” The Babylon Bee makes no attempt to hide its absurdity and the fact that it is, indeed, satire. But Trump’s tweet seemed to convey a sense of genuine shock and stupefaction.

Replies to this Tweet range from condemnation of Trump’s ignorance, a plethora of jokes and claims from supporters that it was some sort of self-aware joke on his part. However, no aspect of Trump’s tweet seems to indicate that he’s in on the joke. Rather, he seems to be falling for it quite spectacularly. For someone so dismissive of actual information and journalism (to the point in which “fake news” has become a slogan, and in some regard, a meme) to blindly accept information presented in a headline of an unfamiliar website is laughable, but when you consider that this person is the president of the United States, this revelation quickly becomes terrifying.

That’s not where the story ends, however. Within a 24-hour period of this tweet, Trump retweeted a QAnon conspiracy that Joe Biden was involved in a plot to fake the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and that Biden “had SEAL Team 6 killed” to cover it up – a baseless conspiracy that was conclusively disproven. In general, Trump seems to be in support of QAnon, a cult-like conspiracy theorist organization with beliefs so laughable and absurd that one can’t help but be reminded of the 1980s Satanic panic that obviously inspired it. Believers of QAnon believe that a global Satanic pedophile ring is plotting against Trump and that Trump is planning a “day of reckoning” known as “The Storm” in which Trump will prevail and defeat the Satanic cult. It’s a lot to take in, but even more to take in that there are supposedly millions involved in the “QAnon community” which Trump refuses to condemn, or at the very least, question.

No one can be expected to know everything, but those in positions of power should be expected to know the difference between journalism and satire as well as conspiracy theories and reality. These only require minimal logical thinking and a sound grasp on reality, which I’m becoming less and less convinced our president has. Trump uses social media recklessly, and he doesn’t seem to fully grasp the impact that it has on people. To him, Twitter is a toy, a means of entertainment. To the world, it’s a way to get statements from the president, official or unofficial. Communications are changing, and if Trump refuses to take social media seriously, he may land all of us in a lot of trouble. During an NBC News town hall on Thursday, Trump attempted to  justify his questionable Twitter usage: “I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.”

NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie responded, “You’re the president. You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who just retweets whatever.”