BABY: CNN’s Brian Stelter Becomes Early Adapter of New Twitter ‘Disable Replies’ Feature
CNN presenter Brian Stelter has become a quick adopter of a new Twitter feature that enables users to shut down replies to their tweets, essentially cutting off any potential for negative feedback and allowing unpopular verified journalists to propagate their own echo chambers.
The feature was implemented on Thursday by Twitter, and was roundly criticized by many of the platform’s users as a betrayal of the free-speech and democratic ideals the website originally stood for. The feature essentially allows verified and artificially promoted mainstream media personalities to escape criticism for dishonest reporting, lies, and political bias.
Stelter utilized the feature in a tweet about business challenges to the model of traditional print and local media. It would’ve gone without saying that his narrative would’ve been challenged by many Twitter users keen to point out that the erosion of traditional print media has coincided with rampant left-wing and institutional bias within the industry.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 21, 2020
Replies to the tweet are disabled, but many users found a way to ensure that Stelter’s lightweight media proclivities were responded to in kind by those who are critical of cable mainstream media. Users who Stelter follows are able to reply to the tweet, and some who he deems acceptable within his own echo chamber were keen to call him out.
Is this the kind of "news" that needs to be saved? This looks like state TV to me. (P.S. why do you have the comments restricted? Can't take criticism?)https://t.co/LyzHr811jh
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) May 21, 2020
It’s almost certain that CNN hacks such as Stelter will continue to use the anti-democratic and elitist feature, hoping to shield themselves from accusations of dishonesty.
We’ve entered a new dark age of the internet where the original late 1990’s principles of free expression, intellectual curiosity, and open dialogue are being eroded by political and media elites terrified that their neoliberal vision for society is quickly becoming discredited. The ‘disable replies’ feature on Twitter is merely the latest indicator of such a phenomenon, but self-proclaimed ‘objective journalists’ such as Stelter might not prove as able to shut down criticism of themselves as they might hope.