by WorldTribune Staff, June 29, 2018
The suspect in the murders of five employees at The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland had been reportedly cursing the paper’s staff for years via Twitter.
Jarrod Warren Ramos “took to Twitter, where he routinely harassed journalists from the newspaper in scores of profanity-laced tweets,” The Associated Press reported.
“One of those tweets targeted one of the journalists killed Thursday, Rob Hiaasen. In another tweet, he discussed how he’d enjoy seeing the paper stop publishing, but ‘it would be nicer’ to see two journalists ‘cease breathing.’ ”
Yet Ramos, “apparently, hadn’t written anything on social media that grabbed the attention of social media censors,” Washington Times columnist Cheryl K. Chumley noted.
Tom Marquardt, the top editor at The Capital Gazette had told the AP: “I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence. I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’ ”
But Twitter did not censor Ramos.
“If only conservatives could get that much leeway on social media before getting booted or censored,” Chumley wrote. “Just ask Diamond and Silk, a pair of black women who support President Donald Trump and have duly suffered for that political support. Facebook, for instance, just a few weeks ago told these two women, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, their views, as presented in their revenue-generating videos, were dangerous.”
An email the pair received from Facebook read: “The Policy team has come to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community. This decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.”
Twitter has been similarly accused of stifling conservative speech.
“Twitter Is Banning Conservatives for Posting Facts,” Breitbart wrote in May.
And this, from the Daily Wire in January: “BOMBSHELL REPORT: Twitter Employees Admit To Censoring Conservatives, Banning Them For Political Reasons.”
Chumley noted: “But in fairness, perhaps censors were too busy getting rid of all the ‘MAGA’ hat-wearers and pro-Trump people to notice a guy like Ramos.”
Meanwhile, some were quick to blame President Donald Trump for the Annapolis shooting. Reports soon emerged after the incident that Ramos had been engaged in a dispute with the newspaper since 2012.
Rob Cox, Global Editor for Thomson Reuters’ Breakingviews vertical, said the shooting was a direct response to Trump’s criticism of the “fake news” mainstream media.
Cox tweeted: “This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul.”
Cox has since deleted the tweet and offered an apology and a concession that his comments “were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles.”
Cox was hardly the only person to have engaged in blaming the president for the killings.
Mike P. Williams of Yahoo tweeted: “Donald Trump has repeatedly and angrily branded the press as a threat, as the enemy, as a danger to America. Someone just shot up a newsroom and killed journalists. He has blood on his hands.”
In another tweet, Yahoo’s Williams accused both Trump and first lady Melania Trump of being “complicit” in the shootings: “Your husband calls journalists the enemy and has poisoned his brainwashed fanbase against them. He’s complicit in this crime. And so are you.”
Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca tweeted: “The shooting today in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland cannot reasonably be separated from the President’s mission to villainize the press as ‘the enemy of the American people.’ ”
Gaby Dunn, a self-identified “former newspaper journalist” whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Playboy, Vice, the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan,Salon, and Slate, tweeted: “As a former newspaper journalist, this is exactly what we knew would happen once this Trump anti-media narrative started.”
Ramos’s dispute with the Capital Gazette began long before Trump’s “anti-media narrative” and long before Trump even announced his candidacy for president.
In 2012, Ramos sued the Capital Gazette for defamation after it reported in 2011 about his conviction for criminal harassment. Ramos lost his last appeal in the lawsuit in 2015.
His activity on Twitter regarding his case continued up until 3 minutes before the shooting, when he tweeted a reference to the judge who tossed out his lawsuit.