In an interview with DigiDay, journalist Aaron Rupar seems dazed after an only one day Twitter suspension. One can only imagine how he would feel to be one of the hundreds of conservative voices that were deplatformed from the social media site for over a year.
For years, Aaron Rupar has made a career of sharing deceptively edited videos and sharing and fake captions on non-edited videos.
In a tweet after the murder of Asian workers in Atlanta, Rupar said:
“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did” — a law enforcement official explains Robert Aaron Long’s decision to kill 8 people in a strange manner pic.twitter.com/u0zFcqjbNK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2021
Rupar deceptively suggested that the police spokesman was implying sympathy for the perpetrator which ignited public outcry.
But as Reason reports, that was not the case.
The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators. The “bad day” line was proceeded by a clarification that this was Long’s own explanation, as related to the police. Baker did not endorse it.
Dan Bongino provides an excellent catalogue of Rupar’s questionable reporting.
Rupar whined to a reporter about his short suspension.
How does your Twitter suspension impact your work?
For me as an independent journalist who does a newsletter business that basically operates on Twitter, it’s disconcerting. Last night [I was] pretty dismayed at first, like, wow, I’m really going to have to reassess how I make a living. It’s taken me a decade to build 800,000 followers on Twitter. Not only that but I’ve been doing video work, painstakingly doing video threads of hearings, debates, speeches, Trump rallies, all sorts of different events. To lose that, it’s like, there goes my work for years and years. It just disappeared suddenly.
It sounds like Twitter was a vehicle for you to gain subscribers to your Substack, right? Do you have a game plan for what to do now?
Just before we got on the phone and in between media hits, I created an account on Post News. From what I’ve kind of gathered, it seems like that’s sort of the consensus as the most promising alternative on offer. I also plan to get more active on Mastodon. But for me, the scale of Twitter is the big draw for me.
When you’re running a newsletter business, you do the math on if you have 800,000 followers and you can convert even 1-2% of those into newsletter subscribers, then you’re off to a pretty good start, right? When I left Vox over a year ago now, that was the math I was doing in my head. But when you lose [those followers], you’re starting from scratch on all these different platforms.
It seems like we will be reinstated, so I’m not sweating it too much. Even if it ends up being a week, great, I can take a week and kind of chill. It’s the holidays. But if it ended up being like a year or something permanent, you just have to roll with the punches. Given the video work that I do, I think I am in a better position than most to kind of grow a following relatively quickly. But it’s still daunting. You spend a lot of sweat equity building something over many, many years and you see that vanish instantaneously for pretty spurious reasons. It’s kind of a reality check. I think it’s a cautionary tale, for outlets and journalists more broadly, that we’ve sort of relied on Twitter to be this platform [where] we can interact with readers and grow an audience. But it’s turning into this situation where the rules are really unpredictable and can change. If you do something to offend Elon, you can be iced out really, really quickly. I want to try to be careful about antagonizing. I don’t want to run afoul and end up being permanently banned if I can avoid it.
If you were to get reinstated, would you behave any differently on Twitter?
That’s an interesting topic because I do think that this will have a chilling effect on journalists who are trying to cover Elon. The one common thing beyond linking to the Facebook page that all of us who were banned yesterday had in common is that we’ve been critical of him. I think that does set up a chilling precedent, where if you’re doing critical reporting on Twitter or on Elon, you’re going to have to think twice: If I published a story, if I posted a tweet, could I be banned for it? And maybe that’s part of the idea, to plant that seed that there’s going to be consequences if you’re critical of this guy. That’ll be something I’ll grapple with. If and when I’m back on there, I probably will try to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
Really Aaron? A chilling precedent? Where was this concern in the last few years when those in your field, by the hundreds, were silenced for reporting the truth?
Watch Aaron whine in an interview with MSNBC.
Watch Aaron Rupar talk about his time being suspended like he’s Nelson Mandela.
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) December 16, 2022
Want your head to explode? 🤯
80 FBI agents were working with Twitter to flag political disinformation.
Did they ever address hoaxmeister Aaron Rupar or perpetually misinformed Rob Reiner or anything on this disinformation list? pic.twitter.com/wrknyjkjZP
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) December 17, 2022