The headline kinda says it all, doesn’t it? We know the police kill. Question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe. https://t.co/XbjMtq9qW6
— M. Sn❄️wflake Iannarone (@sarahforpdx) January 9, 2019
Nationally syndicated talk-radio host Lars Larson – whose policy is to put disagreeing callers at the front of the line – still has received no explanation for why Twitter deemed “hateful” his criticism of the idea that the local police department should be eliminated and banned him from the platform.
“Crazy ideas like that, that literally would put peoples’ lives at risk, need to be challenged,” he told WND. “But, apparently, when you challenge them on Twitter you have a good chance of being banned.”
The Portland, Oregon-based Larson was removed from Twitter Jan. 10 after replying to 2016 Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone’s condemnation of a Jan. 6 police shooting in the city. Under the Twitter handle M. Snowflake Iannarone, she wrote: “We know the police kill. [The] question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe.”
Larson replied in a tweet: “Gee @sarahforpdx you think the cops make PDX [Portland] dangerous? Read the story and you find the dead man was 1) paranoid schizophrenic 2) invaded a stranger’s home 3) fought with the officer 4) pulled a knife. What’s your millennial snowflake solution to that situation without the cops?”
“By my saying what would be your snowflake solution, she apparently took offense,” Larson told WND, noting he regularly uses the term “snowflake” on his show to describe people who claim they are “triggered” by certain ideas.
And apparently, if her Twitter handle is any indication, Iannarone embraces the term.
“If you start calling people by swear words or epithets, that’s one thing,” Larson said.
And he understands the need to ban threats, especially imminent threats, from social media.
“It’s not free speech,” he said of threats. “But to take off things that are simply pungent commentary is wrong.”
The local Willamette Week reported Iannarone filed the complaint herself.
His ban for “hateful content” ended 12 hours later, only after he deleted the tweet. Larson told WND he tried Twitter’s automated appeal process. But after it failed several times to process, he decided the simplest way to get back on Twitter was to eliminate the tweet.
Clash of ideas
Larson said that what makes Twitter compelling is the exchange of ideas.
“Her idea was to defund the police all together. My idea was that that puts lives at risk. That’s a clash of ideas,” he told WND. “I’m happy to have that disagreement with her.”
Larson said he has invited Iannarone “to come on the program and tell me about your plan for a world without police.”
As a policy on his show, he said, he instructs his call screener to move “naysayers” to the front of the line.
“I put that caller on the air and say, ‘Where do you and I disagree?'” he explained. “Which I think is a pleasant way to start a conversation.”
Iannarone said, according to Willamette Week, that she stands by her decision to report Larson’s account.
“Right-wing Twitter is a platform predicated on inaccurate, misleading, and hateful speech,” she said, “right up to the highest levels of government with our Tweeter-in-chief.”
Larson said that, ironically, “at a time when Americans and the world have greater opportunity for free speech because of technological mechanisms, we are seeing more and more efforts to clamp down on it.”
He has concluded that “conservatives are much more friendly to free speech than liberals.”
Free speech to many on the left, he said, is something akin to Henry Ford’s famous comment that you can have any color of car you want, as long as it’s black.
“Liberals like every kind of free speech,” Larson said, “as long as they agree with it.”