Donald Trump Previews First Amendment Crackdown in Heavily Censored Reddit AMA
Instead of a typical ‘Ask Me Anything’ free-for-all, Reddit hosted a tightly controlled production Wednesday night—with even mildly probing questions quickly deleted.
Ask Me Anything…about how wonderful I am.
The premise of these things is, well, that the subject gets asked about anything under the sun. It’s where Bill Murray told his fans about the best party he’d ever crashed (the “Subway Party” in the ‘70s in New York) and where CNN anchor Don Lemon said his namesake cocktail would consist of “a lil vodka, some lemonade, a splash of sparkling water for bubbles and I’d stir with one of my fingers.”
But The_Donald’s moderators, who refer to him as “God Emperor” and regularly participate in mysogynist and white nationalist Reddit communities, made sure no probing or challenging questions or even mild criticism made it onto the thread.
The result was a production so tightly controlled you’d think Trump was running for president of North Korea.
“Hello The_Donald readers and the entire Reddit community—this is going to be SO huge and I’m looking forward to answering your questions,” Trump—or more likely a member of his staff speaking for him—said.
“I’m doing this in flight to visit the great people of Toledo, OH, so Internet connection might be spotty—I promise you, I’ll answer all the questions I can. I want to do BIG things for America and as your President, I WILL Make America Great Again!”
Questioners referred to the Republican nominee as “Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. Trump, What is your favorite Meme of yourself?” one asked.
“Mr. Trump, I’m very excited to see you as our 45th President of the United States and I truly believe this will be the case. Your views, while strong, are what this country needs to steer us away from an otherwise bleak and ‘politically correct’ future,” another said.
The_Donald’s moderators are famous for quashing all dissent.
They’ve banned users for statements as innocuous as “Companies will be incentivized to move 100% offshore.”
A pro-Trump user once asked anti-Trump users to provide “factual data” to back up their opposition to the Republican nominee. All those anti-Trump facts, more than 100 of them, were quickly deleted, and many of the users who posted them banned. Despite the immediately visible paper trail, the community took a victory lap, since no one was able to provide a factual reason to oppose their preferred candidate.
When The Daily Beast asked on Wednesday: “Why won’t you release your tax returns? Your claim that it’s improper to do so because you’re under audit has been widely debunked by tax experts. If you’re as wealthy as you claim and you truly have no financial ties to the Russian government, what do you have to lose?” the question was deleted within 15 minutes.
The moderators of the Q&A once put out an open call for more help maintaining the subreddit, and the questionnaire provided to potential applicants included queries such as “Is white supremacy different than white nationalism?” “Use cuck in a sentence,” and “Was 9/11 an inside job?”
Trump gladly answered their questions.
“I have been very concerned about media bias and the total dishonesty of the press. I think new media is a great way to get out the truth,” he responded when asked, “How will you, as president, tackle this protected class of media elites without stepping on the first amendment rights of average Americans?”
Asked why Clinton doesn’t hold press conferences, Trump said, “Crooked Hillary Clinton will not do press conferences because she cannot explain her illegally deleted 33,000 emails, or her disaster in Libya, or her role pushing TPP (which she would 100% approve if she got the chance), or her support for a 550% increase in Syrian refugees, etc.”
The Daily Beast reached out to moderators for the subreddit asking if and why they intend to delete comments and ban users—especially while supporting a candidate who rails against political correctness. “In the past people have actually ignored responses that don’t support their story so we are not answering media inquiries outside of formal channels any longer,” wrote a moderator named Pancakees. That moderator then referred The Daily Beast to a “formal” email address. The questions went ignored at press time.
But even softballs seemed too hard for the Republican nominee. Asked a five bullet-point question by one user, oldie101, Trump could only answer two bullet points.
Oldie10, who identified his- or herself as a Trump supporter, wanted to know, “Question 1: We firmly believe Hillary will try and steal this election through vote fraud, especially given recent events. What is your campaign doing to ensure that we have a fair election? Question 2: What role should NASA play in helping to Make America Great Again? Question 3: How do you feel about WikiLeaks? Does it change your opinion on Snowden? Question 4: What is your opinion on Net Neutrality? Question 5: Has your campaign ever gotten any ideas from the_donald? Thank you for taking the time to join us today and we look forward to continuing to Make America Great Again with you.”
Trump replied, “1 - Voter fraud is always a serious concern and authorities must be vigilant from keeping those from voting that are not authorized to do so. 2 - Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration.”
In the end, like so many things in this election, Wednesday’s AMA could be summed up by user jebisatotalmess’s commentary: “LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP”