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The impact of words—said, unsaid, repeated, tweeted, and deleted, on and offline—is in full and tragic evidence after 11 worshipers are murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue by an anti-Semite with an automatic rifle. President Trump, who has invoked widely recognized anti-Semitic code in attacking ‘globalists’ and financier George Soros, eventually condemns the attack but then goes back vitriol against his political critics, the media, and baseball coaching. Gab, the social network where the Pittsburgh gunman had exposed his extremist views to other anti-Semites, invokes ‘free speech’ as it shut down because companies refuse to continue hosting the site. Twitter apologizes for not acting against the Florida Trump supporter accused of sending pipe bombs to Democratic officials and donors and CNN when he threatened a Democratic political commentator after a Fox News appearance. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs comes under criticism for engaging with guests in promoting false conspiracy theories around Soros and the mailed pipe bombs. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy deletes tweet claiming Soros and two other Democratic donors, all Jewish, were trying to ‘buy’ the midterm elections. – Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


The Conspiratorial Hate We See Online Is Increasingly Appearing In Real Life
“The violent errata left by these domestic terrorists aren’t inaccessible, hundred-page, hand-scrawled manifestos or garages filled with red string and corkboards; instead, they’re Facebook posts and tweets and enthusiastic online trolling, the likes of which many of us come in contact with on a daily basis.”

Trump Calls for Unity After Synagogue Shooting, Then Swiftly Denounces Democrats
Trump again demonstrated that he would not be swayed from the call of the campaign trail during a politically volatile and violent midterm election season. In minutes, he moved from a call for unity to attacking and name-calling Democrats.

Far-Right Social Network Gab Suspends Operation Following Backlash Over Hosting Synagogue Shooter
Gab took down Bowers’ account following the shooting, but the company has spent much of the weekend defending posts like those made by Bowers as free speech. As a result, Gab was dropped by cloud hosting provider Joyent as well as payment processing providers PayPal and Stripe.

Twitter Says That It ‘Made a Mistake’ for Not Removing Threatening Tweets Linked to Florida Bomb Suspect
After Cesar Sayoc Jr. was arrested on the suspicion that he mailed 13 explosives to prominent critics of President Trump, the spotlight turned on a Twitter he allegedly used to issue veiled threats to critics of the President. Twitter has apologized for not acting on tweets that clearly violated its terms of conduct.

Fox Condemns Rhetoric Used by Lou Dobbs Guest as Channel’s Star Host Faces Growing Criticism
Fox’s senior vice president for programming released a statement denouncing what many people called an anti-Semitic trope used by a guest on Lou Dobbs’ show. The episode was rebroadcast hours after a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and murdered 11 people.

House Majority Leader Deletes Tweet Saying Soros, Bloomberg, Steyer Are Trying to ‘Buy’ Election
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted and later deleted a tweet last week that suggested three Jewish, billionaire Democratic donors—George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg—were attempting to “buy” the 2018 midterm elections. The tweet came just one day after authorities intercepted what appeared to be a pipe bomb sent to Soros’ New York home.


Journalist Adil Yigit, Who Protested Turkey’s Erdogan, May Be Deported from Germany
During a press conference with Erdogan and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin last month, journalist Adil Yigit wore a t-shirt inscribed with the slogan “Freedom for journalists in Turkey” before he was taken out of the room by security. Now he’s told he will have to leave Germany. If sent to Turkey, he could be threatened with torture or arbitrary arrest.

OSCE Slams Moscow For Heavy Fine Against Independent News Website
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has condemned an “exceptionally high” fine imposed by a Moscow court against The New Times for allegedly failing to comply with financial reporting obligations under Russia’s controversial “foreign agents” law.

Serbian Govt Criticized for Publishing War Criminals’ Books
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said in an open letter to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic that the move to publish and promote books that include the war memories of two former generals convicted of war crimes amounted to open state support for the war criminals.

Fear and Anger Won the Election in Brazil. It’s a Wake-Up Call to the World
“The lesson for champions of open democracy is glaring. Its values cannot be taken for granted. … Social media—once hailed as an agent of global concord—has become the purveyor of falsity, anger, and hatred. Its algorithms polarize opinion. Its pseudo-information drives argument to the extremes.”

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