Ad announcing Blackburn campaign for senate banned by Twitter

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, one of the most powerful women in Congress, announced last week that she would seek the GOP nomination for the open Senate seat in Tennessee being vacated by Senator Bob Corker.  Her campaign posted a link to a video of her announcement on Twitter and sought to buy an ad to promote the video.

But Twitter, citing "inflammatory language" in the video announcement, refused to sell any ad space.  They deemed a statement by Blackburn on the congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood likely to provoke a "strong negative reaction."


GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker, launched her campaign last week with a video proclaiming herself "a hard core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative." In her announcement video, she boasts: "I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God."

Twitter decided the line violated its ad policies, according to an email obtained by POLITICO. A Twitter spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment. The video is still on Twitter, but the campaign is barred from paying to promote it.

The line refers to her work leading a House select committee investigating Planned Parenthood following a 2015 controversy in which videos shot by undercover conservative journalists appeared to show the group profiting from the sale of fetal body tissue. Democrats have argued the panel's inquiry was a waste of taxpayer funds, intended to concoct a reason to shut down the group.

Planned Parenthood consistently denied wrongdoing and never faced criminal charges.

"It appears that the line in this video specific to 'stopped the sale of baby body parts' has been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction," a Twitter employee wrote to two employees of Targeted Victory, a digital GOP consulting firm working for Blackburn's campaign. "If this is omitted from the video it will be permitted to serve."

"This is urgent. I'm being censored for telling the truth," Blackburn wrote. "Twitter has shut down my announcement video advertising. Silicon Valley elites are trying to impose their values on us. When I talked about our legislative accomplishments to stop the sale of baby body parts, they responded by calling our ad 'inflammatory' and 'negative.'"

This sounds like a completely arbitrary decision.  Where are the guidelines on "inflammatory" statements?  One might question whether the statement is true or not – Planned Parenthood is, after all, still selling fetal body parts, even though it claims that it is only recovering "expenses" when harvesting the tissue.  But even if the statement isn't entirely accurate, it's hard to see how it could be more "inflammatory" than some claims by Democrats.

Democrats, who are investigating the negative influence of a foreign government on the 2016 election, are looking at the wrong entity.  It's not the Russians we should be worried about when it comes to tipping American elections; it's Silicon Valley, whose power to sway voters makes Russian hacking look small, indeed.

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