The Reload is journalist Stephen Gutowski’s year-old Substack subscription venture that features, as he describes it, “sober, serious reporting on–as well as analysis of–firearms policy and politics to accomplish those goals. No hot takes. No screaming. No manipulating. Just reporting.”
If you’ve ever read any of Gutowski’s free content, you know that’s exactly what he puts out. We here at TTAG take a slightly more pointed approach to all things gun-related, but that’s OK. As The Reload’s success in the last year as demonstrated, there’s a market out there for buttoned-up content that reports the “details and nuances of big gun stories” along with our approach, too. There are plenty of eyeballs out there for all of us.
The Reload’s sober reportage, however, is apparently too much for the pathetically photophobic, safe space-craving millennials at Twitter to countenance. As of some time last night, anyone who clicks on a tweet linking to one of The Reload’s stories gets this caution . . .
Malicious links? Doubtful. Substack doesn’t do that. Spammy content. Nope. Violent or misleading content that leads to IRL harm? It hasn’t happened. Content that violates Twitter’s rules when posted to the hellsite itself? Please.
The problem, we expect, is that someone at a gun control org or possibly even in the .gov let the Twitter drones know that they don’t like the kind of content Gutowski puts out. Even straight-laced pro-gun content that could be published in any corporate media outlet (and has actually been cited by many of them) is over the line as far as Twitter is concerned.
As a test, we posted a link to one of our stories there to see what happens. It didn’t produce the warning message that’s being put up in front of The Reload’s content.
Maybe that’s because we rarely post links to our stories at Twitter. We get almost no clickthroughs from posts there. That’s because our tweets have been shadow-banned by Twitter for years. Posting tweets linking to our content is a waste of time and electrons.
Meanwhile, Twitter employees have been freaking out in the last couple of weeks at the prospect of the site being taken over by Elon Musk, who made an offer to acquire the platform. Musk’s move has been greeted by shrieks of horror from Twitter employees and many of the usual suspects.
Somehow, though, when another Bond villain bought one of the nation’s most prominent newspapers, nary a peep was heard from any of them. Go figure.
As one former Twitter engineer derisively tweeted about Musk’s ambitions . . .
Every clown out there thinks they can drive the clown car better than the clowns currently behind the wheel.
— Ian Brown (@igb) April 14, 2022
Some who still work there are allegedly now looking for a safer space, a place where opinions and political positions that challenge their own beliefs and views are kept out.
My name is Jackson Mulholland & I’m one of many ppl here working at @Twitter in charge of developing terms & conditions for users. We’re not stripping away “free speech”, we’re protecting users from bullies, bigots, & spam. I refuse to work with or for @elonmusk. I’m resigning🏳️🌈
— J. Mulholland (@MulhollandL0ver) April 4, 2022
It seems that the prospect of Twitter becoming a forum where people of all political and cultural persuasions can post and exchange ideas on an equal footing is threatening to those who have come to depend on the platform’s one-sided enforcement of their “community standards.”
Musk’s offer was, of course, rejected by Twitter management via the adoption of a poison pill provision to try to preserve their own control. Last night, though, the mega-billionaire hinted (with a couple of blast-from-the-past references) that the board’s desperate move hasn’t deterred him.
What is best in life?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 22, 2022
It appears that Musk is preparing to go full Carl Icahn on Twitter’s management with a vintage 1980s-style hostile takeover bid. Plenty of us will be popping lots of popcorn and watching with interest from the sidelines. We’re willing to bet the clown with the huge bankroll can drive that Volkswagen much more profitably and fairly than the jokers who’ve been careening behind the wheel for years.