Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway remarked Friday that Twitter would probably celebrate were she to find herself on the receiving end of an assassin's bullet.
She's right. Twitter probably would applaud, because Twitter is a cesspit.
"If I were shot and killed tomorrow half of Twitter would explode in applause and excitement," Conway said Friday. "This is the world we live in now."
"It's terrible. Because, again, it's one thing to say I disagree with you on healthcare repeal, or on taxes, or on your plan for national security, but you can't attack people personally in a way, and think that tragedies like this won't happen," she added.
Conway's remarks came amid a larger conversation about a politically motivated assassination attempt this week, which left Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and lobbyist Matt Mika in critical condition. The alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, reportedly hated Republicans and loved progressive politicians and pundits.
Though one can disagree over whether heated political rhetoric led to Wednesday's attack, one would be hard-pressed to disagree with Conway's assertion that parts of Twitter would applaud her death.
The popular social media platform has its moments. But, man, it also seems to inspire the worst in some people. We're not alone in this estimation.
Twitter "intensifies and amplifies pathological social tendencies among those who act within, report on, and write about the political world," Damon Linker rightly noted in the Week. "It turns politicians, political staffers, reporters, editors, pundits, and analysts into petty, vain, childish, showoffy, hostile, vindictive, dogmatic, impulsive, careless versions of their best and most professional selves."
He added, "Twitter is a place … that all-too-often transforms otherwise thoughtful people into a furious mob. This is the phenomenon of ‘outrage porn' that sweeps through the internet, and especially Twitter, with increasing frequency."
He's right. Twitter can be fun, but it also inspires some of the darkest and ugliest behavior in its users. Sadly, Conway's prediction is likely 100 percent accurate.
Speaking of increasingly ugly rhetoric: A significant number of media and political commentators have suggested Wednesday's attack can be traced back to our continuously de-evolving political discourse.
This is a bogus argument. First, it flirts with the notion that free speech ought to be regulated because words are apparently responsible for murder (or attempted murder, at least). Secondly, this argument downplays the importance of personal responsibility.
To Conway's credit, she has laid the blame for Wednesday's attack squarely on the alleged shooter's shoulders. To her discredit, however, she has also come close to siding with the "words kill" philosophy, and all in service of saying Trump critics need to look in the mirror when it comes to the civility debate.
"We don't want to live in a police state because we can't get control of peoples' rhetoric," Conway said Friday.
Nevertheless, she added, "You have images of the president being shot in rappers' videos, being assassinated in a production in New York City, the severed head."
"This is — all of that is a toxic stew. There is nobody to blame but the shooter here, but with the [press' and Democratic lawmakers'] calls for tamping down, there should be some introspection there."