The Dane County executive made it clear that he opposes free speech, at least for conservatives, in issuing a directive ordering county departments not to use the popular social media platform “X.”
The directive came to light when the Dane County Airport suddenly announced it was leaving Twitter, prompting social media users to respond that they won’t use the airport. In the immortal words of Elon Musk, wrote one: Go f*ck yourself.
— WOW County Jeff (@pit_hater) December 2, 2023
It turns out that the airport’s action was ordered by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, an elected official.
On Nov. 28, 2023, he wrote the taxpayer funded department heads of Dane County as well as all other elected officials: “Recent events remind us that hate remains present in our culture despite the many great strides of progress we as a people have accomplished in recent decades. Hate manifests itself in several troubling forms. From disturbing demonstrations staged by individuals intended to intimidate and hurt to the dangerous, incendiary abuse of social media platforms that exacerbate the most extremist voices among us, we know as a society room remains to do better.”
Parisi continued: “As a county government, it’s important we lead by example and ensure the way we deliver services doesn’t inadvertently or unintentionally condone such behavior. There’s been much recent attention on an uptick of hate speech allowed on the social media platform “X,” formerly known as Twitter. Considering this, I would like all departments to phase out utilization of X effective immediately and cease using it all together no later than January 1, 2024. We are in a day and age where there are multiple means to distribute information in a more complete and equally timely manner.”
He then criticized social media use in general, writing, “There’s a bigger societal question we should all ponder as well, as increasing research is demonstrating the harms social media is having on our young people. It’s become too easy of a vehicle for bullying, has created new addictive dependencies, and its increased prevalence directly coincides with higher national rates of anxiety and other behavioral and mental health challenges, especially in our younger generations. As a community that invests a great deal into the wellbeing of our young people each year, I think it’s appropriate all departments review social media practices and take steps where possible to minimize interruption and utilize these platforms when they’re truly the most effective communications tool available to inform the public about county services. A little less time on our devices and more time out enjoying the parks, trails, friends, and all our incredible community has to offer is good for all of us!”
The airport then announced that it would log “off of X indefinitely.”
“Dane County Regional Airport is logging off of X indefinitely. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or check out our website for future information and updates from the airport,” the airport’s page on X said on Dec. 2, 2023.
Dane County Regional Airport is logging off of X indefinitely. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or check out our website for future information and updates from the airport.
— MSN Airport (@MSN_Airport) December 1, 2023
You know, because allowing free speech in a democracy is so dangerous.
Dane County Republican chairman Brandon Maly told WRN, “Let me get this straight, Dane County Regional Airport is officially boycotting the quickest, easiest way to communicate with travelers. Why? Numerous large corporations basically want to boycott, divest, and sanction one of the largest social media platforms because of a tweet by Elon Musk that leftists perceived as Anti-Semitic? Bizzaro world! These hypocrites are virtue signaling to the base rather than standing up against legitimate issues plaguing society. In the last two weeks, Elon has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has been on the ground in Israel to see first-hand the terrorism they are fighting. Elon Musk is hardly an anti-semite. X is also the only major platform NOT to censor the brutality inflicted upon Israel by Hamas. These companies and Dane County Regional Airport should be ashamed of themselves. Dane County Regional just received an additional large investment of Federal Funds. Now our federal tax dollars are going to shutting down free speech and picking winners and losers amongst the major social media companies when it is convenient for them. As disappointing as this is, it shouldn’t be surprising considering that less than two weeks ago the U.S. military warned service members not to attend a rally with the Turning Point Action COO in North Dakota. Wake up everyone, government persecution of U.S. citizens is on the ballot in 2024!”
“Maybe fire the woke admin who made this decision. There is no way faster to get the word out about emergencies, hazards, passenger threats or issues. But you Madison types put woke above all. Disgusting,” responded one X user to the airport.
Maybe fire the woke admin who made this decision. There is no way faster to get the word out about emergencies, hazards, passenger threats or issues. But you Madison types put woke above all. Disgusting.
— Sarah Good (@catpurrsarenice) December 2, 2023
The airport should take care not to take political stances that boost a political perspective. We take the Dane County Airport’s action as an insult to conservatives and a sign that they are not welcome there. The Dane County airport, which is located in Madison, Wisconsin, is a major regional airport that hosts flights from these airlines: American Airlines, Breeze Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines. We have contacted the airlines for comment.
We urge conservatives and all people who value free speech to take their business elsewhere.
We are. We aren’t the only ones.
I’ll never use MSN again. MkE only now.
— Taxman (@taxman_555) December 2, 2023
In case you’re wondering, the director of the Dane County Airport is someone named Kim Jones. Jones was appointed airport director by the Dane County Executive in 2018. We wrote the airport and asked these questions:
Why is the airport taking a stand against free speech?
What do you say to conservatives who perceive this as the airport taking a political stand against conservatives? How is that appropriate?
Why should conservatives and others who believe in free speech use your airport anymore?
Who made this decision?
In light of the you recently receiving federal tax dollars, how can you justify taking a stand against free speech and that many conservatives think means you are hostile to their points of view?
The airport responded by sending us Parisi’s email.
We stand with Elon Musk in his efforts to create a very needed free speech space. We believe all who do must boycott the feckless businesses and governmental entities currently in overdrive to destroy him. As boycotts against Target and Bud Light showed, conservatives can make a difference when they fight back.
And we’ve used the Dane County Airport recently. No more. Some of the responses from X users to the Dane County Airport’s announcement were hilarious:
Lol this is the most cringe Madison/Dane County thing ever…way to go, you made your 23 year old comms manager happy cause they are angry at Elon Musk.
— OldAbeBurnerAccount (@OldAbeBurnerAcc) December 2, 2023
Your posts had absolutely zero value anyway. You won’t be missed.
— Sea-foh (@SeeFoam1) December 2, 2023
All ones of your viewers will be devastated. 🙄
— Gabby25 (@Gabby2Angels) December 2, 2023
No loss. Also, not surprised – virtue signaling is demanded in The People's Socialist Republic of Madison.
— Sir Mike, Knight of the Kitchen Table (@MisterLousy) December 2, 2023
— OutdoorsWI (@outdoorswi1) December 2, 2023