Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Don’t Believe Them…Believe Us!

True, the Midterms demonstrated that the United States is deeply divided. However, they also demonstrated the double standards in the US through the ideological struggle between Democrats and Republicans. For instance, we can take the battle over Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter as an example, thus ownership of social media platforms more broadly, which came after the Democratic left began losing control over these platforms, particularly Twitter.

Early on during the war in Ukraine, Politico wrote that “the biggest social media companies can cut off governments’ online footprints with a few clicks.” However, things have changed after Musk acquired Twitter. A different battle has been launched. CNN anchor John King, during his coverage of the elections, told his viewers to “stay off social media, people. If you’re trying to figure out if there are real issues with voting, trust your local officials and trust us here.”

Alright, what would we conclude if we were to compare what the anchors at CNN say about the Midterms with what they used to say about what was falsely called the Arab Spring- or any other matter relating to the region?

What if we compared the announcer’s statement with the same broadcaster’s reporting about the White House negotiating the provision of free internet to protesters in Iran with Elon Musk? How can you issue warnings about social media during the Midterms and then say that they guarantee freedom of speech elsewhere in the world?

Last week, Biden said: “You can’t love your country only when you win elections.”

The same is true for the morals and values that Washington is propagating around the world. Social media cannot be good when they support those ideologies but be “spewing lies-” as Biden recently said of Twitter- when they do not share the same views. And so, the double standards undermine Washington’s credibility, which is on shaky ground in the first place. It also undermines the credibility of the West and makes those values useless internationally. For those who believe I am exaggerating, ask yourselves this: The United States and activists there criticize some countries in our region for undermining freedoms and restricting freedom of speech on social media. What did they do once the new owner of Twitter, Musk, declared his support for the Republicans? They waged an organized media campaign against him.

The activists’ campaign pushed some advertisers to pull their ads from the website, costing the company money. The question here is, what is the difference between what some governments do to social media and what the Democratic leftist activists and media have done to Twitter?

Of course, there is no difference, though the methods are different. Thus, the flagrant double standards follow narrow partisan criteria, not the national interest.

And so, it is difficult to accept any American rhetoric about values and freedom so long as they are not respected inside the country itself and by the politicians giving us these lectures. The US is in a deep political crisis, and its credibility is on the brink!