Thursday night, Rep. Devin Nunes — he of the Republican-led, House of Representatives pushback on the longest investigation in the history of mankind (kidding, but it feels like it), or what we know as the Russia collusion probe — made an interesting statement on The Ingraham Angle that was pregnant with meaning but that many may have missed:
“I don’t know what these people are going to do, this cottage industry of press people, they’re gonna have to go learn code or something.”
Background #1: Nunes is discussing the desire of the new House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to “re-do” the Russian collusion investigation (translation: keep it going until we all die of it probably) despite recent reports linking him to the author of the now-mostly laughable dossier, Christopher Steele.
Background #2: Nunes, referring to journalists as perhaps needing to aspire to coding now that their dream of covering the fall of the Trump administration looks to be less likely by the day, has its roots in, of all things, the coal industry.
As far back as 2014, progressive politicians and activists who had an interest in promoting green energy began to discuss what coal miners who had generations of history might be able to do instead of that work when, as Hillary Clinton put it in a 2016 campaign stop in Ohio: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Teaching coal miners to code had been floated by no less that Facebook’s Zuckerberg himself and had been popping up for a few years prior to Clinton’s gaffe as leftists prepared for her ascendency to the White House.
Cut to January of 2019, when mass layoffs happened at both Buzzfeed and Huffington Post ( arguably, at least in Buzzfeed’s case, because their journalism was thinly-veiled activism that kept getting them in trouble when it turned out to be factually inaccurate).
As a response, many right-leaning Twitter users began suggesting that those laid off journalists should “learn to code,” leading Twitter (according to “those in the know,” whatever that means) to make the “clapback” a violation of their terms of service.
I am told by a person in the know that tweeting "learn to code" at any recently laid off journalist will be treated as "abusive behavior" and is a violation of Twitter's Terms of Service
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 28, 2019
They’ve even gotten downright snowflake about it:
"Learn to code" was tweeted at me by a sketchy account. I reported it as abusive behavior as part of targeted harassment. Twitter suspended the account within 20 minutes.
Journalists if they tweet "learn to code" at you don't stay silent, take a moment to report it. https://t.co/RXgqqV2ptw
— Ben Popken (@bpopken) February 1, 2019
Conservative Twitter has long been concerned about what they see as a violation of free speech on the platform, and now it looks like they have even more arrows in that quiver as The Daily Caller’s editor in chief was locked out of his Twitter account for tweeting “learn to code” at The Daily Show.
And all for the sin of clapping back using the language of their political opponents.
Devin Nunes just blew that dogwhistle really, really hard.