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Douglas Andrews / October 21, 2021

Will Trump’s TRUTH Set Speech Free?

The former president’s new foray into social media promises to be full-throated and well-funded.

Successful businesspeople are successful primarily because they’re able to identify a consumer need and then effectively respond to it. The same can be said for successful entertainers. And successful politicians. They read and respond to the needs of their audience or their constituency.

Donald Trump has achieved success in all three of these realms: business, entertainment, and politics. He made his fortune in the cutthroat world of Manhattan real estate; he starred in and built the brand of a wildly successful reality TV show; and then, after years of teasing a run for the presidency, he jumped into a crowded and talented Republican field and laid waste to it, ultimately overcoming Big Tech, Big Media, Big Government, Hollywood, the schools, the colleges and universities, the foundations, the increasingly woke large corporations, and the Clinton, Obama, Bush, and Goldberg machines on his way to the White House.

Now, sensing the American people’s disdain for the tech and media monopolists’ selective suppression of speech, he aims to restore the marketplace of ideas by cutting the Left’s social media empire down to size.

How? Trump announced Wednesday the launch of his very own media network, the Trump Media and Technology Group, which will include a social media platform called “TRUTH Social.”

The TRUTH Social app appears to be the first project of the new Trump organization, which will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange by way of a merger with Digital World Acquisition Group. Trump vows to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech” with an organization whose mission is “to create a rival to the liberal media consortium.”

To be sure, Trump is still the little guy in this David-versus-Goliath story, but he’ll have some serious financial wherewithal with which to do battle: The transaction values the Trump Media and Technology Group at up to $1.7 billion. “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American president has been silenced,” Trump said, as only Trump could say.

Trump, who’s been sentenced to lifetime bans from Facebook and Twitter, is also suing Big Tech, and his case is compelling. “One of the gravest threats to our democracy today,” he said, “is a powerful group of Big Tech corporations that have teamed up with government to censor the free speech of the American people. This is not only wrong — it is unconstitutional. To restore free speech for myself and for every American, I am suing Big Tech to stop it.”

Trump briefly experimented with a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” whose posts could be shared by others on Facebook and Twitter. It was obviously unsatisfying. Next up for Trump was a simple website on which he riffed briefly about the day’s events or issued more detailed policy statements and press releases. But this too was limited, because it didn’t restore Trump’s powerful social media presence, which included nearly 90 million followers on Twitter alone.

“Congratulations to President Trump for re-entering the social media fray!” said former Trump spokesman Jason Miller, who in July launched his own free-speech social media platform, GETTR. “Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share.”

The downside of Trump’s social media venture is, of course, the high likelihood that it’ll further polarize the American people: Those on the Left will stick with their Trump-deranged friends at Facebook and Twitter, while those on the Right will flock to Trump’s rival platform. Thus, there’ll be two rival echo chambers with very little cross-pollination.

Here’s hoping Trump aims higher. And here’s hoping that the former president’s commitment to free speech remains unqualified, and that his platform draws a diverse array of ideas and opinions — from the Right, the Left, and all points in between — and that all of them will stand or fall on their merits, rather than on the whims and wishes of agenda-driven oligarchs.

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