Civil Discourse director says tweets like Gosar's can lead to violence

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Sunday, November 21, 2021 - 6:20pm

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar was censured and stripped of his committee assignments by the House last week after posting an anime-styled video on Twitter that features him killing a congresswoman and attacking President Joe Biden.

After Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011, the National Institute of Civil Discourse was founded at the University of Arizona.

Keith Allred is the executive director for the institute, and he spoke to PBS’s “Arizona Horizons” about the post.

“Since Jan. 6, we understand that speech or tweets that — maybe they weren’t explicitly meant to stir up actual violence — can nevertheless be interpreted that way,” Allred said. “We’ve seen that that can happen, so I think it’s serious and dangerous.”

Allred said controversial tweets like Gosar’s that garner attention online help candidates win elections, but do not help them implement policy or further political discussion. Gosar is the 24th member of Congress to be censured since its foundation.