benjamin wittes

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Journalist’s puzzling ‘only for booms’ farewell to Twitter gets mocked

His pro-Kavanaugh tweets have made him a controversial pundit.


Ellen Ioanes

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 10, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 6:52 am CDT

Ben Wittes, a journalist and editor of the Lawfare Blog, got roundly owned on Sunday.

“PSA: I’m off Twitter until further notice. I’ll use it only for booms and for things I want to say. I’ll use it as a news source. I’m not going to read any mentions. I’m not going to respond to anyone,” Wittes said.

But plenty of Twitter users had no idea what the hell Wittes was talking about.

Fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald, though, knew exactly what the booms are, and he wasn’t here for it: “Thankfully, he confirmed he will continue to use Twitter for his ‘booms.’ Those .gif cannons have been such an elevating, profund and illuminating contribution to the discourse – of the kind only DC think tank ‘scholars’ are capable – that it would be unbearable to lose those.”

The “booms” Wittes is talking about is the “baby cannon” he’s tried to make into a meme, which he references often on the Rational Security podcast. It’s used when major news related to the Russia/collusion scandal breaks and referenced often on the podcast.

Wittes’ decision to leave Twitter comes after communication between Wittes and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from 2003 became public during last week’s Senate hearings. Wittes has defended Kavanaugh’s claim that he wasn’t directly involved in the vetting of Bill Pryor, a nominee for a judicial appointment in the 11th Circuit. Communication between Wittes and Kavanaugh seems to dispute, or at least complicate, that claim.

Pryor is a conservative judge on the Court of  Appeals who disagrees with Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state anti-sodomy laws.

After the confidential communication was released, Wittes faced enough criticism to force him to step back a bit. As he and others pointed out, though, he’ll still be using Twitter like most of us do—just without engaging in any criticism.

But rest assured, we’ll always have the booms.

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*First Published: Sep 10, 2018, 12:23 pm CDT