Let’s set the stage: Devin Nunes, a congressman from California in the United States House of Representatives, is suing an imaginary cow.
And no, that is not the headline of an Onion article.
People often say reality is stranger than fiction, and here’s a strong example why.
Devin Nunes is suing a Twitter account called Devin Nunes’ cow with the handle @DevinCow. He’s also suing Twitter itself, political strategist Liz Mair, and another Twitter account impersonating Devin Nunes’ mother.
Nunes’ allegations against them is defamation and accusing Twitter of shadow-banning people with conservative views, and he has compiled a staggering 40-page lawsuit against Twitter and the other accounts with the offensive, yet hilarious tweets inside.
“The purpose of the concerted defamation campaign was to cause immense pain, intimidate, interfere with and divert Nunes’ attention from his investigation of corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election,” the lawsuit claims.
Although it may look like Nunes is out of his mind, there is substance hidden in between the lines. It may be too optimistic, but it is hard believe that Nunes and his legal team are genuinely stupid enough to believe this lawsuit will actually go anywhere.
So, why sue then?
It’s because one of two things. The first is due to Nunes generating an insane amount of publicity for himself by suing the Twitter accounts. He was in the spotlight during February 2018 after the release of the highly controversial Nunes Memo, which alleged the FBI conjured up the Russian investigation in an attempt to bring President Trump down. He has largely fallen back into obscurity since then, and this is an attempt to rectify that problem.
The second involves Nunes using this ridiculous defamation campaign to his advantage by using it as a catalyst to generate discussion on the allegations of shadow-banning by large tech companies such as Twitter. This isn’t Twitter’s first rodeo on the topic of shadow-banning: the debate started in July 2018, when Republicans alleged that Twitter was shadow-banning prominent party members such as President Trump’s spokesman, Ronna Romney McDaniel.
Ever since then, conservatives have had beef with Twitter, claiming they censor them, while Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey disagrees, although he has said that Twitter has a right to censor due to being a privately-owned company. Regardless, this has been a point of high contention that still rages on today. With Nunes’ lawsuit on the horizon, the debate is only going to get more heated.
Although Nunes may have made himself look like a bumbling fool, if he wanted to generate discussion or publicity, then he’s succeeded. @Devincow is sitting at an astounding 622,000 followers as of Mar. 22, 2019, up from a measly 1,204 ever since the lawsuit went public. While it may not have been his intention to make his imaginary cow more famous than he is, Nunes has generated national buzz to do so.
Or, Nunes really could just be an udder idiot and actually believes this lawsuit will net him 250 million dollars. Only Nunes truly knows.