Tuesday on FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson sounded off on free speech online and Elon Musk’s possible takeover of social media platform Twitter.
Carlson criticized the censorship trend online, citing Twitter’s policies regarding conservative thought.
However, he also suggested a Musk takeover of Twitter could be the “last hope” for free speech.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: Has there been, if you look back, a single 24-hour period since Joe Biden became the President when you haven’t been horrified by something you saw on the news? Probably not.
The cascade of absurdities has been relentless, it is like nothing any American has ever seen. And today, we’re sad to say it was especially depressing. Inflation hit another record high, and that’s according to the cooked government statistics our leaders have devised to hide inflation. But it turns out, there’s no hiding the price of meat and gas. The value of the dollar has dropped off a cliff, even as the value of the Russian ruble is rising. So ponder that for a moment and chuckle bitterly to yourself.
And then in New York City this morning, 16 people were shot on the subway in Brooklyn by some lunatic wearing a hoodie. And yet somehow, none of the many surveillance cameras in the subway station happened to be working at the time, so the guy got away.
We do know he was not a White supremacist, so we are betting the media are not going to dwell on this. There’s nothing to gain from covering this particular atrocity, just another mass shooting in a big city. It’s also sad.
But mayhem and economic decline are not for once what we’re opening the show with tonight. No, we have genuinely good news. And here it is.
It looks possible that Elon Musk will seize control of Twitter and end censorship on that platform. Now, why should you care about that? It’s like a tech story, right? Who cares about social media, here’s why you should care, because if that were to happen, we could see a return of free speech to the United States and nothing should give you more hope than that possibility.
A free Twitter would mean an open debate about ideas on the single most important incubator of elite opinion in the world. It would mean a return to free and fair elections in the United States, a system in which both sides are allowed to make their case to the public, and then the public can decide. It is called democracy.
And above all, a free Twitter would mean a direct challenge to the people in charge of our country’s institutions, many of whom are incompetent.
For the first time in years, we will be able to talk honestly about our leaders. We will be able to have the kind of conversations that make democracy possible. We can’t have those conversations now, and there is a reason for it.
The point of censorship is never to shield the weak, no matter what Barack Obama may tell you. The point of censorship, always and everywhere is to protect entrenched power. That’s why it’s the powerful who impose censorship for their own benefit and that is exactly why illegitimate regimes fight so hard to control information through censorship. That’s their main concern.
Why are they so focused on that? That’s why.
Somehow the right does not seem to understand this, the left definitely understands it. Watch this MSNBC anchor appear to realize in real time, what it would mean if the Democratic Party’s donor base ever lost control of an influential social media platform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: And the bigger question on everyone’s mind now, will Musk’s newfound Twitter power mean Trump will be back on the platform? And on that possibly nightmare inducing note, I wish you a good night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: It would be a nightmare, she tells us, if a democratically elected President were allowed to speak in public, and in some way she’s right. Shattering its monopoly on speech could break the Democratic Party. Even an MSNBC anchor understands that. Why are they so determined to keep you from talking? Because they know you’re talking is the threat to their power.
Allowing the free exchange of ideas in America’s public square is far more important than any single election result, and if you don’t believe it, consider what you’ve just seen over the past two years. You can elect Donald Trump if you want, go ahead and do it. But the Democratic Party can still silence Donald Trump at will.
So what does that tell you? Who is more powerful? Voters or the social media companies that control what voters know? It’s not even close.
Republicans in Congress pretend not to understand this. Maybe they really are that stupid, possible. It doesn’t matter because, otherwise, they will never fix it, ever. They’ve had a chance, they passed.
Even Jack Dorsey who created Twitter could not end censorship on Twitter, and so in the end, Jack Dorsey fled his own company when it became a Frankenstein monster that made America more hierarchical rather than less, a company that served the powerful at the expense of everyone else. That was the opposite of the intended effect.
So he just left, he had no choice.
Elon Musk virtually alone in the entire technology industry appears to understand what exactly is happening here. Here is Musk in 2018 appearing on “60 Minutes” acknowledging that in a world of corporate media, Twitter can act as an equalizer. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY STAHL, “60 MINUTES”: You tweet a lot.
ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA: I use my tweets to express myself. Some people use their hair, I use Twitter.
STAHL: Well, but you use your tweeting to kind of get back at critics.
STAHL: You kind of have little wars with the press.
MUSK: Twitter is a war zone. Somebody’s going to jump in the war zone, it is like, okay, you’re in the arena, let’s go.
STAHL: Okay. Who does that sound like?
MUSK: I don’t know. Who does it sound like?
STAHL: It sounds like a guy who lives at the White House.
MUSK: Oh, that guy? Yes, sure. He’s very good at Twitter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Twitter is a warzone. Now, that tape is from three and a half years ago. Twitter is no longer a warzone, there is only one army on the field.
Donald Trump has been banned for Twitter despite the fact he may run in the next presidential race. He’s an active politician with millions of people who would support him he’s been banned.
Charlie Kirk had a huge following on Twitter, he has been suspended, too. So is “The Babylon Bee” and for that matter, this show has been suspended. Questioning a prevailing storyline is the crime. Do that and you’re gone. It doesn’t matter if you’re factually right, we were factually right. It doesn’t matter. Challenge power and you are censored instantly.
Now, it’s hard to believe that the world’s richest man is the only person who could fix this. You’d like to think our democratic systems could fix it, but clearly they can’t. So Elon Musk seems to be our last hope. And tonight, there are signs that Elon Musk plans to do something big with Twitter.
Buying nine percent of the company was clearly more than an investment. He doesn’t need the money. Last week, after Musk became Twitter’s single biggest shareholder, Twitter’s management announced that he would join their Board of Directors. The seat would come with two major restrictions. First, Musk would be barred from owning more than 15 percent of Twitter stock, he would not be allowed to control the company. Second, as a Board member, Elon Musk would have a fiduciary duty to shareholders. And in real terms, that means he could not reveal Twitter’s algorithms.
He couldn’t tell the public what they are. Those algorithms are used to censor and suppress effective critics of the Biden administration, very often without their knowledge. It is done in secret. You can’t fight back. You don’t even know what’s happening. So, he could not challenge that if you took a Board seat.
But this weekend, Musk abruptly pulled out of the deal, and that means he is free to buy more shares of Twitter. In fact, to control it.
On Sunday night, Twitter’s pro-censorship CEO, Parag Agrawal told Twitter employees to brace for Musk’s attempt at a hostile takeover. He also strongly implied that Twitter will not submit unless forced quote, “There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged.”
So you have to ask yourself how exactly would Twitter, which is a public company fight off a hostile takeover from the richest guy in the world. And already you can see the strategy to keep Elon Musk at bay.
First, Twitter is enlisting the help of corporate media. Now corporate media stands to lose at least as much as the Democratic Party will lose if Twitter is liberated. Competition is terrible for the mediocre and the illegitimate.
So MSNBC understands this intuitively, even the airheads who read the scripts on the air and so they were the first to answer the call. What did they do? You know exactly what they did. They did what they always do. They called Elon Musk a racist. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: They are not right-wingers, another bro fascist is waiting in the wings to defend your right to spew bile online in the name of free speech, and that is coming up next.
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, PUBLISHER, THE.INK: He is building in Tesla a documentedly racist company that perhaps reminds him, gives him nostalgic memories of apartheid South Africa where he grew up. He is more than that, an embodiment of what I would say is Twitter’s biggest strategic problem, which is a hostile, cruel, dangerous online environment, especially for women, especially for people of color, women of color in particular.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: We can bore you with a rebuttal to the ludicrous explanation you just heard, but it’s not necessary. If you have an IQ above room temperature, you laugh at it. That’s the lowest brow propaganda possible. It’s all MSNBC is capable of. “He is a racist, ignore him.”
But at “The Washington Post,” they served up something slightly different, a little more stealthy. They listed the former CEO of Reddit, an activist mediocrity called Ellen Pao, who couldn’t manage to actually run Reddit, to write an op-ed with this title, quote: “Elon Musk’s vision of free speech will be bad for Twitter.” And then the peace contained this line. Now, this line doesn’t so much reveal a lack of self-awareness as it does commit murder against the entire concept of trying to support it and here is what it is, quote: “Musk’s appointment to Twitter’s Board shows that we need regulation of social media platforms to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.”
Now once again, this ran in The Washington Post, a paper that apparently unbeknownst to the editors who work there is owned by billionaire oligarch, Jeff Bezos, China’s biggest retailer and used as his personal platform to lobby the Federal government and settle scores.
So Jeff Bezos can own the only newsgathering operation in your nation’s capital and use it for business and ideological ends, but the idea of letting average people say what they want on Twitter is a threat to democracy.
And if you think that’s hilarious, you should read the piece in The Guardian. It was written by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, a little Stalinist, quote: “Elon Musk’s vision for the internet is dangerous nonsense.” And the subhead read this way, quote: “Musk has long advocated for libertarian vision of an uncontrolled internet. That’s also the dream of every dictator, strongman, and demagogue.” Right?
So what dictators, strongmen, and demagogues want is the people over whom they rule to say whatever they want, and to challenge their power. That’s kind of the way dictatorships work, isn’t that right, Robert Reich?
The funny thing is, Robert Reich is a lifelong leftist now pushing 80. You can imagine the Robert Reich of say 1970, when he was a little college advocate. You would be a little bit surprised to see the Robert Reich of nearly 80 calling for a total crackdown on the opinions of ordinary people. But you know, people get power and they change.
But that doesn’t make any sense as an argument. You can see why they stick to calling Elon Musk a racist on cable news. They just stick to the same old script. That’s what they’re doing at CNN, of course. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAIRE ATKINSON, CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, INSIDER: I think in some ways, it’s a good thing that Elon is out there tweeting, livening up Twitter and making it more entertaining as Kara said, he’s a funny guy. But there are serious questions behind that. What happens next? Does he push for a full acquisition? We don’t know.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and then maybe, he is just in it for the LOLs, but some of the memes he posts on Twitter, anti- trans memes, anti-COVID vaccine memes. There is a reason to be skeptical, I think here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Anti-COVID — he has questions about the mandatory COVID vaccine. Crush him.
No one is won over by this. It’s absurd.
So clearly, that propaganda strategy will not win open minds to the side of censorship. In fact, it’s impossible to win open minds to the side of censorship because the idea is repugnant to any free spirit. So, there’s other tools that Twitter is going to have to use to stop a hostile takeover on behalf of free speech.
So for example, it’s virtually certain that Twitter is on the phone now with corporate lawyers in New York finding ways to use what’s known as a poison pill strategy to minimize Elon Musk’s ownership stake as much as it possibly can.
One option, and this would be really interesting, is to give Twitter shareholders the ability to buy many more shares at a discount to dilute Musk’s control over the company. But that strategy is not guaranteed to work. Musk himself has a ton of options aside from buying all the shares he wants.
For example, he might think of this. Elon Musk could enlist the public, the pro-free speech public in his hostile takeover of Twitter. So anyone who is against censorship could buy Twitter stock, and then pledge his or her proxy votes to Elon Musk, and that would give him control of the company and the company would be free. That would also be the single most revolutionary event ever to take place in the history of finance. It can be pretty thrilling to watch, and it might work. Maybe he will try it.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor
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