Twitter users jumped on tech mogul Elon Musk’s tweet Monday attacking the media for being “against free speech.”
At Monday’s White House press conference, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the Biden administration is “keeping a close eye” on Twitter after Reuters’ Andrea Shalal asked what is being done to prevent the platform from becoming a “vector for misinformation.”
“There’s a researcher at Stanford who says that this is a critical moment, really, in terms of ensuring that Twitter does not become a vector of misinformation,” Shalal said. “Elon Musk says there’s more and more subscribers coming online, are you concerned about that and what tools do you have – who is it at the White House that is really keeping track of this?”
Political commentator Dave Rubin shared video of the exchange, condemning the reporter for advocating for the government to intervene in social media. Musk responded by calling out the media for acting against free speech with regard to Twitter.
“Absolutely insane watching The Machine go after @elonmusk for defending free speech. This whole exchange is kabuki theater, from the ridiculous leading question by the ‘journalist’ to KJP’s obviously pre-planned response,” Rubin tweeted.
Musk tweeted in response, “Why are so many in the media against free speech? This is messed up,”
Absolutely insane watching The Machine go after @elonmusk for defending free speech. This whole exchange is kabuki theater, from the ridiculous leading question by the “journalist” to KJP’s obviously pre-planned response. https://t.co/JBCnwQ8d6c
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) November 28, 2022
Several social media users agreed with Musk, telling him that the mainstream media is now determined to limit free speech.
“Their world view doesn’t rely on truth. It relies on emotion and truth interferes with that. Freedom of speech interferes with them controlling the narrative. And here you are to flip that,” RedState columnist Buzz Patterson tweeted.
Radio host Gerry Callahan wrote, “So messed up, so wrong, so unAmerican. Musk should be viewed as a hero for what he’s doing for free speech. Instead the media want the federal government to crush him. Freaking insanity.”
“This is about raw power, and control over the flow of information. The same principle underlies the battle over ‘Spanish-language disinformation,’” director of MRC Latino Jorge Bonilla explained.
“They’re literally scared to death of Twitter 2.0. Massive implications for the future, especially in politics,” PJ Media columnist Ryan Ledendecker commented.
Florida Congressman Byron Donalds wrote, “The media loves freedom of the press, but free speech opens the door for the media to be challenged.”
The media loves freedom of the press, but free speech opens the door for the media to be challenged. https://t.co/NPmGbGJ6QZ
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) November 28, 2022
However, some Twitter users attacked Musk’s comment as well as Musk’s insistence on defending free speech.
“What’s your take on the protests in China? As a free speech advocate surely you have some thoughts,” journalist Matthew Yglesias replied.
“In Apartheid Clyde’s mind he genuinely views himself as arbiter of free speech. He’s use[d] to sycophants lauding every idea fart he has and gov subsidies,” Up to Us strategic advisor Cullen Dudas wrote.
“Screaming ‘FREE SPEECH’ on Twitter is the new ‘BUILD THE WALL!’” actress Angela Belcamino tweeted.
Screaming “FREE SPEECH” on Twitter is the new “BUILD THE WALL!”
— Angela Belcamino (@AngelaBelcamino) November 28, 2022
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., recently raised eyebrows on free speech concerns himself by threatening Musk “will pay” for refusing to respond to his concerns over Twitter’s policies.