October 11, 2023

Musk’s X Is Under Fire

The legacy media simply can’t tolerate the free speech that Elon Musk’s X platform has enabled.

One of the challenges of a free society is that free speech is free even for those who would abuse it.

This is especially true in our modern world, where technology allows instant and unchecked dissemination of news and information to the masses, and where censorship has been taken up by the Left and by the state as a means of fighting back against this fundamental freedom. The freedom to speak our minds is, after all, the strongest and scariest threat to would-be tyrants.

As the late author, First Amendment thinker, and classically liberal New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis wrote in Freedom for the Thought that We Hate:

Ours is the most outspoken society on earth. Americans are freer to think what we will and say what we think than any other people, and freer today than in the past. We can bare the secrets of government and the secrets of the bedroom. We can denounce our rulers, and each other, with little chance that a court will stop us from publishing what we wish — in print, on the air, or on the Web.

Lewis wrote that 16 years ago, though, and he couldn’t have imagined that his side, the Left, would have gone from launching the Free Speech Movement at Cal-Berkeley in 1964 to launching the Censored Speech Movement all across social media in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. It’s bizarre, but it’s undeniable: The Left has undergone a transformation from defenders of speech to suppressors of it.

It was against this backdrop, then, that the world’s richest man and its most successful entrepreneur, Elon Musk, decided that free speech was worth saving. He thus bought, for a mind-boggling $44 billion, one of the primary instruments of the Left’s war on speech: Twitter. And he set it free, airing its dirty laundry, unveiling its collusion with the FBI to help rig the 2020 election, and exposing its unconstitutional efforts to partner with the federal government to censor the speech it deemed inconvenient.

Of course, the government won’t admit to its censorship; instead, it trots out euphemisms such as “fact-checking” and “combatting misinformation” as cover. (Here we might share an observation from our Nate Jackson, who noted that Satan himself, in Genesis 3:1, was the world’s first fact-checker.)

All this reform from Musk hasn’t come without a price. In just a single day, one of the bitter graybeards of old media, NBC News, published three separate articles attacking the trustworthiness of Musk’s X platform, formerly Twitter, as a purveyor of news and information.

First came a report that researchers “have uncovered a propaganda network of 67 accounts on the X social platform that are coordinating a campaign of posting false, inflammatory content related to the Israel-Hamas war.”

Second came a report that Community Notes, Musk’s much-ballyhooed fact-checking feature for fighting false and misleading information on X, “is struggling to keep up with a flood of content related to the Israel-Hamas war.”

And last came news of a warning from the European Union, which “told Elon Musk on Tuesday that he had 24 hours to explain plans to better counter Hamas videos on X.”

Clearly, Old Media isn’t going down without a fight. But neither is Musk. As to NBC’s aforementioned effort to impugn the reliability of Community Notes, the network just now got hit with its own community note for spreading misinformation about Community Notes. So there.

Social media is the most powerful platform yet devised for sharing information, but it doesn’t have a mechanism for effectively separating the good from the rotten. Big Tech is the enemy of Liberty-loving conservatives, libertarians, Republicans, and classical liberals everywhere, which means the rot often rises. And we have free-speech champion Elon Musk to thank for exposing this rotten empire.

Musk isn’t perfect, not by any stretch. Due to Tesla, the electric vehicle enterprise that made him his fortune, he’s far too cozy with the corrupting influence of crony capitalism, and he’s far too deferential to the lying, thieving, genocidal Communist Chinese.

Still, his support of free speech has come at great cost to him, and for that alone he deserves our undying gratitude.

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