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Elmo Unbound, Miscellaneous Thoughts on Speech and Power

 Member Newsletter
November 21, 2023 12:59 p.m.
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Elon Musk is seen at the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images)

I recognize that this post is somewhat preaching to the choir. But I wanted to discuss Elon Musk’s lawsuit against Media Matters for America. If you haven’t followed this closely a brief recap: Since purchasing Twitter, Musk has been in a battle both to make the platform a free-fire zone for racists, Nazis and other violent and bad actors and keep advertisers, who don’t want to be associated with those people, on the platform. He has made the matter more coherent by, incrementally over the last year, himself becoming the most prominent of those racists and Nazis. This is not hyperbole. He now routinely promotes and explicitly agrees with the most ghastly and dangerous forms of antisemitism and racism.

The pattern is consistent and clear: 1) Musk either promotes or parrots racist or anti-semitic speech. 2) Activist groups catalogue the prevalence of such speech on the platform and in some cases records advertisements appearing immediately adjacent to those posts and speech. 3) Advertisers get upset and pull their ads. 4) Elon Musk gets upset and sues (or threatens to sue) the activist group. It has the fixed pattern and regularity of cellular respiration, only with money and bad people.

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