CNN Terrified of Free Speech on Twitter: Would You Go to Elon’s Dirty Party?

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With Elon Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter finalized on Monday, CNN Newsroom was left shaken by the idea that free speech would be allowed on the platform that they’ve used to gaslight the public and boost their egos. This fear ranged from concerns about former President Trump’s return to analogies suggesting Twitter would become a debauched and dirty party that will chase away users.

“This means that the world’s richest man is going to effectively control one of the most influential platforms in the internet,” CNN reporter Matt Egan fretted near the top of the segment.

After co-host Victor Blackwell read a statement from Musk about how “[f]ree speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy,” chief media reporter Brian Stelter noted Musk was “approaching this in the same way he approaches Tesla and SpaceX. He’s on a mission. He wants to save the digital planet and in his mind, Twitter is critical to that.”

“Except we’re all more affected by this than we are SpaceX and Tesla,” co-host Alisyn Camerota screeched. “This affects all of us in terms of misinformation. How will this change our lives? And when he says open it up to free speech, does that allow more misinformation on the platform?”

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Stelter said we’ll need to wait and see “exactly what rules he decides to follow and not follow” because “local and state and federal laws all around the world that apply to these platforms. He’s going to have to follow at least some of those rules I would expect.”

It was Blackwell who broached the subject of Trump being allowed back on the site. Stelter seemed to defend allowing Trump back because Musk had the “right spirit” of allowing evening his critics to stay on Twitter in the name of free speech.

This triggered a bit of a contentious back and forth between Stelter and Camerota, who vehemently didn’t want Trump back on Twitter (click “expand”):

STELTER: Whether it’s actually a positive for him to be back on Twitter, completely different question.

CAMEROTA: Why? Why wouldn’t it just be a positive? He would —

STELTER: To have him back in the news cycle around the world?

CAMEROTA: For him to be – No. Meaning for him – Why wouldn’t it be positive for him to be back, to have a huge megaphone, to maybe run for president with his huge megaphone, this would be a plus for Donald Trump.

Stelter wasn’t buying the idea that Trump being allowed back would be a political boon for him because it would remind voters how terrible he was. He then went on a brief and bizarre rant comparing allowing free speech on Twitter to Musk throwing a wild and out of control party:

So, who knows? I think that’s an example of a broader question for Twitter, which is if you – If you get invited to something where there are now rules, where there is total freedom for everybody, do you actually want to go to that party or are you going to decide to stay home?

And that’s a question for Twitter users. Some might love the idea there’s going to be absolutely no moderation and no rules at all. Others might not want to be anywhere near that.

This is a similar sentiment he shared on his now-dead CNN+ show where he compared free speech on Twitter to people sending their kids to “play in the gutter.”

CNN’s aversion to free speech was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Cadillac and Dell. Their contact information is linked.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CNN Newsroom
April 25, 2022
3:08:45 p.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Let’s start with you, Matt. This wasn’t – it was on, it was off. It was off, now what.

MATT EGAN: It’s on. It’s on. This means that the world’s richest man is going to effectively control one of the most influential platforms in the internet.

(…)

3:10:02 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: He does say in a statement here, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” So, in his mind, this is very serious and has been all along.

He says he wants to make Twitter better than ever by, quote, “enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open, open sourced to increase trust, defeating the spam bots,” he says, “and authenticating all humans.”

So, he is approaching this in the same way he approaches Tesla and SpaceX. He’s on a mission. He wants to save the digital planet and in his mind, Twitter is critical to that.

CAMEROTA: Except we’re all more affected by this than we are SpaceX and Tesla. This affects all of us in terms of misinformation. How will this change our lives? And when he says open it up to free speech, does that allow more misinformation on the platform?

STELTER: I think we’re going to have to see what he does, and exactly what rules he decides to follow and not follow. They’re obviously local and state and federal laws all around the world that apply to these platforms. He’s going to have to follow at least some of those rules I would expect. So I think it remains to be seen.

EGAN: It does, and he hasn’t really released any details, any specifics yet, and he hasn’t had to about what this vision of making Twitter, you know, more about free speech. How is he going to pull that off? We don’t know.

BLACKWELL:  He said in his offer letter that Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. There are a lot of people on the right, Brian, that believe as he talks about free speech, and he says he “hopes even his worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” what does this mean for the former president who’s been kicked off of the platform?

STELTER: And that spirit, which is on screen right now, that is actually – that’s the right spirit. Right? He wants even his fiercest critics to be in the debate and to be on Twitter and to be heard.

What that means for Donald Trump, and for other politicians who get booted off this platform, that’s going to be a big question on day one, whenever he walks into the office and takes control of this platform. He can in theory rewrite all of those rules.

You know, when I refer to laws about hate speech and about pornography on platforms, you know, there’s not a law that forbids Twitter from having Donald Trump on. That was a company choice, a company policy chance. I suspect those policies are going to change.

When reading through the lines of this press release, the board decided it had to take this offer. The board did not want to take this offer necessarily. They looked for other buyers by every indication. But they now have to hand over the keys to Elon Musk. And unless there’s a snag, I do suspect we’re going to see politicians who were booted off get back on.

Whether that’s actually a good thing for Donald Trump, completely different question. Whether it’s actually a positive for him to be back on Twitter, completely different question.

CAMEROTA: Why? Why wouldn’t it just be a positive? He would —

STELTER: To have him back in the news cycle around the world?

CAMEROTA: For him to be – No. Meaning for him – Why wouldn’t it be positive for him to be back, to have a huge megaphone, to maybe run for president with his huge megaphone, this would be a plus for Donald Trump.

STELTER: You could also make the case that Donald Trump suddenly being back in the news, very visible in a way that he hasn’t been would remind people of exactly why he was – why he lost his election. And why he was booted from office.

So, who knows? I think that’s an example of a broader question for Twitter, which is if you – If you get invited to something where there are now rules, where there is total freedom for everybody, do you actually want to go to that party or are you going to decide to stay home?

And that’s a question for Twitter users. Some might love the idea there’s going to be absolutely no moderation and no rules at all. Others might not want to be anywhere near that. Am I crazy Matt?

EGAN: No, no you’re right. And what happens to the advertising, I mean, if there’s no moderation or little moderation, do the advertisers stay away? What does that do to the business prospects for Twitter itself?

STELTER: I think that’s very much an open debate. We don’t know the answer yet and we’re going to find out from Elon Musk.

BLACKWELL: We’ll see where it goes, Brian, Matt, thank you.

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