Washington Goes to War Against Twitter and Free Speech

Below is my column this week on the campaign to coerce Elon Musk to restore the censorship system at Twitter. The campaign against Twitter now involves the full allied forces of the anti-free speech movement: the government, corporations, Democratic politicians, the media, and, of course, celebrities. However, it is an alliance that has proven overwhelming in the past but this unstoppable force has met an immovable object in Musk. It is total war in the beltway but Musk has yet to fully deploy his greatest weapon: free speech.

Here is the column:

Washington this week is in full wartime footing. No, it’s not over the Russian invasion of Ukraine or North Korean missiles or even Chinese expansionism. It is about Twitter and the threat of Elon Musk to restore free speech protections to social media.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emerged as the bellicose general rallying others to the “censor or die” pressure campaign against Twitter.

The problem is that citizens are flocking to Twitter and signing up in record numbers. They want more, not less, free speech. The over two million new sign-ups per day represent a 66% increase over the same period last year, according to figures released by Musk.

A reporter this week was so alarmed that she asked the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the concern that millions are still signing up at Twitter and demanded to know who is “keeping an eye on this” for possible federal action.

Unable to convince users to embrace censorship, Clinton and others are pressuring corporations and foreign governments to deter Musk from restoring free speech. Since users are embracing the new Twitter, the campaign has focused on preventing them from signing up by removing the app from the Apple and Google stores. In the meantime, Apple is joining the boycott by withholding advertising revenue to coerce Musk to reverse his free-speech pledge.

Musk, however, is sitting on the ultimate weapon to bring this war to an end: free speech itself. However, it will require more than rhetorical recriminations like Musk asking why Apple executives “hate free speech in America?”

The fact is that these media and political figures are becoming more and more alarmed as Musk threatens to release files on the past censorship of stories like the Hunter Biden laptop.

Musk has reason to wonder why Apple CEO Tim Cook would join this anti-free speech campaign. The reason is as obvious as it is craven. These boycotts are not about corporations or shareholders. If anything, they are more likely to diminish profits. It is about the executives themselves. Many are allies of figures like Clinton. Others are yielding to these demands to avoid being attacked or tagged by the left.

Cook is betting that, while the public wants more free speech, enough will also want Apple watches. Moreover, Apple has acquired the market power of a true monopoly. It does not have a serious competitor and, as shown with such attacks on sites like Parler, it can literally strangle the life out of competing or disfavored products.

The real question is why the political, business, and media establishment is ramping up this campaign. The answer is power. With President Biden and Democratic senators supporting investigations, the message could not be clearer: proceed at your own peril. That message was brought home by Politico’s Sam Stein when he warned Musk that it is “[a]lways risky to attack members of congress. Especially risky with Dems assured of Senate power.”

For years, Democratic politicians and their allies have exercised an enormous degree of control over political discourse through allies in the media and social media.

The problem is that censorship only works if it is complete. If there are alternative sources for information, free speech is like water . . . it finds a way out. That is why Democratic members pressured cable carriers to drop Fox News, the most popular cable news network on television. (For the record, I appear as a Fox News legal analyst). Having an echo chamber on every other news channel means little if alternative views or stories are just a click away.

The same is true for print media. With the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and a few other newspapers, the effort to kill stories like the Hunter Biden laptop could not be completely successful. The truth found a way out and now the same outlets that peddled the false “Russian disinformation” claim are admitting that the laptop is authentic.

The threat is an even greater on social media, the area of greatest success for those seeking to control political discourse. If Musk carries through on his pledge, the public will have a free speech alternative and they are already speaking loudly by signing up with the company in record numbers. Despite a creepy Facebook advertising campaign to convince the public to embrace censorship, it has not worked.

The public is not buying. They are buying Free Twitter.

So, the only way to regain control is to prevent people from getting the app or threaten to force Twitter into insolvency. The problem is Musk, an eccentric billionaire who is not easy to intimidate.

Musk now stands against a massive alliance of governments, corporations, celebrities, and politicians. He has only the public and free speech on his side.

He needs to use both.

Musk cannot remain on defense and just take political and economic hits. The campaign is growing because the risk is growing for these various interests.

The way to end this is simple: release everything related to the company’s massive censorship operation. This is an effort to force Musk not only to resume censorship but to protect the censors. So, open the files. Allow the public to see not just communications on censorship (including subjects beyond Hunter Biden) but how Twitter may have used verification, throttling, algorithms, or other methods to control speech. The company does not have to release codes or potentially damaging information to reveal the back channel communications, deliberations, and targeting choices.

By embracing total transparency, Musk can force Apple and other companies to face the ugly realities of censorship. The anti-free speech alliance has declared total war on Twitter. It is time for Twitter to get into this fight and realize that free speech is not just its guiding principle but its greatest weapon.

When Musk threatened to restore free speech protections, Hillary Clinton and others went public to “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

So be it.

The Musk purchase has forced people to pick sides in this fight for free speech. However, Musk can leave the dogs at home and just unleash the truth.

183 thoughts on “Washington Goes to War Against Twitter and Free Speech”

    1. An app… apt symbolic capture of original sin. Environmental and labor arbitrage are Green and socially forward, respectively.

    2. Anonymous, very funny but sadly true. Nederland said the same thing Cook said when they supplied the iron ore to Nazi Germany to make the steel that built its war machine. They were just doing business with a nation according to its existing law.

  1. The campaign against Twitter now involves the full allied forces of the anti-free speech movement: the government, corporations, Democratic politicians, the media, and, of course, celebrities. aka the Monster

    This is really a non-story. We have all read the book, seen the movies, and know how it ends. All Musk (Perseus) has to do is show the head of Hillary Medusa, and the monster becomes petrified. No offense to winged human females with venomous snakes as hair.

    😜

  2. The left has become incontinent because the true depth of their depravity is becoming public.
    Leftism is always more sinister than appears on the surface and there’s no hiding, for once.

  3. Musk missed the bulls eye a bit.

    He doesn’t need to build a phone. He needs to start a new app store.

    But as I type that, I realize the power is in the operating system. Either Ios, or android.
    A crazy high percentage of communication is concentrated to only TWO entities. This is really getting into FCC regulatory area. Without the approval of two entities, you do not have the power to communicate.

    1. LOL!! In order to have an App Store Elon would have to negotiate with phone companies to be allowed to download apps on THEIR operating systems. So yeah that is the problem and Elon is not going to spend massive amounts of money to create an entirely new operating system just so people can download twitter.

      1. Besides, Musk is getting the people he wants anyway, restoring far-right accounts, and taking out left-wing or anti-fascists. So much for “Free Speech”

              1. Unfortunately, Svelaz you are unable to tell us what a fascist is or what a socialist is. You also don’t know their origins or their similarities. Nonsense is what you repeat.

            1. Anti-fa ARE the fascists. You don’t need to read a book to understand what is right in front of you. Democrats using government and woke corporate power to censor, retaliate, seize or freeze IS fascism in action. They ARE the authoritarian fascists.

              1. ANTIFA is an acronym for Anti-fascist. They can’t be fascists if they are anti-fascists. You just want to call them fascists despite not fully understanding what it really means. Just like it was with the “Marxist” or “socialist” labels being bandied about without a care of what they really meant. That is just being intellectually lazy.

                1. They call themselves “anti” fa yet their tactics and actions ARE fascistic. That’s the point. They can say “Oh look they call themselves “anti” fascists so they must be the good guys fighting against fascists.” Their very name says they are ANTI fascism, huh, gee wiz, so that means they must be the good guys. Wrong.
                  It’s laughable to watch anti-fa in action and call them the fighters AGAINST fascism as they are BEING fascists. It’s plainly absurd, like everything the left does.

                  1. “They call themselves “anti” fa yet their tactics and actions ARE fascistic.”

                    No, their tactics are anti-fascist. They are always there when fascists like the proud boys or oath keepers show up. Their often confused with anarchists.

                2. “https://pacificlegal.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2022-11-16-diemert-v-city-of-seattle-complaint.pdf”

                  Are you that stupid that you don’t know a name doesn’t necessarily represent the group. Antifa is fascist and so are you. You don’t know it because you are ignorant and do not know what the words fascist and socialist mean.

                  You are being asked again to define your terms, but you can’t.

                3. Antifa “can’t be fascists if they are anti-fascists.”

                  Communists are also anti-fascists. And for the same reason: Looters and power lusters hate competition. All criminal gangs do.

          1. Over time, words change meaning.
            “Gay old time!” meant a happy time.
            A “faggot” at one time meant a bundle.
            in the UK, a “fag” is slang for a cigarette.
            Now, a fascists is not a right wing ideology but a far left wing one.
            See antifa, leftists, the Democrat party.
            They are all fascists.
            Looking back on history, they all embrace fascists ideology. Their demand for censorship. Their collusion of Big Tech with government agenda.

        1. “… and taking out left-wing or anti-fascists.” ~ fishwings

          I had read that many right wing accounts were being restored, but I haven’t heard of left wing accounts being removed. Seems that would be a big story.

          1. All there is are leftist “threats” to leave. Curiously they post that they’re leaving but don’t. Just leave….

      2. Svelaz, tries to tell us what the richest man in the world can or can not do. Svelaz, what part of richest man in world do you not understand. We have here the very important subject of free speech and the best that Svelaz can do on the subject is to tell us what Elon can or can not do. The all knowing Svelaz posts again. He’s not a serious person.

        1. TiT, just because he is the richest man in the world doesn’t mean he is always right or knows what he’s doing. Elon is limited by what the law allows him to do. Twitter currently has a few legal obligations that even Elon must adhere to. Europe has it’s rules and the consent decree that twitter was obligated to follow are a few examples.

          Elon can still do a lot on his own. But he also has to deal with the consequences such as fleeing advertisers and a very real threat from apple which they have every right to follow thru if they want to. Because nobody tells them what to do, right?

      3. He does not have to create an entirely new OS.
        There are already alternative OS to Android, which is nothing more than Google version of Linux. There are even versions of Android without the Google “features.”
        He could easily, and cheaply, download a version of Linux. Mod it to work on a given hardware and presto! The Musk phone is born.
        What do you think the handset makers do who run the Android OS? The OS is already out there. They just have to tweek it to run on their hardware.
        I have a 7 year old HP box sitting next to me that came loaded with Windows. First thing I do is blow away the Window OS and install a *nix OS. You really thing HP is going to prevent me from doing that?

        1. Just did a quick search, his Tesla vehicles are running on a Ubuntu Linux load.
          So, he is fully aware of how to make a Linux load to run on a given hardware. So does his programmers, engineers, tech staff.
          The OS part would be easy.
          It would be spinning up the factory, production line, sourcing the materials to make his own phone that would be the bigger lift.
          But being the richest man in the world, if the man really wanted to . . .

        2. @Upstate Farmer

          Exactly. The vast majority of hardware runs a version of Linux or Unix. As you correctly pointed out, Android is a mod, iOS is a form of unix as is Mac OS. Creating the OS for a new phone would be trivial, relatively speaking. I would be very interested n a non-Google, non-Apple, non-Microsoft phone. I also remove Windows from machines, though I do run a virtualized version of it for certain things. I like Windows being relegated to a container that can simply be put away.

          1. James, help me out. I was under the impression that apps could be placed on the iPhone through its app store. I’m not sure if an app can be added outside the app store. At one time, I thought it could. However, to get to sites with apps, I can use Safari. I can get into Twitter on my iPhone and computer. Does the app provide something I don’t know I am missing?

            Assuming I have useful access to Twitter without an app, then how is Apple a threat?

            My assumption is one wants the app available on Apple’s app store for marketing reasons. If they deny Twitter such access, who is hurt more, Twitter or Apple? Twitter has the market.

            If Apple gives Musk trouble on the iPhone, I think he will build his brand instead of partnering, which he is likely doing as we speak. I sense Musk purchased Twitter for more reasons than many on the blog assume. It was a logical purchase based on his business and worth the risk.

          2. James,
            Check out Ubuntu Touch.
            They make handsets (smartphones) that come with a touch screen version of Ubuntu.
            From what I saw on a Tesla I recently rode in, Musk is 80% there.

  4. It becomes ever more evident for all those who are silent on matters that would abridge their freedom of speech – or for that matter all others as well – to stake their positions and shout them out for all to hear. Not until we know the numbers will we know whether or not we are to become governed by arbitrary decrees of men or yet remain a nation governed by the rule of law publicly promulgated and equally enforced.
    https://youtu.be/b7idlTlmyfw

  5. I’m sorry, but I’m confused by all of this…

    We have this thing called the first amendment.
    Something that is taught to all US Citizens in HS or their Citizenship class work.

    Yet we have major corporate leaders along w politicians who are fighting the 1st A in favor of censorship?

    So right now they have the power and want to censor you.
    Yet when they are out of power and you apply their rules to them… they demand 1st A and want to fight censorship?

    -G

  6. Somehow, those in favor of censorship inevitably fail to ask, “Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes? Even worse, they make two absurd assumptions that give new meaning to the term arrogance: first, that the masses are incapable of discovering the truth; and second, that the censors are veracity’s sole entitled custodians.

  7. “The real question is why the political, business, and media establishment is ramping up this campaign. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫. With President Biden and Democratic senators supporting investigations, the message could not be clearer: proceed at your own peril. That message was brought home by Politico’s Sam Stein when he warned Musk that it is “[a]lways risky to attack members of congress. Especially risky with Dems assured of Senate power.”
    ************************************
    Paul on the Road to Damascus moment and welcome to the white hat side, JT. Reactivating my Twitter account in 3… 2… 1 … !

  8. “However, it is an alliance that has proven overwhelming in the past but this unstoppable force has met an immovable object in Musk.” (JT)

    “I am sorry, gentlemen, said Rearden, that I will be obliged to save your goddamn necks along with mine.” (Hank Rearden in_Atlas Shrugged_)

  9. Turley sure loves to feed the rage despite his criticism of others doing the same.

    Elon complains that apple didn’t give him a reason why they are pulling their advertising on twitter. Apple doesn’t have to tell him anything. Turley has made it quite clear that nobody is obligated to associate themselves or a company if they don’t agree with the direction those they associated with.

    Apple CAN stop allowing twitter to be downloaded from the Apple store. It’s their prerogative and there really is nothing Elon can do about it. He can push his “tesla phone” but that requires massive spending and will have to compete not just with apple, but also all other smart phone manufacturers out there. Good luck with that.

    This is not about apple being against free speech. Elon us just upset that apple doesn’t have to give him an explanation why they chose to suspend their advertising or why they considered pulling twitter out of the apple store. If apple does that it will be very damaging to twitter. Elon has a few options. Keep doing what he’s doing. Butt heads with apple and lose. OR. Just follow the rules that everyone on the apple store is required to follow.

    1. Elon complains that apple didn’t give him a reason why they are pulling their advertising on twitter
      Get your fact right. That is NOT what Elon said

      1. Iowan2,

        “ Elon Musk asks Tim Cook ‘What’s going on here?’ after Apple pulls its Twitter ads—setting up a clash of tech titans”

        “ On Monday, Musk said that Apple has “mostly stopped” advertising on Twitter. He asked: “Do they hate free speech in America?” He then added, “What’s going on here @tim_cook?”

        https://fortune.com/2022/11/28/elon-musk-asks-apple-ceo-tim-cook-pulls-twitter-ads/amp/

        Of Elon doesn’t know why apple stopped advertising it means they didn’t given him a reason. He accused apple of not telling him why they stopped and why they are threatening to pull twitter our of their apple store.

  10. “The over two million new sign-ups per day represent a 66% increase over the same period last year, according to figures released by Musk.”

    Why would you believe figures released by Musk? He turned twitter into a private company answerable to no board or auditors, and he has fired the people at twitter who might contradict him. He could literally say anything and no one would be able to check. He has said a lot of things that have turned out to be untrue, such as he was empaneling a group constituting diverse views before deciding whether to reinstate anyone who had been banned by twitter.

    1. “Why would you believe figures released by Musk?”

      Why should people swallow yet another one of your smear campaigns?

      1. Why would Elon’s claims bear any credibility if they cannot be verified? You would ask the same if it was Biden who made the claim.

        1. “Why would Elon’s claims . . . Biden who made the claim.”

          The first day of an ethics course, the instructor asserted that there is no moral distinction between Pasteur and Hitler. I dropped the course that day. You, apparently, lapped up his message.

  11. Not sure what Hillary Clinton has to do with this, other than you have been obsessed with her for years. She is a twitter user, but not an advertiser, and has no particular political power at this point.

    She is a long retired politician not planning to run for office again.

    1. Throwing around the names of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton is done strategically, according to Rick Miller, who wrote “Everything Trump Touches Dies”, because it’s a sure-fire way to stir up the deplorables. They have been programmed to HATE successful, smart woman. Wilson was a Republican strategist, and said that every Republcian campaign that could, came up with a way to throw in an unflattering photo of Nancy or Hillary and some theme that a vote for their opponent was really a vote of confidence for Nancy and/or Hillary. It’s amusing, really, once you understand how they operate.

    2. Turley throws out the name Hillary, just to keep the outrage going for the right. Turley learned from Trump, always know your marks.

        1. Hillary would have never stood in front of the world and said she believes Putin over US intelligence agencies.

  12. Apple hates the people, hates their customers. Apple stands WITH CCP and against the people of China. Apple is disabling their apps, to quell the demonstration…at the request of the CCP. But Apple NEEDS the CCP to build their phones, so Apple is under control of the totalitarian communist CCP.
    I carry an I pad, but it belongs to my employer. I quite like the machine. but I’m not switching my personal stuff to apple. Near as I can tell. Its an Apple Camera, with a phone, and computer side loaded

  13. The Orwellian purveyors of lies at the Washington Post tried to argue yesterday the Musk poses a threat to free speech and democracy. One cannot express in civilized language how demented and quite frankly evil are the minds of the modern progressive. Think about how Bloomberg recently apologized for Boris Johnson’s description of China as a “coercive autocracy”. Maybe if he were alive 90 years ago Bloomberg would have been fine doing business with Nazi Germany while his relatives were working in those productive and efficient chemical factories! What an immoral monster he is. And there are many others running this country just like him.

  14. It’s symbolic in a way that it’s going to take a native South African to restore American true values to America. —-

  15. DgSnowden,
    I think the professor is like Bill Maher, and Elon Musk: Traditional Democrats.
    Where the Left has taken the party is not the party they joined or voted for long ago.

    “Let’s get this straight,” Maher said. “It’s not me who’s changed, it is the left. Who is now made up of a small contingent who’ve gone mental and a large contingent to refuse to call them out for it. But I will. That’s why I’m a hero at FOX these days. Which shows just how much liberals have had their head up their ass because if they really thought about it they would have made me a hero on their media. But that can’t happen in this ridiculous new era of mind-numbing partisanship where if I keep it real about the nonsense in the Democratic party it makes me an instant hero to Republicans.”

    “People sometimes say to me, ‘You didn’t used to make fun of the left as much.’ Yeah, because they didn’t give me so much to work with,” Maher said. “The oath of office I took was to comedy. And if you do goofy shit, wherever you are on the spectrum, I’m going to make fun of you because that is where the gold is. And the fact that they is laughing at it should tell you something: it rings true.”

    “When people read that San Francisco has basically legalized shoplifting, they think that Democrats have gone nuts,” he said. “They think, ‘You know, that Ted Cruz guy seems like a real stiff, but at least he believes in the concept of shopping with money.’

    “It’s not my fault that the party of FDR and JFK is turning into the party of LOL and WTF,” Maher added.

    “Democrats have become a parody of themselves,” the HBO host said. “Just making rules to make rules because it makes you feel like you’re a better person. Making sure that everything bad never happens again, which you can never fully do, it just makes everybody else’s life a drag.”

    “Democrats no longer possess the common sense that not every problem in the world can be fixed with a regulation,” he said. But don’t tell that to the advocacy groups that want every future car in America to only start when the driver blows into a breathalyzer. Oh great, my other car is a Karen.”

    “Racism is bad. How about a car that won’t start unless you play a message about tolerance by George Takei?” Maher quipped.

    1. Thanks UpstateFarmer.

      While I’ve never figured Prof Turley for secret MAGA hatter, I’m afraid his defense of the Trump monkey Apostle (impeachment #1) has blinded far too many traditional blue check coastal elites who are willing to sacrifice virgins, overlook any malefaction and cut down any law, to get after the Devil.

      Mahar has his work cut out for him.

  16. OT: Mostly for Svelaz. Others are able to see a bit past their noses and are more careful not to make themselves sound like morons.

    Seattle Public Schools is deploying 31 “racial equity teams” who practice “critical race theory” in K-12 schools, including elementary schools.

    Make sure to look at the tweets above and below.

    https://twitter.com/realchrisrufo/status/1462855709960245249?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1462855709960245249%7Ctwgr%5Ebc38752fba4f48aa9be5821a66f2c5ffd8f248c6%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fjustthenews.com%2Fgovernment%2Fcourts-law%2Fdegrading-and-racist-white-social-worker-sues-seattle-crt-based-harassment

    1. Christopher Rufo? He’s got the credibility of a gnat. He’s well known for twisting facts into the narrative he wants to portray. As usual only the most gullible idiots buy what he says without ever really researching the issue. In fact he counts on it.

      He posted a memo from 2016-17 school year and left out the entirety of memo.

      1. As usual, Svelaz attacks the individual while proffering no facts of his/her/she/he/zim/zem/their/they own.

        1. Well, the individual is the one who posted a snapshot of a memo without giving full context on what it was all about AND it was from 2016-17 school year. That is not proof that they were teaching it back then. The memos he posts are for adults and it’s not a curriculum for students. The only one that mentions studies for high school students is for an AP course. An advanced course for students who WANT to study it as part of their AP curriculum. It’s VOLUNTARY. Duh.

          1. “That is not proof that they were teaching it back then.”

            What an idiot. I wonder why they are discussing CRT? What goes in one ear is out the other without any contact with the brain. I previously posted the syllabus for certain schools and other information. I guess your IQ isn’t enough to build from one comment to the next or one tweet to the next.

      2. “Christopher Rufo? He’s got the credibility of a gnat. He’s well known for twisting facts into the narrative he wants to portray. “

        Once again you can’t tell us examples that impugn Rufo’s credibility. He is known for providing the actual data that you don’t bother to read. When it is posted, you will say you never saw it and if it is posted again, you will deny its existence again. We have seen that with you repeatedly.

        You did the same to John Solomon who also posts the data.

        Anyone or anything that doesn’t agree with what you make up, according to you is a liar, but we all know it is you who has the problem.

          1. The only one with such severe shortcomings is you. You deny everything and everyone that doesn’t agree with you. Do you have valid facts? No.

      1. This guy’s allegations seem to be largely based on hearsay. His case and he filing sound more like he is a male Karen. Or whatever the name of that character in the “Office” is. He’s one of THOSE guys. Every office has one.

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