Bill Maher, host of “Real Time”, offered his enthusiastic support to Tesla CEO Elon Musk when he joined Twitter.
This week, Musk stunned the world when he bought 9.2% of Twitter, Inc., making it the largest shareholder in this social media giant. Musk made headlines even more when he joined Twitter’s board, suggesting that he could influence Twitter’s policies for free speech principles.
A viewer asked Friday’s YouTube “Overtime” segment if the panel had any thoughts about Elon Musk becoming Twitters largest shareholder.
“I’m for it!” Maher exclaimed as he pounded the table.
David Leonhardt, a New York Times journalist, said that his reaction to the Elon Musk news was “Are you gonna have to continue reading Donald Trump’s tweets soon?”
Maher responded, “Which can be a difficult one.” “Because they took Trump off Twitter it did get better, but it’s… bad foe free speech. They’re going to go somewhere. Then there’s the anger and then the realization that they are going somewhere. That’s the convoy. You’re familiar with the convoys that are found in Canada and around the globe.
Nancy MacLean, a liberal author, countered Maher by arguing that Twitter’s censorship Trump was not in violation the Constitution. The First Amendment applies only to the government suppressing free expression, and not private companies.
“Twitter is now the public square in our age. Maher stated that denying someone the right to use Twitter to express their opinions is basically saying that you don’t have freedom of speech rights. “We don’t live in 1980 anymore. Social media has made this a new world. Social media is a sort of… It’s living in a space which is not exactly a publication but it’s also not a private company… That’s why it can be so difficult.”
Leonhardt argued, however, that Maher’s description of Twitter was the same as what was given to media outlets such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and The New York Times “50 Years ago”, when they dominated public speech.
Leonhardt stated that “But they didn’t air lies regarding election fraud.” “You can’t listen to Walter Cronkite say, ‘Actually Barry Goldwater won’t win the election.’ Right? This is what Donald Trump tweets!
“I get that. But Twitter also said they couldn’t. They banned you from discussing whether coronavirus was derived from a laboratory- which it may have. Even the Biden administration has admitted that,” Maher countered. We don’t know the origin of coronavirus, but it is possible that it could have come from a laboratory. There is a Wuhan lab that studies coronavirus. This is something you can’t even talk about! That’s absurd!
“I believe that’s what Elon Musk wants to fix on Twitter. Maher agreed.