Is Elon Musk polishing an apple on the subject of Internet censorship? That’s hard to say. But sincere or not, he is calling attention to censorship, not only on social media but on the part of official government organs. And these aren’t the government organs one normally imagines – like the old Soviet Wire Service, or TASS. These are organs of so-called “liberal democracies,” specifically National Public Radio (NPR) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC, or Beeb). And by calling them out, Elon Musk has brought the explicit advocates of censorship out of hiding.
Elon Musk labels NPR
First, ElonMusk took on NPR, by labeling them “State affiliated media.” NPR protested,
and several leftist Twitter users defended the organ and demanded that Musk take down the label.
Not only did he refuse, but he substituted an even more deprecatory label: “Government funded media.” Yesterday Musk pointed out that NPR themselves said that “federal funding is essential to public ratio” ten years ago.
We now learn that NPR’s correspondents are quitting Twitter in yet another protest.
In reply, Musk called for the de-funding of NPR.
This caused some interesting back-and-forth.
The Beeb has a more strident defender
Early yesterday, Elon Musk took on another target: the Beeb. Or rather, the Beeb took him on – and lost.
That reporter was James Clayton, technology reporter for BBC North America. In this interview,
Clayton charged that Twitter, since Musk took over, now had more “hate speech” and anti-Semitic remarks than before. Clayton cited the Institute for Strategic Dialogue – more on them below. But when Elon Musk challenge Clayton to cite a single example of hate speech on Twitter, Clayton could not. Whereupon Musk said,
So you just lied.
Several YouTube influencers caught that moment. Herewith a sample:
Michael Shellenberger dropped this thread summarizing the interview:
The ISD reacted in anger. Herewith their thread:
The last tweet embeds the anchor tweet of their earlier thread in which they accused Elon Musk of “whitewashing” hate speech.
After that, Mr. Shellenberger rounded on them in this thread:
In reaction, one user pointed out that the ISD has State Department funding.
Another accused them of lying about protests against COVID lockdowns, like the Ottawa Freedom Convoy:
An apple polisher is, classically, a pupil who curries favor with his teacher with showy, manipulative displays of loyalty. More broadly it is one who curries favor with any others through such displays, which typically are insincere.
Is Elon Musk polishing an apple? CNAV still notices that he has troublemakers among the moderators. Nor has he decided to settle Laura Loomer’s RICO lawsuit against Twitter.
Nevertheless, he has called attention to the censorship at, and the liberal bent of, two government funded organs. Again, these are organs of so-called liberal democratic governments. Yet they definitely behave like the old Telegrafnoye Agyenstvo Sovyetskiy Soyuz – TASS – literally, the Soviet Wire Service. (The only reason the Russian Federation Wire Service still calls itself TASS is historic.) And, like bullies, they don’t like to see someone call them out.
Will the Beeb quit Twitter, as NPR has threatened to do? Stay tuned. Whatever their decision, Elon Musk has done the world a service this week.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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