So Congress has averted—for the moment—a government shutdown. Should we give them all lollipops? Or stickers?
I just shake my head anytime I hear Elon Musk described as a “free speech” champion. Sure. And Trump is all about “law and order.”
A lot of Americans have a completely distorted understanding of “free speech” and the First Amendment. And that of course has distorted our conversations on the subjects.
Elon is up on a high wire. He could absolutely lose Tesla. Or Twitter. Or both. Rocket Man is having some trouble at the pad as well.
So Musk is shutting down the Twitter accounts of selected journalists who rub him the wrong way? It’s childish. It’s petulant. But he has every right to do it. It’s his ballgame. And that’s part of our widespread misunderstanding of free speech. Social media are not public utilities. We don’t have a “right” to a Twitter account, any more than we have a “right” to a newspaper column, a television program or a “right” to spray graffiti on our neighbors’ garages.
I would submit that in many cases news outlets have cornered themselves and even allowed themselves to be taken “hostage” by becoming dependent on Twitter and other social media to disseminate their work. If news outlets’ distribution model includes dependence on social media platforms owned by other folks, they are constantly at the mercy of others. Journalism needs to re-think this issue. And that’s a healthy thing.
Oh…do you plan to order your Trump Pokemon Cards?