Late Sunday night, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced the stunning news that billionaire Elon Musk had decided not to join the company’s board of directors.
It took about a nanosecond for sheer panic to set in among the liberal elites.
They were acutely aware that the free-speech absolutist was likely setting himself up to make an even bigger move, one that might rob them of their greatest advantage: the ability to control the news Americans are allowed to hear.
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Musk has offered to acquire Twitter for $54.20 a share in cash, or more than $41 billion.
Washington Post columnist Max Boot didn’t even try to hide his consternation over this development.
He declared in a tweet that he was “frightened by the impact on society and politics” if the deal were to go through.
“For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less,” Boot said.
I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter. He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.
— Max Boot 🇺🇦 (@MaxBoot) April 14, 2022
He actually came out and said that in order for democracy to survive, we need censorship. Hmmm.
Do you hope Musk will succeed in purchasing Twitter?
Yes: 99% (92 Votes)
No: 1% (1 Votes)
Poor Max is so distraught he’s forgotten that the Big Tech censorship that has increasingly given Democrats the upper hand in American politics is not the hallmark of a free society but of an authoritarian government.
The creeping control of public debate has turned into something much more blatant and powerful over the past five years or so. The masters of the universe are no longer worried about the optics of limiting free speech; they feel entitled to be the arbiters of what information Americans can or cannot read. They know better than the rest of us rubes anyway.
But now that entitlement has been threatened in the form of a $41 billion offer from Elon Musk.
After many ridiculed and questioned Boot’s tweet, he doubled down by dedicating his Post column on Thursday to what he called his “encounter this morning with the pro-Musk/pro-Trump Twitter mob.”
“Thank you for making my point, trolls,” he wrote. “There is way too much nonsense online — too much name-calling, too much dishonesty, too many conspiracy theories. And there is a disturbing tendency for online flash mobs to create an echo chamber of crackpot opinions.”
“I just wrote in the newspaper bought by Jeff Bezos about why it’s bad for billionaires to buy platforms for speech.”
— BastiatPosterInChief 🇺🇦 (@gardenshard) April 14, 2022
Fortunately, there was one person on the left who wasn’t upset about the prospect of a Musk takeover.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, journalist Glenn Greenwald explained why “few things are more urgent than platforms devoted to free speech and discourse, rejecting messaging control.”
The primary problem is not that tech monopolies have become hives of censorship and speech controls. It’s more pernicious and aggressive. They are now key weapons in maintaining closed propaganda systems, always aligned with the US security state:https://t.co/5yMwRQ4v8B
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 14, 2022
I highly recommend reading Greenwald’s entire thread.
For those short of time, here’s the nutshell version of why it’s so essential to “restore free discourse to the internet.”
“The worst, most bloodthirsty and destructive neocons are telling you explicitly: their power to censor the internet, to exclude dissent and maintain information monopolies, is central,” he said in reference to Boot.
Greenwald wrote that “a core, central belief of Western liberals is the nobility and necessity of censorship. It is one of their most important weapons, hence the panic and hysteria.”
But, he said, “the far greater menace: it’s the key weapon of information control for real power centers. We saw that with COVID and especially now with this war.” (Emphasis added.)
“If the success of your political movement, your national ambitions, or your wars, depends upon the need to censor dissent and silence your adversaries,” Greenwald explained, “that’s a pretty strong indication that you have zero confidence in the beliefs you want to propagate, probably for good reason.”
In his SEC filing, Musk told Twitter: “As I indicated this weekend, I believe that the company should be private to go through the changes that need to be made.
“I am not playing the back-and-forth game. I have moved straight to the end. It’s a high price and your shareholders will love it.
“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”
Axios reported that Twitter confirmed it had received an “unsolicited offer” from Musk and said in a statement that its “Board of Directors will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the Company and all Twitter stockholders.”
Musk’s offer reflected an 18.2 percent premium over the stock’s closing price on Wednesday and a 38 percent premium over the closing price of shares before Musk disclosed he’d accumulated a 9.2 percent position in the company, according to Axios.
Max Boot and company soon might find themselves in the nightmarish reality of a Twitter where conservative views are no longer censored.