Twitter owner Elon Musk scrapped with independent journalist Bari Weiss after she claimed that the billionaire was potentially abusing his power on the platform.
Musk sparked outrage in the liberal media after journalists from CNN, The New York Times and other outlets were temporarily locked out of their Twitter accounts. He later claimed that journalists were “doxxing” him and his family, basically sharing what he called “assassination coordinates” and giving the real-time location of possibly the most famous person on the planet.
Musk also said that his son was followed by a “crazy stalker” who “later blocked [the] car from moving & climbed onto [the] hood.”
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Weiss dodged the doxxing allegations, instead taking aim at Twitter governing by “whims.” “The old regime at Twitter governed by its own whims and biases and it sure looks like the new regime has the same problem,” she wrote in comments pointed at Musk.
Musk surprised the media world when he tapped Weiss as one of his lead journalists in releasing the explosive “Twitter Files,” sparking criticism among reporters from The Washington Post and other outlets.
“I oppose it in both cases,” Weiss continued, referencing journalist suspensions on both new and old Twitter. “And I think those journalists who were reporting on a story of public importance should be reinstated.”
The group of journalists suspended from Twitter includes CNN correspondent Donie O’Sullivan, New York Times technology reporter Ryan Mac, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, The Intercept journalist Micah Lee, VOA correspondent Steve Herman, Mashable writer Matt Binder, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and former Vox journalist Aaron Rupar.
It was a move which drew outrage from the left on Twitter, some of whom have accused Musk of being a “hysterical tyrant.” Other users asked: “What happened to free speech?”
Musk fired back at Weiss, saying that the decision to suspend journalists was about the safety of his young son: “What should the consequence of doxxing someone’s real-time, exact location be? Assume your child is at that location, as mine was.”
He then followed up with another tweet: “Bari, this is a real question, not rhetorical. What is your opinion?” Weiss had not yet responded.
Twitter recently banned an account dedicated to tracking the location of Musk’s jet. The billionaire declared on Twitter, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” adding that any account “engaged in doxxing” will receive a seven-day suspension.
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Weiss, who scored one of the biggest tech stories this year with her release of the “Twitter Files,” further explained her criticism of the journalist suspensions in a thread. “I have never been swayed by the ‘Twitter is a private company’ argument,” she said in responding to claims that because Twitter is a private business, it isn’t subject to the same First Amendment restrictions as the government. She also openly questioned if “any unelected individual or clique should have this kind of power over the public conversation.”
Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo agreed with Weiss, arguing that “Twitter needs a clear, consistent set of rules, applied transparently and with the possibility of appeal.”
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He continued: “Most bans should be temporary and a wide discourse should be permitted. The platform is better with a broad set of opinions and open, defined standards of moderation.”
Later in the afternoon, Musk got personal: “Rather than rigorously pursuing truth, you are virtue-signaling to show that you are ‘good’ in the eyes of media elite to keep one foot in both worlds.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. This article was updated Friday afternoon with another comment from Musk.
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