Elon Musk, the outspoken entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla, recently took aim at a BBC reporter during an interview, giving a fiery critique of the media’s role in promoting free speech. In a five-minute exchange, Musk ripped apart the reporter’s attempts to question him about free speech and hate speech.
Musk started by stating that “free speech is meaningless unless you allow people you don’t like to say things you don’t like, otherwise it’s irrelevant.” He argued that at the point in which you lose free speech, it doesn’t come back.
The reporter then brought up the issue of misinformation and hate speech, prompting Musk to question who was to say that something is misinformation. He asked if it was the BBC or if it was the arbiter of that. The reporter responded by asking if he thought it was more important to prioritize freedom of speech over misinformation and hate speech.
Musk responded by asking, “who is to say that one person’s misinformation is another person’s information?” He then brought up the fact that the BBC itself had published things that were false, making the point that even if you aspire to be accurate, there are times when you will not be.
When asked about Twitter’s rise in hate speech, Musk was quick to challenge the reporter’s anecdotal evidence by asking for a specific example. When the reporter was unable to name one example, Musk accused him of not knowing what he was talking about.