Angelo Carusone explains why Tucker Carlson's power “will be greatly diminished” if he takes his show to Twitter

Carusone detailed that on Twitter Carlson will lose his former network's ability “to operationalize the lies and extremism”

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Citation From the May 14, 2023, edition of MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian Reports

LINDSEY REISER (HOST): It is official, everybody. Tucker Carlson taking his show to Twitter. The former Fox News host making the announcement in a video post on the site last week. And while details about the show remain unclear, Carlson said the main theme will center on free speech. Which echoes comments made by Twitter owner Elon Musk about what he plans for the future of the site. So joining us now to talk is Angelo Carusone, president and CEO of Media Matters for America. Thank you for your time. And I just first want to get your reaction here to this news and what it means in general for the show, for Twitter, given that really obviously interactive nature of the site where people in real-time can say what they really think?

ANGELO CARUSONE: Yeah I mean a couple things. One, I look at it from a few angles. The two ways to look at it is, what's it going to do for his audience? And the second is what is it going to do for his power and influence? For his audience, he may reach more people. That is the truth. And that is not the end of the world. That is fine, to be honest, I mean it's not ideal. But I mean Sean Hannity's talk radio show is five times as large as his TV show. Right. I mean there are lots of Fox figures and former Fox figures that have way bigger reach. The real question is, what does this do for his power? And that will be greatly diminished, doesn't matter how many people watch him or see him on Twitter. For two reasons, one, it will only be on Twitter. It's an exclusive arrangement. He's agreed not to put the programming anywhere else, so that's going to make it harder for him to reach different audiences. A large part of his audience is really far removed from Twitter and will never join it. And the other is that you need sort of the Fox News wraparound to operationalize the lies and extremism that he was putting on his Fox News program nightly. You're not going to get the next day of news coverage where other hosts are taking your segments and bringing on other guests and bringing on political figures, to not just amplify the misinformation and the ideas, but actually start to put them into practice by having more and more people talk about it and turn it into a thing.

REISER: He says this is about free speech. There are a couple ways we can go with this conversation here. First of all, in Turkey, we are seeing some posts, unclear which posts and exactly why. But some posts it looks like are being restricted during their election. We've also seen a new study showing both the daily use and overall volume of hate speech has doubled on Twitter since Musk's takeover. So are there concerns that this free speech is really just a dog whistle for hate speech?

CARUSONE: Yeah. When they say free speech -- Tucker Carlson, Elon Musk -- they don't mean free speech. They don't mean a robust place where a whole bunch of ideas get to sort of percolate and combat. What they really mean is that they feel like they are disadvantaged because some of their ideas get criticism. And they actually don't like the criticism at all. Or the consequences, sometimes there are, and as a result of that they think free speech is under attack. So what they really mean is free for all. That's what they mean. They mean free for all. And as you know, a lot of that oftentimes includes hate, so that's bigotry. You know Tucker Carlson was an evangelizer of white supremacy. Probably the single biggest advocate. And that is not just my assessment, that is literally what organizers, the leader of the Daily Stormer and other white nationalist publications used to celebrate Tucker Carlson as their chief champion of that ideology. So that's what they mean by free speech. So I actually think Twitter is going to become a much meaner, nastier, racist place because, for sure, as we've already seen the way the algorithm is playing out, it's not like you know Elon Musk is going to be a passive participant here. He's going to have his thumb on the scale as well to make sure that Tucker's reach is getting prioritized and amplified, probably to the same degree that his own does.