Angelo Carusone: Fox News supports Elon Musk buying Twitter because his vision for Twitter “empowers their lies and it enables their politics”

Video file

Citation From the April 29, 2022, edition of MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber

ALICIA MENENDEZ (HOST): If it is that keyhole, if it is that snapshot, then what is the impact if he does open the floodgates to misinformation and extremists? 

ANGELO CARUSONE (GUEST): I think the one thing -- you know, there's three things you can consider, right? So, one, let's say Elon Musk takes it over and this deal goes through. Putting aside all the rollbacks of policies that he could put into place, and boy is that significant, the one thing that's certain is that Twitter will not play a role that it's had been playing for the past couple years, which is that Twitter was often a vanguard in putting in place some of the protections, policies and moderation, sort of, efforts. It's not because they were a good actor, it's just that the nature of Twitter, because it's sort of smaller than the other platforms and its audience is more elite and more connected to the media, it tended to be a little bit more responsive to pressure, but that mattered. Because Twitter going first then could be used as pressure to get all of the other social media platforms to act.

So no matter what happens, even if Elon Musk does not change a single thing, and he will, the one thing we know for certain is that Twitter will no longer be a vanguard. So the capacity to respond to future threats has basically been greatly eroded. But the rollback is that Elon when he says free speech, what he really means is free for all. That's all you need to know about what Twitter will look like.

So the cesspool that sort of everyone sort of recognized that Twitter kind of can be sometimes and the reactionary aspects to it, that cesspool is going to flood over and it's not just going to now affect people that are very active on Twitter, it's actually going to have an effect on the entire information landscape. 

MENENDEZ: Angelo, you spend a lot of time watching, monitoring Fox News. What do you make of the fact you have these Fox hosts cheering Musk on? 

CARUSONE: I think that they -- they see the potential here to shape the future of, you know, to shape the future of the information landscape. One thing that Fox used to be, and it sort of no longer is anymore, is that it used to be right at the front and center. It was sort of defining -- it had -- defining the agenda. It was out first. Now it has a very important role in amplifying the agenda, but that amplification is just coming from the online echo chamber. And they do meet resistance and pushback from policies that push back against extremism and disinformation.

Ironically the far right, the thing he says -- that Elon Musk says is happening, is they're much more effective at censorship and banning books and implementing a lot of the extremist policies in real life than they have been in the last two years on these social media platforms. So they see this as the next front in the culture war and that's why they're cheering for Elon Musk. Because what they really mean is that it empowers their lies and it enables their politics.