Watch David Rothkopf explain why businesses should drop advertising on X over the rampant antisemitism

Rothkopf: “Do we want to support an enterprise that is actively attacking and undermining our values, our institutions, our security, and our safety?”

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Citation From the September 6, 2023, edition of MSNBC's Deadline: White House

NICOLLE WALLACE (HOST): David Rothkopf, you've written a really important piece. I would read from it, but I just want you to take us through it and make the points.

DAVID ROTHKOPF (GUEST): Well, I pick up where Jonathan's explanation, his very good explanation of the situation, leaves off. And I point out that, you know, for Elon Musk to say he's not an anti-Semite but to amplify anti-Semites, to amplify antisemitic tropes, to invite Nazis and white supremacists on to his website, is a distinction without a difference.

And now, we're well enough along into the Elon Musk enterprise that advertisers have to know that if they're sending a dollar to Twitter, to X, to support the enterprise, to support Elon Musk, what they are supporting is the kind of garbage that we saw over this weekend, that many of us have had to live through since he has taken it over.

And it's actually worse than that. And I try to go through several other examples. You know, Elon Musk says he's a champion of free speech. In Saudi Arabia recently, they've threatened -- they've actually convicted somebody and sentenced them to death for a tweet. He has not said a word, because the Saudis are his partners. He has not been helpful with our war in Ukraine and the United States continues to subsidize him.

This man has awesome power. And I think it's time that we all ask the question -- and we ask it of politicians and we ask it of big businesses -- do we want to support an enterprise that is actively attacking and undermining our values, our institutions, our security, and our safety? 

WALLACE: I agree with you, David. The threats that are amplified sit at the fulcrum of a current domestic security threat. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a threat about the causes and grievance and ideologies that are amplified in the accounts that are tracked, and that's just a fact. The content is at the center, at the nexus of a security threat for the entire country.

And I wonder, you know, it's not a technology question. They have the ability as technology platforms to get rid of content they don't want there, it's a will piece. Where do you think, David, the lack of will comes from, from Musk's part?

I mean, what we were talking about on the break is how low the bar is. Elon Musk could get rid of one Nazi and people would throw him a freaking parade. The bar is so low. It is so bad, it is so rampant. Why do you think there isn't a will to do something in this current threat environment? 

ROTHKOPF: I think you phrased the question very charitably. I don't think there's not a will not to do it, I think there's a will to do it. When he came on, he immediately started inviting these people on to the website. He immediately said he was championing free speech, but he brought on to it people who were defined by their intolerance, defined by their hatred.

And I think we need to see this for what it is. It's not a phenomenon on a social media site. In the 1930s -- and I use this as a son of a Holocaust survivor very carefully -- but in the 1930s, when the Nazis wanted to generate support for their movement, they led people into the streets. Today, the streets, the public places, are on social media. And Elon Musk is opening up the streets of Twitter, the streets of social media, to Nazi rallies, to white supremacist rallies, to attacks on Jews and Blacks and women and people who support democracy.

And that is as big a crisis as those torchlight parades in Munich were in the 1930s. And I think we've got to call it out for what it is and we've got to do what we can to stop it.