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Czerniawski: Carlson on Twitter, a Bold Statement on Free Speech

Carlson’s Twitter Move a Bold Statement on Free Speech

Tucker Carlson discussed "Populism and the Right" during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel - March 29, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 May 2023 04:40 PM EDT

In much anticipated news about his next move since leaving Fox News, television host Tucker Carlson announced this week that he will continue his show and publish it exclusively on Twitter.

Carlson taking his show to the popular social media app represents an evolving reality.

Traditional media no longer represents the final word on people’s ability to reach large audiences. New media like Twitter provides an opportunity for Carlson to continue his story in a way not previously possible.

His move signals that we may be on the precipice of another great free speech revolution

In his announcement video, Carlson correctly notes that free speech has always had its gatekeepers — individuals who seek to control public debate, including book publishers, newspaper editors, and TV show producers.

This leads to disruptors emerging to create channels for new voices to bypass old gatekeepers. Fox News and conservative media grew out of that kind of innovation in 1990.

Their pioneers weren’t satisfied letting someone else hold the keys to the conversation.

That is the beauty of the system.

Each entity has the right to make their respective choices. The government shouldn’t force a private media or technology company to host a view it finds objectionable.

Newsmax doesn’t have to run my commentary (but thanks!) just as social media platforms can accept or reject content based on their own standards. Such policies and expectations make shows ranging from Joe Rogan to The Young Turks possible.

As First Amendment attorney and my colleague Casey Mattox points out, this is why a culture of free speech is critical and necessary.

It fosters an environment that encourages, thus allowing people, especially ones we disagree with, to be heard.

It enables us to better seek truth, and, more importantly, question it.

We need not look far back to see excellent examples during the pandemic, where the "truth" was confidently exclaimed by numerous experts only to discover down the road that what was truth didn’t exactly shape up that way.

Carlson’s announcement is the latest evidence that the media ecosystem continues to evolve. A move from a national prime-time perch to an alternative platform that still reaches millions was not possible even 30 years ago.

While it would be nice for traditional media outlets to be more receptive to heterodox views, it does not matter as much in this new media era.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is one of the most prominent voices in political circles, and he does not rely on the traditional media ecosystem to make it happen.

Instead, he leverages a much more dynamic environment in new media to speak to millions around the world.

It’s fine for legacy media to keep their gates.

They can have them.

However, the internet and social media have been a tool for making that gate less formidable than it has ever been.

Social media has been a powerful conduit for advocating competing ideas and connecting conservatives with audiences in truly amazing ways.

The same rules apply to social media companies, too.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., all get to make the rules for how individuals interact on their platform. When they adopt rules that wrongly restrict speech, they deserve all the flack that comes their way.

However, despite social media companies’ struggles in this area, the last thing we should be doing is empowering someone other than the company itself to have the key to their respective gates.

Whether requiring social media licensure, creating a new digital regulator, requiring the policing of mis, dis, and malinformation, or transparency reports, the online ecosystem will be left worse for wear if we give the government the key to the gates of these companies.

Doing so would empower it to effectively control the dissemination of information online.

To pretend that the government is going to foster a culture of free speech is a pipe dream.

Fox News made its decision about Tucker Carlson, and regardless of whether you agree with what Carlson says or not, it is refreshing to know that his dismissal is not the death sentence it used to represent. It can’t be understated how critical it is to afford people the opportunity to speak and be heard.

As Carlson said in his video, free speech is the right on which all other rights depend — and this development serves an opportunity to promote a culture of free speech.

Social media, despite its numerous issues, provides that in spades.

James Czerniawski is a senior policy analyst for technology and innovation at Americans for Prosperity. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCz19.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Free speech is the right on which all other rights depend, and this development serves an opportunity to promote a culture of free speech. Social media, despite its numerous issues, provides that in spades.
internet, social, tv
Tuesday, 16 May 2023 04:40 PM
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