MSNBC’s ‘All In With Chris Hayes’ host Chris Hayes began his Wednesday night episode saying conservatives’ claims to want to promote free speech is a ruse to hide their “thuggish and authoritarian” power play to control thought and punish those they disagree with.
Hayes opened the segment with a quote from a famous journalist, “As legendary reporter A.J. Liebling wrote in the New Yorker, 1960, ‘Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.’”
He said that’s the mantra of the right and Elon Musk’s fight against censorship:
“Pretty smart thing to say… we are now seeing that exact principle play out before us. This active desire to own a press, to control freedom of the press, from some on the right, to control who gets to speak and how under the guise of free speech.”
“That is what the celebration of billionaire Elon Musk buying Twitter is all about,” he added.
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS — Episode 1208A — Pictured: (l-r) Political commentator Chris Hayes during an interview on October 13, 2021 — (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
ELON MUSK CONDEMNS TWITTER CENSORSHIP OF NY POST’S HUNTER LAPTOP STORY: ‘OBVIOUSLY INCREDIBLY INAPPROPRIATE’
Hayes mocked the notion that conservatives want the freedom to say what they want.
He then cut to a clip of Ben Shapiro asking Elon Musk to fire Twitter employees as proof that conservatives are looking to dominate the right to free speech.
“Listen to this right-wing radio host suggesting Musk should fire employees of Twitter. Almost all of them, because of their views, they should not be able to say what they want. That they should be punished for their beliefs,” he said.
Hayes called Shapiro wanting Musk to fire underperforming and biased Twitter personnel a “political purge.”
FILE – Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington, on March 9, 2020. A Delaware court on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, sided with Musk in a bitter legal battle over whether he acted against the best interest of other shareholders when he steered the electric car maker into a $2.6 billion acquisition of a solar panel maker founded by two of his cousins. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
“Oh, that’s interesting. A political purge, but on the basis of merit. But also a political purge, but also, if they sound off on Elon Musk, which is, if they speak freely their views, axe them. That is what it’s about. Right?” he asked, mocking what he sees as inconsistency.
“It shows it is all about control. Control over speech platforms, control over institutions the right used to think were on their side and now believe are on the other side,” he argued, adding, that the right’s friendship with Musk is part of this, but it’s bigger than that.
“We’re actually seeing this put into practice. Not just the whining or exstasis about Elon Musk, which frankly is like a little bit weird and para-social, but in a way that is not just a violation of the first amendment but looks downright thuggish and authoritarian.”
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FILE PHOTO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the welcome segment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
This was a segue to talking about what he called DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay Law,” which he described as “banning teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in early elementary classrooms.”
Hayes went on to hit DeSantis and Florida for fighting back against Disney coming out against the law, claiming more hypocrisy from Republicans on free speech.
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Gabriel Hays is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @gabrieljhays.