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Good evening. It's Monday, November 27.
Tonight: Every crisis in the West over the last six years has been instantly exploited to demand – and then to implement – more and more controls on online political speech. The Russiagate fraud, the 2020 election, the Covid pandemic, the January 6 riot, and the war in Ukraine: each of them ushered in new and escalated forms of online censorship on the grounds that each presented dangers too grave to continue to permit speech to be unfettered.
Exactly the same has been true for this new war between Israel and Gaza, which - like the war in Ukraine – Joe Biden is funding and arming with American resources, while the EU stands and cheers. From the very start of this war, the same officials and establishment figures who have imposed this years-long censorship regime began doing so again, but this time because there was too much dangerous speech critical of Israel, that what needed to be silenced and suppressed was not conservative speech but criticisms of the Israelis, or support for the Palestinians – censorship measures which many on the right – not all, but many – this time endorsed because the views to be silenced – criticisms of Israel deemed "excessive" – were views they disliked.
Yesterday, CNN's anchor Dana Bash, who has been outspoken in her support for Israel and her determination to combat what she insists is a crisis of rising antisemitism on American college campuses, spoke to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. They both join together to demand more control of online speech and the name of this new war in the name of protecting Israel from what they say is hatred and inaccurate information aimed at that country. This is the same union of corporate and political power that has imposed this elaborate and increasingly repressive censorship regime since 2016, though this time the reaction to these censorship demands seems quite different.
Then: When Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he did so based on the vow repeatedly stated to adhere to what he called “free speech absolutism,” which he defined as “allowing all speech that is legal.” He has mostly followed through on that pledge but not entirely – he personally banned both Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, even though what they said, while definitely offensive to most people, was not even arguably illegal. But he has followed through in large and important ways – certainly more so than the prior Twitter regime did.
But Musk has spent the last two weeks embroiled in a major and costly scandal that has reportedly caused X advertising losses of up to $75 million. That's because Musk has spent two weeks being widely accused by the media, by liberal activist groups like Media Matters, by all sorts of people, of being anti-Semitic, or at least having endorsed an anti-Semitic tweet which drove these corporate advertisers away.
As we reported last week, Musk immediately responded to the scandal by announcing a ban on X of certain phrases that Israel's most fervent supporters hate most, including using the terms “decolonization” and “From the river to the sea” toward Israel on the grounds that those phrases are genocidal. While this new Israel-protecting sensitive policy did provoke a head pat and an alibi from the ADL – the same group that just 24 hours earlier was calling him anti-Semitic – it wasn't enough to bring back major advertisers who fled. So today Musk traveled to Israel to meet with its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, where it must publicly affirm the validity of every one of Israel's core arguments justifying its ongoing bombardment of Gaza, and then he held a one-on-one conversation with Netanyahu on X, where he sounded like Israel's most devoted supporter. We'll examine this remarkable trip to Israel and what really happened here.
And then finally, GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has surpassed the expectations of most longtime political watchers with the support he's been able to build inside the GOP with his very outsider presidential campaign. We'll speak with him tonight about all sorts of issues involving free speech and censorship. One of the flagship issues of his campaign and his public persona even before the campaign began. We'll talk about the war in Israel and Gaza and specifically Biden's deeper quest to spend another $14 billion on Israel. We'll discuss newly released videos about the January 6 riot that the public hadn't seen up until this point because Liz Cheney and Adam Schiff sought to conceal it. We'll talk with him about corruption scandals involving Nikki Haley, the way the establishment is united against her, and much more.
For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now.