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MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace blasted members of the right celebrating Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter on Tuesday.
After a lucrative offer from Musk, the social media company agreed to sell itself for a deal worth approximately $44 billion. This followed Musk’s original offer back on April 14 as well as Musk’s original 9.2% stock purchase of the company.
Reporters, columnists, and TV hosts at several media outlets, including MSNBC, shared their displeasure at Musk’s purchase. Many Republicans, however, have applauded the buy based on Musk’s support of free speech.
In a panel, frequent MSNBC guest Donny Deutsch and Wallace called out these conservatives as being deceitful, comparing their form of free speech to yelling fire in a crowded theater.
“You get into the First Amendment discussion where you go back, and you can’t yell fire in a movie theater. What are the ground rules?” Wallace quoted Deutsch during the segment. “And the issue is whether it’s Elon Musk or anybody else, it’s a problem that’s bigger than Elon Musk.”
“What the right has already seized is this ground they’re on the side of free speech. They’re really not. They’re for the political version of yelling fire in a movie theater,” she continued.
“Yes, they are,” Deutsch replied.
In a 1989 article in the Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Law professor emeritus and constitutional law scholar Alan Dershowitz criticized the use of the “shouting fire” analogy against unpopular political ideas.
He wrote that these analogies “by their nature, matters of degree. Some are closer to the core example than others. But any attempt to analogize political ideas in a pamphlet, ugly parody in a magazine, offensive movies in a theater, controversial newspaper articles, or any of the other expressions and actions cataloged above to the very different act of shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater is either self-deceptive or self-serving.”