Elon Musk Launches First Amendment Campaign Against Free Speech Attacks

NPR controversy escalates with high-profile resignations and critiques.

by Nouman Rasool
Elon Musk Launches First Amendment Campaign Against Free Speech Attacks
© Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Tesla CEO and social media platform X's owner, Elon Musk, has declared the initiation of a nationwide campaign to support the First Amendment, citing ongoing assaults on free speech. This move, announced via Musk's X account on Thursday, underscores his growing concern over the state of public discourse in the United States.

"Given the relentless attacks on free speech, I am going to fund a national signature campaign in support of the First Amendment," Musk conveyed to his followers, signaling a robust push against what he perceives as growing censorship.

The specifics of Musk’s new initiative remain under wraps, but the campaign comes amid his pointed critiques of Katherine Maher, the newly appointed CEO of NPR. Maher, who previously helmed Wikimedia, the parent organization of Wikipedia, has been a controversial figure, particularly noted for her statements regarding misinformation and the First Amendment.

At the Atlantic Council's 360/Open Summit in June 2021, she spoke about the challenges of combating disinformation within the robust framework of U.S. free speech protections.

Musk Critiques Maher

This backdrop sets the stage for Musk's sharp rebuke of Maher, especially in the wake of an essay by NPR editor Uri Berliner, who resigned alleging a lack of intellectual diversity at NPR.

Berliner's departure ignited a storm of controversy focused largely on Maher's past political statements. In the last day alone, Musk has attacked Maher multiple times on X, decrying her previous leadership at Wikipedia and her perceived biases, "Katherine Maher is blatantly racist and s--ist – one of the worst human beings in America," Musk tweeted.

Conservative activist Chris Rufo echoed Musk's sentiments, criticizing Maher's alignment with what he describes as far-left stances, which ironically made her a fitting leader for NPR according to its staff. "Katherine Maher: I’m pro-censorship, anti-First Amendment, anti-truth, anti-white, and anti-‘free and open’ internet," Rufo expressed.

"NPR: She's perfect. Let's make her CEO." In a series of further engagements, Musk responded to comments by Senator Ted Cruz and shared a video by Rufo highlighting Maher's opposition to a "free and open" internet. Musk reinforced the essence of Wikipedia, remarking, "A free and open internet is literally the point of Wikipedia." Amidst these exchanges, podcaster Lex Fridman called for Maher’s resignation from NPR, advocating for unbiased journalism, to which Musk agreed, stressing the inappropriateness of political bias in taxpayer-funded organizations.

Elon Musk