Elon Musk vs James Clayton from the BBC

13 April 2023

5.7 MINS

Elon Musk recently eviscerated the career of James Clayton in a live TV interview. It makes for a gasp-out-loud, compelling viewing in a train wreck kind of way. Not since Cathy Newman infamously took on Jordan Peterson, has a journalist from the BBC been schooled so comprehensively. Indeed, if the issues being discussed were not so serious, you could almost feel sorry for the constant stuttering and pregnant pauses made by Clayton. Almost.

Because the interview was a perfect illustration of just how far journalists have come in becoming political activists by hectoring the public with their own woke opinions. All while being sponsored by the public purse. Let’s go to the videotape, shall we…?


The interview begins predictable enough with a discussion around the parameters of free speech. This is a subject which Musk is not only a huge believer in but an articulate proponent of. As Musk explains:

Musk: Freedom of speech is meaningless unless you allow people you don’t like to say things you don’t like. Otherwise it’s irrelevant. And the point at which you lose free speech, it doesn’t come back.

Clayton: I think the issue some people have is a lot of people were brought back… some people who were previously banned for spreading things like QAnon conspiracies, you have people like Andrew Tate were brought back who were previously banned… do you think you prioritise things like freedom of speech over misinformation?

Musk: Well, who’s to say something is misinformation? Who is the arbiter of that? Is it the BBC?

Clayton: Are you literally asking me?

Musk: Yeah. Who is the arbiter?

Clayton: Well, you are the arbiter on Twitter because you literally own Twitter.

Musk: Yes, and so I’m saying, who is to say that one person’s misinformation is another person’s information? Who is going to decide that?

Clayton: But you accept that misinformation can be dangerous and can cause real world harms…?

Musk: Yes, but the point I’m making is that the BBC has itself – at times – published things that are false. Do you agree that, that has occurred?

Clayton: I’m… ah… quite certain that that BBC has… ah… said things before which the BBC has said things before which have turned out not to be true. In its… ah… whatever it is, one-hundred-year history.

Musk: Yes. Even if you aspire to be accurate, there are times when you will not be.

Not only is the BBC journalist completely unaware of the legitimate risks which freedom of speech brings, but Clayton is blind to his own employer’s involvement. But believe it or not, things at this point go from bad to worse. And since the interview was being recorded live there was no way for the Clayton to escape.

Clayton: We’ve spoken to people very recently who were involved in moderation and they just say, there’s not enough people to police this stuff – particularly around hate speech – in the company.

Musk: What “hate speech” are you talking about? You use Twitter.

Clayton: Right.

Musk: Do you see hate speech? Just a personal anecdote. I mean, I don’t.

Clayton: Personally, in my “for you”, I would get more of that type of content. Personally. But I’m not going to talk for the rest of Twitter.

Musk: You see more hate speech personally?

Clayton: I would say I see more hateful content and that…

Musk: Content you don’t like? Or hateful in what sense? Describe a hateful thing?

Clayton: Yeah, well, you know… content which will solicit a reaction. Something that may include something that is slightly racist or slightly sexist. Those kinds of things.

Musk: So you think if it’s “slightly sexist” then it should be banned? Is that what you’re saying?

Clayton: Um…no. That’s not what I’m saying.

Musk: I’m curious. I’m trying to understand what you mean by saying, “hateful content”. And I’m asking for specific examples. And you just said that if something is “slightly sexist”, that’s hateful content. Does that mean it should be banned?

Clayton: Well, you’ve asked me whether, if my feed has got less or more and I’d say it’s got slightly more.

Musk: And that’s why I’m asking for examples. Can you name one example?

Clayton: I… I… I honestly can’t…

Musk: You can’t name a single example?

Clayton: I’ll tell you why. Because I don’t actually use that feed “for you” anymore because I just don’t particularly like it…. a lot of people are quite similar. I only look at who I’m following.

Musk: Well, hang on a second. You’ve said you’ve seen more hateful content but you can’t name a single example? Not even one!

Clayton: I’m sure if I’ve used that feed for the past three or four weeks….

Musk: Then how could you see that “hateful content”?

Clayton: Because I’ve been using Twitter since you’ve taken it over for the past six months.

Musk: Then you must have at some point seen that “hateful content” and I’m asking for one example. And you can’t give a single one.

Clayton: Right.

Musk: Then I say, sir, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Clayton: Really?

Musk: Yes, because you can’t give a single example of hateful content. Not even one tweet when you claimed that the hateful content was high. That’s a false. You just lied!

Clayton: No. Well… ah… no… what I claimed was, there are many organisations which claim that misinformation is on the rise.

Musk: Give me one example. You literally can’t name one.

Clayton: Right… well… the Strategic Dialogue Institute in the UK. They will say that.

Musk: Well, people will say all sorts of nonsense. I’m literally asking for just a single example and you can’t name one.

Clayton: Right. And as I already said, I don’t use that feed…

Musk: Then how would you know?

Clayton: We’re not getting anywhere…

Musk: You literally said, you experience more hateful content and then couldn’t name  a single example.

Clayton: Right.

Musk: That’s absurd.

Clayton: But as I said, I haven’t actually looked at that feed.

Musk: Then how would you know there’s hateful content?

Clayton: Because I’m saying that’s what I saw a few weeks ago. I can’t give you an exact example. Let’s move on… we only have a certain amount of time.

Musk: Wow!

At this point, other interviewees might have lost their cool and possibly even stormed out. And it is a credit to Musk that he kept his demeanour and even manages an exasperated smile. In what is surely the “killer blow” to Clayton even being taken seriously as a journalist again though, the questioning turns to misinformation surrounding COVID-19. You might want to stop at this particular point and prepare the popcorn:

Clayton: COVID misinformation…

Musk: Amazing.

Clayton: You’ve changed your COVID misinformation…

Musk: Has the BBC changed its COVID misinformation?

Clayton: The BBC does not set the rules on Twitter so I’m asking you…

Musk: No, I’m talking about the BBC’s misinformation on COVID?


Clayton: I’m asking you… you changed the labels… there used to be a policy and then… that’s disappeared. Why do that?

Musk: Well, COVID is no longer an issue. Does the BBC hold itself at all responsible for misinformation regarding masking and side effects of vaccinations? And not reporting on that at all? And what about the fact that the BBC was put under pressure by the British government to change their editorial policy? Are you aware of that?

Clayton: This is not an interview about the BBC…

Musk: O, you thought it wasn’t?

Clayton: I see now why you’ve done “Twitter spaces”. I’m not a representative of the BBC editorial policy, I want to make that clear.

Musk: I’m interviewing you too.

Clayton: Let’s talk about something else…

Musk: You weren’t expecting that!

Clearly, neither the BBC or especially James Clayton knew what they were getting in for when Elon Musk agreed to a sit-down interview. What has suddenly become clear to those identifying as woke – although, this has been clear to conservatives from the beginning – is that Musk buying Twitter is the Black Swan event of publishing.

It is the gift of social disruption which has the potential to single handedly keep free speech alive. At least in the sphere of social media. It’s a sign that all is not lost. And that as long as people with the personal courage and business acumen such as Musk are around, then there’s ever possibility of the mainstream media being held to account.


Photo: Screenshot via Daily Caller/Youtube.

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  1. Kim Beazley 13 April 2023 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    One of the most cringeworthy interviews ever! Musk in complete control of the narrative, and shows up the mealy-mouthed dishonesty of the journalist.

    Isn’t it extraordinary that it’s the Left, which five minutes ago historically, were the bastion of free speech and expression, particularly in relation to the portrayal of sex in books and movies, is now far more censorious in relation to speech, and even thought.

  2. Kaylene Emery 14 April 2023 at 11:38 am - Reply

    As much as I dislike Elon Musk ( though I have never met him) I agree completely with the following and I quote from this article ” Free speech is meaningless unless you allow people you don’t like to say things you don’t like . Otherwise its ( free speech) irrelevant “.
    It is hopeful , perhaps even an answer to prayer – that we are now seeing main stream media exposed in their stunning hypocrisy. The damage caused by their collusion, is unspeakable…….almost.
    Thanks Mark.

  3. Marcus 16 April 2023 at 8:26 am - Reply

    One error, at the top – Cathy Newman doesn’t work for the BBC but for Channel 4 News, which is even worse on woke-ism..

  4. mary koshy 16 April 2023 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    ABC needs this in Australia for all the one sided political fake news it spits out, Elon ,please, please come over and expose the fake news here in Australia . Fact is a fact, which should not be a hate speech, Truth is truth, speaking truth should not be a hate speech, Science is Science , speaking science should not be a hate speech (Freedom of speech is needed in a progressive democracy, infact it is the breath of it , avoiding Facts, Truth & Science, along with unrealistic climate change policies is the modern weapons used by some to choke the thriving western civilization . Do not fall pray to it.

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