Glenn Greenwald and Tucker Carlson are from opposite ends of the political universe, but they seem to find some common ground on the topic of free speech. Greenwald, a newly minted Fox News contributor, appeared on Carlson’s program following an incident between Carlos Maza and Steven Crowder. The exchange between Carlson and Greenwald was indicative of a strange relationship that has developed over the past month.
Maza, a gay latino journalist at Vox, has recently been making headlines for his calls for YouTube to remove user content from its website. Specifically, Maza was looking for Youtube to shut down the channel of prominent conservative YouTube icon Steven Crowder after repeated verbal attacks on Maza regarding his ethnicity and sexual orientation.
The Maza-Crowder dispute has now spurred broader conversations about censorship, freedom of speech and the degree to which social media giants should curate their content.
Maza argues that Crowder’s personal attacks calling him a “lispy queer” and “lispy angry sprite” as well as the harassment and doxxing that Maza suffered as a result are in violation of YouTube’s harassment and cyberbullying policy. The policy discourages content that was made as a personal attack or incites harassment or violence.
Crowder defended the content uploaded to his channel, claiming that the offensive language was comedic and used to criticize Maza’s viewpoints. Crowder appealed to his fan base, claiming that Maza’s call for his channel’s removal was another example of the left’s attempt to silence conservative voices on social media platforms.
Greenwald, who is also gay, criticized Maza’s call for censorship, saying that he has faced much worse as the husband of a federal congressman in Brazil and has never considered calling for those who have attacked him to be censored. He made the point that online censorship allows social media companies to become arbiters of censorship.
Liberals are so attached to their fantasy about the goodness of authority that they actually convince themselves that Silicon Valley giants – who they're otherwise willing to malign – are exercising censorship powers in defense of marginalized people against the powerful.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 7, 2019
The two mens’ agreement on the issue may seem weird to those who know Glenn Greenwald and Tucker Carlson; Greenwald and The Intercept are known for their leftist standpoint, while Carlson is regarded as an arch-conservative. However, this interview with Greenwald revealed a striking similarity between the two when it comes to free speech.
Their only difference is why concerned for free speech in the first place. Carlson is concerned with the influence of Silicon Valley executives because they are aligned with the “politically correct agenda,” whereas Greenwald fears their influence corrupting the ability for everyone to voice their opinion.
Carlson has regularly expressed concern that free speech is in danger, not because social media companies deciding what is allowed to be posted, but rather because of political correctness. Carlson is frequently quoted criticizing “political correctness” on his program.
It is important to note that Crowder’s response when confronted with his disparaging remarks toward Maza’s ethnicity and sexuality was to claim that they were “comedic.” Carlson also believes insensitive comments about one’s identity are something to joke about. In a 2018 segment, he claimed the left was clamping down on opposition and said, “Why is the Left doing this? Because they’re losing, and they know it. Take a step back. Is humorless political correctness the hallmark of self-confidence?”
Greenwald faced significant pushback from other journalists and activists after he defended Crowder and publicly affirmed Carlson, who has made sexist and racist comments in the past.
Here's Glenn Greenwald on Tucker Carlson's white power hour portraying a homophobic bigot with millions of online followers as "marginalized," whereas the target of his abuse is "powerful."
"That is such a good point!" Tucker replies. pic.twitter.com/YBxwjwcPlr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 7, 2019
This is not his first time on Carlson’s show either, and Greenwald has faced broader criticism for agreeing to work with Fox News and their more firebrand hosts despite his style of left-wing journalism.