WATCH: Elon Musk and the BBC – the no-good, totally embarrassing, excruciating interview

It might be used in Journalism 101 courses in the future as a solid example of never, ever going into an interview with a smart person without marshalling the evidence and thoroughly preparing, not just your questions, but for any possible kickback.

The interview between Elon Musk and the BBC’s James Clayton has racked up tens of millions of views already, mostly because Musk verbally eviscerated the sloppy questions which were based on the sort of lazy presumption that has replaced inquiry in modern journalism.

In fact, the short interview is a master class in calling out false information – or at least demanding proof of allegations that are believed to be true simply because they are repeated so often.

What was Clayton thinking? Why didn’t he at least screengrab some tweets he believed would evidence his claims for a “rise in hate speech” on Twitter?

Too many journalists are quick to label everything they don’t like ‘hate speech’ anyway, but at least he could have then argued the toss with Musk.

The conversation went like this:

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. Is that something that you want to address?’

Musk: ‘What hate speech are you talking about? I mean, you use Twitter. Do you see a rise in hate speech? Just a personal anecdote? I don’t.’

Clayton: ‘Personally, for you, I would say I get more of that kind of content, yeah, personally. But I’m not going to talk for the rest of Twitter.’

Musk then asked Clayton to ‘describe a hateful thing’ [on Twitter] , and the BBC tech journalist replied: ‘Well, you know, content that would solicit a reaction, something that is slightly racist, slightly sexist.’

Musk then asked Mr Clayton if ‘something is slightly sexist it should be banned’ and continued to press for specific examples.

Clayton couldn’t give one. It was, I have to say, mortifying.

Musk also then laid into BBC for COVID “misinformation”, asking” Does the BBC hold itself at all responsible for misinformation regarding masking and side effects of vaccinations and not reporting on that at all?”

One commentator, Jeffrey Peel, said that : “Part of the reason Musk might have agreed [to the interview] was that just a few weeks ago, Marianna Spring – the BBC’s first specialist disinformation and social media correspondent – had put together a hatchet-job on Twitter under Musk’s management. Spring, like Clayton, has a job title befitting of the BBC’s new role in international broadcasting and global class woke moralising. Where, previously, journalists uncovered conspiracies, corruption, shady dealings or corporate malfeasance, the BBC’s new shiny role is to uncover opinions that don’t match its editorial lines and ensure they don’t get reported.”

“But the BBC, and the establishment PR machines, have never met the likes of Elon Musk. Where, in the past, the BBC could get away with atrocious, patronising behaviour and globalist schmoozing, now it has to deal with a new era that’s calling it out. And Musk, I have to say, is leading the charge,” he wrote.

“Just a few days ago Musk adorned the twitter account with a “Government funded media” label. And, at yesterday’s lamb-to-the-slaughter Twitter-Space match, Musk supremely, and effortlessly, intellectually eviscerated James Clayton. Indeed I’d go as far as to say that it was the moment when the BBC’s brand was shredded with the same degree of hubristic-precision as when Bud Light decided to put Dylan Mulvaney’s visage on its beer cans. If James Clayton, and the entire BBC Board, aren’t asking what exactly they stand for after this car-crash, then we can expect more of the same: a humiliating descent to that place where ageing media elephants go to die.”

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