Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Ben Cunningham to discuss the tyranny of social media companies and their censorship of conservative voices.

Leahy: In-studio, my good friend, all-star panelist, founder of the Nashville Tea Party, Ben Cunningham. Ben, we’ve been talking about this off-air since you got here, and I’m fascinated by this. How much is Elon Musk worth?

Cunningham: I think it’s like $270 billion. He surpassed Bezos long ago. I think he’s worth almost twice as much as Bezos now. Crazy. A quarter of a trillion dollars.

Leahy: He’s the CEO of Tesla. The electric car company.

Cunningham: Most of his wealth is.

Leahy: I think most of his wealth is. By the way, Tesla, it’s a great vehicle – asterisk – to get it started he got all sorts of government subsidies all over the place.

Cunningham: Everywhere he goes, he gets as much as he can.

Leahy: He gets government subsidies all over the place.

Cunnigham: Just like Ford.

Leahy: Just like Ford and General Motors. What’s wrong with that? But having said all that, he’s a fascinating guy.

Cunningham: Yeah, he is. He really is.

Leahy: And what else? He owns a lot of other stuff, doesn’t he?

Cunningham: He’s investing in a lot of other stuff. He has of course SpaceX, and that’s a big thing. And then the Internet satellite company where he’s helped folks in Ukraine to keep them connected.

And on social media, he’s so refreshingly doesn’t-give-a-bleep. He calls people out. Washington Post the other day had an article, I think it was an editorial about rich people coming in and buying Twitter. This is from The Washington Post, that’s owned by Jeff Bezos. It’s his own personal newsletter.

Cunningham: His own personal newsletter.

Leahy: Just like The Tennessee Star is my own personal newsletter. Not really.

Cunningham: It’s just crazy. And the social media companies are continuing to act like tyrants. They are absolute tyrants. And there was an article this weekend about a lady, I think she’s here locally, who was thrown off LinkedIn because she said that people ought to pay back their student loans and LinkedIn threw her off.

Leahy: Hate speech.

Cunningham: Because of hate speech! Literally! That was it! How absurd and ridiculous can this get? It’s getting worse and worse. Of course. We at the Nashville Tea Party were thrown off LinkedIn long ago, right before the election.

Leahy: You’re still off?

Cunningham: Yeah, we’re gone. My personal account is gone. Everything is wiped out.

Leahy: Well, you are full of hate speech. (Chuckles) 

Cunningham: And we’re getting shadowbanned on Facebook and Instagram. We’re going through all kinds of tech support appeals to try to get our reach back to what it should be. Everybody’s fighting this, though.

Leahy: When you say shadow, explain what shadowbanned is.

Cunningham: They have an algorithm that determines how much your posts are seen. And what they do is they simply change and tweak the algorithm and they only show your post to people who are Eskimos living in Alaska or something. And you can see very clearly by this response you get who they’re exposing your post too. And it’s very clear when you’re a conservative and you start posting stuff that they don’t like, they start it.

Leahy: So we know this at The Tennessee Star, and this is why we like what Elon Musk is doing. We’ll get to that in just a bit. But, you know, The Tennessee Star, we launched in February of 2017, and by February of 2018, we had like 15,000 likes on Facebook. February 2018. Now it’s April. It’s April of 2022. Four years later, we still just have 15,000 likes on Facebook.

Cunningham: I’ve seen that over again.

Leahy: We’ve been going like crazy.

Cunningham: You hit a ceiling. They don’t want you to go beyond the ceiling, and they change the algorithm and you are not seen.

Leahy: Google, also, is throttling us on search engines, if you will.

Cunningham: Yeah, I’m sure they are.

Leahy: So Google and Facebook, bad; Twitter … actually, early on, as you may recall, way back, I joined Twitter in 2008, and Twitter played an important role in the founding of the Tea Party movement because, in December of 2008, I founded a group con Twitter called Top Conservatives on Twitter. And we’ve made a list of all the conservatives that were on Twitter.

Cunningham: TCOT.

Leahy: And we got we made a little fun out of it and to say who’s going to be the most followed conservative on Twitter. And we had a hashtag developed as of that. And then we formed a group. I had like 3,000 people sign up for this in 24 hours.

Cunningham: I think you really were a pioneer in terms of hashtags and using that.

Leahy: Way back when, in a world that no longer exists. But then we use that to get to know each other. I met Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, Mark Lloyd, and all the early organizers of the Tea Party movement. Got to know each other via Twitter. And then we had conference calls and we launched the Tea Party movement. But my own personal strategy on Twitter is, unless you’re just like sending out a story, which we do at The Tennessee Star, but on my own personal Twitter account, it’s not worth the time and energy to put something out, a point of fact, and then have all of these little left-wing authoritarians say nasty things about you over stupid stuff.

Cunningham: And I don’t think most people understand the power of these liberal trolls. They are very organized. Most of our content that’s taken down is the result of complaints from the left-wings.

Leahy: And these are like kids in their 20s who were absolutely in their basements hating America.

Cunningham: Fully indoctrinated by their professors and high school teachers.

Leahy: I’m still on Twitter, but I don’t use it very much. I use GETTR more now. GETTR is, I think, a more useful tool. Having said all this, and of course, Twitter banned President Trump because of who knows what. They just made up some ideas. And he had like, how many followers did he have? 200 million.

Cunningham: Everyone on the face of the earth is on Twitter. President Trump has been banned.

Leahy: It’s so obvious it’s biased on their part.

Cunningham: It’s beyond biased.

Leahy: But when last week Elon Musk spent $2 billion of his $250 to purchase nine percent of the stock of Twitter, it caught my attention.

Cunningham: Yup.

Listen to the interview here:














– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.