Elon Musk, who faces widespread doubts about his commitment to minimize hate speech and misinformation on Twitter, became one of the spreaders on Sunday, days after assuming ownership of the site. In a tweet, the billionaire sent followers to an article with baseless claims involving the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Washington Post reports. "There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye," Musk wrote. The tweet later was removed. Musk has 112 million followers.
The article recommended by Musk was on a fringe website, the Santa Monica Observer, which the AP notes has claimed that Hillary Clinton died on Sept. 11 and was replaced by a body double. The site repeated the assertion that Paul Pelosi's personal life had something to do with the attack, though no evidence of that has been presented. Musk joined the likes of Roger Stone and posters on a forum for Steve Bannon's radio show, who likewise spread doubts about the attack on Pelosi, who was hit with a hammer and left with a fractured skull. On Telegram, Stone referred to the assault as an "alleged attack" and said there's a "stench" around mainstream news coverage of it.
The Santa Monica site was offline Sunday, and Musk and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. General Motors is among the advertisers that have suspended buys until it sees how Musk handles such issues on Twitter. On CNN, Republican Sen. Rick Scott avoided a direct answer on whether his party should "do more to reject conspiracy theories and dangerous rhetoric" while saying it's important to condemn the violence. Larry Elder, a talk show host who was a candidate for governor of California and said he's thinking of running for president, used Twitter to mock Paul Pelosi and his injuries. "First, he's busted for DUI, and then gets attacked in his home," Elder wrote. "Hammered twice in six months." (Read more Elon Musk stories.)