Shall we put this one in the “I told you so category?”
If you have been reading my blog and my twice-a-month newsletter, you know this was coming. For the past year, I have argued that Twitter is Elon Musk’s Bully Pulpit and the new Fox. Yesterday, that reality manifested itself.
Musk hosted a Republican presidential hopeful, who announced his presidential bid on Twitter & was interviewed by an Elon lackey. (Things didn’t go well!) Musk, the space cowboy and a former savior of the planet from climate change, has finished his transformation into a media baron with a big bullhorn. (Read: Why Twitter is a great deal for Elon?)
Exit Captain America. Enter Elliot Carver (and Henry Gupta!)
Amazingly, he picked up a major platform of national discourse with nary a whimper in Washington tells you how woefully out of touch the regulators are at estimating and calculating risk in the networked era. And what is worse is the organized and traditional media establishment.
The Washington Post, Mediate, and The Atlantic suddenly wake up to the new Fox. You would think reporters with a deep understanding of the landscape could combine two and two together and connect the dots. Sadly, even the smartest one only sees everything clearly after the fact. What’s more confounding is that establishment media’s opinion writers aren’t about to write pieces that can focus on the future. Instead, everything is a giant circle jerk of hot takes to impress other writers and inflate the filter bubbles.
Let’s face it — Musk’s Twitter will acquiesce to anyone who threatens to block sales of Tesla or puts SpaceX’s business interests at risk. Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has approved 83 percent of censorship requests.
Musk, who has an opinion about everything, and is quick to dunk on American politicians, has been woefully quiet about China. Why? Because Musk’s main interest is to keep Tesla growing— China is a crucial market. I don’t think anyone has noticed that two of the largest propaganda tools — Twitter and TikTok- are beholden to China. It is not a surprise that Twitter would be a tool for shaping public sentiment around US and China. He is already talking about Taiwan as an inevitability.
In one more way, he is like Rupert: he is an American citizen by interest, not loyalty.
PS: As a blogger, I have always believed in giving publications and sources that helped shape my thinking and writing proper credit. The traditional media establishment still doesn’t do that, and it only undermines my respect for writers, especially those who are blogging native and should know better. I am looking at your Axios and Atlantic.
May 25, 2023. San Francisco