by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Well, he really did it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made an above-market offer for Twitter and, after much talk of using poison pills to avoid handing the reigns over to the South African billionaire, Twitter’s board of directors reached an agreement with Musk on Monday. It was the darkest day on Earth since net-neutrality repeal.
Or at least it might seem that way, judging by the hysterical reaction of much of the mainstream press.
CBS’s Norah O’Donnell fretted behind an anchor’s desk that a “hands-off approach” might “make Twitter a haven for disinformation and hate speech” before going on to claim that “Musk has used the platform to bully critics and bully reporters who have written about him or his companies.” O’Donnell provided no examples to support her characterization.
Brian Stelter, formerly of CNN+, wondered aloud if Musk’s takeover might result in a mass exodus from the platform. “If you get invited to something where there are no rules, where there is total freedom for everybody, do you actually want to go to that party or are you going to decide to stay home?” asked Stelter.
Los Angeles Times columnist Erika Smith urged readers to “consider this the beginning of the end of #BlackTwitter,” quoting unattributed tweets and a single associate professor at Northeastern University to explain the declaration.
At the New York Times, editorial board member Greg Bensinger calls Musk’s Twitter “a scary place.” “Female Twitter users, in particular, ought to worry about whether Mr. Musk will bring his apparent disdain for women to the company he is about to own,” writes Bensinger, who cites a joke made by Musk last fall as evidence. Bensinger also warns readers that Musk’s goal of turning Twitter into “an inclusive arena for free speech” will also mean “free speech for people like Mr. Musk, a billionaire and the world’s richest man.” The horror.