The New York Times spills more ink on Elon Musk, but Twitter’s ‘Chief Twit’ will have the last word

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5…4…3…2…1. No, it’s not a SpaceX launch but the timing of the New York Times’ latest attack on Elon Musk.

That the Times best-selling piece on Musk landed the same day the Tesla founder changed his Twitter bio to « Chief Twit » and took a sink to Twitter headquarters, joking in a « let it flow » tweet. is no coincidence. In reality, the timing — which is an attempt to discredit Musk as he takes the reins of the internet’s influence machine — is the point.

In its attack article, The Times made a big bombshell claim about the billionaire, casting Musk as « a chaotic new player on the stage of global politics. » Certainly, with the stakes so high, the Times would only bring the most credible claims backed up by excellent sourcing. Right?

Well, turns out, not so much. Aside from two think tanks no one has ever heard of, the Times specifically tapped two sources to back up the story. One is a digital rights activist who has publicly stated how other people who are not Elon Musk created phishing attacks linked to Musk’s attempt to launch Starlink in Iran, where protesters are rising up against the despotic regime, which shut down the internet in the country.


The other source is a Taiwan official who disagrees with Musk’s comments about creating a compromise between the island national and China – the same approach the New York Times advocated in a major opinion piece last year. last. And to do all that crack reporting, the Times relied on eight – yes, eight! – reporters.

From my long history of researching malfeasance at The Times, including with my book on paper, « The Gray Lady Winked », I have learned that one of the most egregious accounts that something is wrong is the use of excessive repetition. Repeat the false claim that Officer Sicknick was killed on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 until he is housed in the Overton window. Whip the idea that Russia paid Taliban soldiers bounties to assassinate American soldiers until it is accepted as fact. Tell us again and again that America is a deeply racist country built on injustice, and that we may eventually give in.


In case you’re worried that the latest Times article on Musk as an « agent of chaos » won’t be enough to convince media-skeptical Americans of the fact, don’t be. Just 12 days ago, The Times made its first forays into the story with an article titled “Elon Musk Foments More Geopolitical Controversy With Ukraine Internet Dispute.”

The most glaring indication that something is wrong is the use of excessive repetition.

Are you worried that the Times hasn’t cajoled its readers enough into believing that the « mercurial » Musk will be bad for Twitter? Well, go read his stories from October 21 (« a famous mercurial entrepreneur »), October 10, October 6 (« he’s likely to make the site a nicer place for racist demagogues and conspiracy theorists ») and Oct. 5 (« Its plans to make Twitter a more friendly platform for right-wing voices. »). And for good measure, be sure to read The Times’ opinions on how Musk’s ideas destroy public transport.


The Times would have you believe Musk a lot. Once upon a time, we could have taken the old « official paper » of the country at its word. But when millions of Americans watch Musk achieve seemingly impossible back-to-back accomplishments — landing rockets on ships, recreating the electric vehicle industry and launching a chain of internet satellites — the last word might not belong to the barrel-tipping newspaper. of ink to enforce an ideology, but the tycoon invests billions of dollars to invent our future. Now, let that sink in.



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