Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter has brought with it a parade of media hot takes like no other. Here’s the latest:
Elon Musk's paradoxical vision of running Twitter: Less democracy, more freedom https://t.co/4vVWPOu737
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 16, 2022
So… more freedom means less “democracy”? Yeah, we’re confused too.
Our media class is so embarrassing pic.twitter.com/XzTfrZkw9K
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) April 16, 2022
Well that’s certainly one way to look at it.
Behind Musk’s headline-grabbing gambit, however serious — and many question if it is serious — is a philosophical juxtaposition of two theories of how to manage and promote free speech as a social-media company in 2022. It’s a war between the public and the private, the controlled and the chaotic, the ESG investor crowd and the philosopher-troll king.
Over the years, like many publicly traded companies, Twitter’s more socialized investor structure has allowed oversight and activism by dissatisfied investors. As part of the broader movement in many industries to take environmental, social and governance factors into account, some shareholders have pushed for resolutions urging the company to, among other issues, take greater responsibility for the content on its services.
The problem these days is that the word “democracy” has been co-opted and re-defined as “Democrat narrative,” and therefore if something’s called “bad for democracy” it can simply be translated to mean “bad for Democrats.”
What’s Democratic about blocking accounts that disagree with your political position??
— Beatrice Cardenas (@RealBetyCardens) April 16, 2022
It’s helpful to Democrats, and therefore “democratic” according to the Left.
— Jon Zalewski (@jonmzalewski) April 16, 2022
It’s worth noting that the L.A. Times is owned by a capital firm headed by a man with a reported net worth of over $7 billion. But billionaires such as Patrick Soon-Shiong or Jeff Bezos owning media doesn’t seem to be such a trigger to the left of center.
"War is peace"
"Freedom is slavery"
"Ignorance is strength" https://t.co/OVMp0ZwYg9
— IT Guy (@ITGuy1959) April 16, 2022
“Called it!” – G. Orwell
Spat out my coffee at this level of galaxy brain https://t.co/mV4yDCINTn
— Gillum Ferguson (@GillumFerguson) April 16, 2022
We probably should have put the “beverage warning” at the top of this story.