Tag: elon musk
Ron DeSantis

Trolled By Biden, 'DeSaster' Blows His Campaign Launch On Twitter Spaces

Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to launch his 2024 presidential campaign on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, but failed as the social media’s live audio platform repeatedly crashed.

The event was supposed to begin at 6:00 PM ET, but started late, never seemed to get off the ground, and sometime around 6:20 just abruptly ended.

The mockery of both Musk and DeSantis was widespread.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss weighed in several times.

“Is Twitter audio conking out because DeSantis has gotten cold feet about running for President?”

“DeSantis announcement still crashing after fifteen minutes–not an inspiring harbinger of his leadership competence as President.”

“It’s twenty minutes in, and still the DeSantis announcement is crashing–anyone have a metaphor to suggest?”

Twitter seemed to be fueled by massive mockery.

“The DeSantis live event on Twitter has already featured reverb, audio cutting out, chatter from the participants as they scramble to fix audio problems, and now another extended period of silence,” reporter Jamie Dupree tweeted. “‘The servers are straining somewhat’ as someone whispers in the background.”

That someone appears to have been Musk.

Attorney Brad Moss appeared to mock both Musk and his SpaceX Starship explosion last month that reportedly “spread particulate matter for miles.”

“Elon’s products usually blow up so this is nothing new,” Moss tweeted.

Democratic political strategist Tom Bonier summed it up as Twitter appeared to pull the plug: “And just like that, the DeSantis launch ended. Without ever really beginning.”

But Musk tried again, and with a far smaller audience, according to the counter on the app, about 205,000 listening. The second time the technical aspects seemed to work better.

Host David Sacks asked DeSantis why he chose to launch his campaign on Twitter Spaces, and the Florida governor replied that just as he bucked convention during the COVID pandemic, he decided to not follow the crowd in launching his campaign.

DeSantis did not mention his coronavirus statistics, including Florida ranking third in total cases and deaths, and in the top 10 for per capita cases and deaths.

Even before the first attempt failed, the Biden Campaign was quick to capitalize on the mayhem, tweeting a link to donate, saying, “This link works.”

But even once the second attempt was live, the discussion was widely panned.

Veteran Republican presidential campaign strategist Stuart Stevens tweeted, “As presidential announcements go, this is the three stoned guys who couldn’t get a date in their dorm room on Saturday night version.”

SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, observed, “DeSantis could have had millions of people watching as he launched if he did this on TV. Instead he got 100k listening to whiny rich guys on this broken down app, which malfunctioned at the start. And many of those people listening are just here for the train wreck.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes concluded, “I’m sorry but this is an ASTOUNDINGLY HUMILIATING degree of incompetence. Unspinnable failure. Total and complete. Fully public.”

Making clear DeSantis has made enemies nationwide, the DC Public Library tweeted, “We have better audio and don’t ban books.”

By the end, “#DeSaster” was trending on Twitter.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Elon Musk

Is Elon Musk's Twitter Seeking To Displace Fox News On The Far Right?

Fox News served for years as both the undisputed central hub of the right-wing media and a primary power center for the Republican Party, but the network is now in a vulnerable position. Fox’s record settlement with Dominion Voting Systems both cost its parent company dearly and put its corruption on public display, while its sudden firing of star host Tucker Carlson triggered denunciations from right-wing commentators and an ongoing ratings collapse. With Roger Ailes dead, Rupert Murdoch ailing, and Carlson out, the network lacks a strong leader with influence over the right.

The time is ripe for a challenge to Fox’s supremacy – and it’s getting one from an unexpected quarter. Elon Musk, the reactionary billionaire who took over Twitter in October 2022, is positioning the social media platform to supplant Fox within the right-wing echo chamber.

Musk won over the far right by unwinding Twitter’s policies on hate speech and disinformation and returning former President Donald Trump and other banned right-wing extremists to the platform. That set the stage for a recent spate of high-profile developments.

Earlier this month, Carlson announced on May 9 that he was planning to take some version of his show to the platform. Then on Tuesday, the Daily Wirerevealed that its popular video podcasts, hosted by right-wing commentators like Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, and Michael Knowles, will follow suit. And on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his long-awaited presidential bid in a Twitter Spaces event featuring Musk and fellow venture capitalist David Sacks.

These figures are reactionary ideologues unified by their eagerness to use right-wing power to crush their perceived enemies in the culture war and the “woke mind virus,” their term for progressive views on gender and race (which they frequently distort). In practice, that means dismantling the rights of LGBTQ people, targeting institutions that treat them with respect, and removing them from the public square, while curtailing discussions of race and U.S. history that diverge from right-wing dogmas.

Carlson and Daily Wire hosts like Walsh are among the foremost popularizers of the right’s war on “wokeness,” while Musk is an internet-poisoned conspiracy theorist who systematicallydismantled the platform’s protections for LGBTQ people, undid restrictions on hate speech, and has regularly promoted racist misinformation on the platform. DeSantis is the perfect political avatar of this brand of right-wing politics, having built a national profile by signing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” education law, then bringing state power to bear against Disney after the company publicly objected to the legislation.

The Musk-Carlson-Daily Wire-DeSantis faction will portray itself as an insurgency within the right that seeks the audience, money, and votes held by the Fox-Trump establishment. The resulting clash will create a race to the bottom as the two sides compete for support through demagoguery and conspiracy theories, making the political environment even more unstable and dangerous.

Fox’s own weapons are being turned against it. The network established its audience by denouncing other media outlets as unacceptably liberal and dishonest, gave Carlson and the Daily Wire hosts copious airtime to build their profiles, celebrated Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and inculcated its viewers to demand ever-escalating attacks on “wokeness.” Now the right-wing stars Fox helped mint are branding the network, implicitly or explicitly, as just another mainstream media outlet that deserves the “full Bud Light treatment,” as Walsh put it.

DeSantis, meanwhile, ascended to a plausible presidential challenger with Fox’s support. As a congressional back-bencher he saw Trump use a constant presence on Fox to win the 2016 presidential primary, adopted the same strategy in his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, and developed a national profile by firing Fox-friendly culture war salvos in frequent appearances on the network. But while he’ll still make an appearance on Fox – though curiously via an interview with Trey Gowdy, an occasional Trump critic taking his turn among the hosts rotating through Carlson’s old time slot, rather than the more popular hosts like Hannity or Jesse Watters, both Trump loyalists – he did so only after first bending his knee to Musk’s rising power on the right.

Many questions about Twitter’s plan remain unanswered, including whether an audience will actually develop for long-form video on the platform and how it will be monetized. It also remains to be seen whether a presidential campaign that prioritizes Twitter over Fox can actually gain control of the GOP.

What’s crystal clear is that if you are an advertiser in business with Twitter, you’re in the Elon Musk business. And soon, you’re going to be in the Daily Wire business, the Tucker Carlson business, and the Ron DeSantis business as well.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Linda Yaccarino

Will Twitter's New CEO Be Worse Than Elon Musk?

Elon Musk announced Thursday he will hire a new Twitter CEO, at which point he will “transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.” Musk’s purchase and near-destruction of the social media giant took just over eight months after he fired about 75 percent of its staff, tanked the company’s advertising sales, and started and stopped ill-advised programs and initiatives, all while allowing thousands of bad actors back onto the platform.

The new CEO is Linda Yaccarino. Her qualifications for the new gig seem to be pretty clear: As NBCUniversal’s head of advertising, she oversaw “roughly $13 billion in annual ad revenue, and is well-known for her tight relationship with marketers and ad agencies.” With Musk’s Blue Check subscription revenue plan failing, finding someone who might help with Twitter’s nosediving advertising sales (which according to The Wall Street Journal made up “nearly 90% of the company’s revenue”) was imperative.

Yaccarino has also been a media “insider” for a long time, with strong ties to the World Economic Forum—a globalization-focused group that hosts the annual Davos World Economic Forum, which Musk has frequently derided.

This move was predictable in many ways. Musk’s proclaimed interest in turning Twitter into a new “free speech” mecca has always been dubious. One need only consider his definition of free speech and his repeatedcensoring of people he didn’t approve of.

But if you think Yaccarino is just your run-of-the-mill, ultrawealthy CEO type … well, you’re basically right.

But that doesn’t seem to be enough for the cognitive dissonance crowd. Does former Fox News scream queen and soon-to-be Twitter host Tucker Carlson have any thoughts on the matter?

What a tangled web we weave! Unfortunately, many of Musk’s blue-check brigade of blind followers are clearly freaking out about this classic bit of billionaire business. Their free speech warrior, it seems, might simply be a billionaire who does not care one iota about the opinions of the poors.

Enjoy the misguided tears.

But if you were worried that the denizens of QAnon wouldn’t be able to connect the dots, here you go. WARNING: Your brain may melt due to the truth bomb being dropped!

Chef’s kiss, indeed.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Elon Musk

NPR Drops Twitter After State-Financed Musk Appends 'State-Affiliated' Label

National Public Radio has announced that it will suspend use of Twitter after platform owner Elon Musk inserted a tag last week falsely claiming that NPR was “U.S. state-affiliated media,” placing it in the same category as propaganda outlets like Russia’s RT or China’s Xinhua. NPR will not only stop posting updates to its existing main account, but will end posts to 51 other accounts that were specific to programs or areas of coverage.

The label was reportedly placed on NPR at the express order of Musk. Twitter’s own rules included text that explained why outlets such as RT, which serve as a mouthpiece for the Russian government, were labeled as “state media,” but NPR and the British Broadcasting Corporation did not have such labels because they had editorial independence. When this text was pointed out, Twitter responded by editing NPR out of the example, leaving only the BBC.

After an outcry from journalists and NPR listeners, Musk later changed the label on NPR to “Government-funded Media.” It then added the same label to BBC News. However, this ignores the fact that only 8% of NPR’s funding comes from the government in any form, and less than 1% comes from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That’s a much smaller percentage of government funding than many other companies receive—including Elon Musk’s own SpaceX and Tesla.

NPR is leaving it up to individual reporters to decide whether they continue on Twitter and says the network has enacted a “two week grace period” for employees to work out how they will handle social media. Some reporters, including Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman and tech reporter Bobby Allyn, have gone silent over the past two days, but not made any official announcement. Others, such as All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly, have said that they will remain on Twitter for now.

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.

We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence.” — Isabel Lara, NPR Chief Communications Officer

A letter from NPR management to staff warned that Twitter’s actions are meant to “tarnish the independence of any public media institution, are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.”

In past interviews, SpaceX officials have admitted that the company was at least 85 percent funded by the federal government in its early development. Despite a growing commercial presence, Payload Space shows that half of SpaceX’s launch revenue in 2022 still came from government flights, and that’s not counting additional multibillion dollar contracts SpaceX holds, including one to help develop a moon lander for NASA. That single contract is nine times larger than NPR’s total annual revenue, and almost 100 times as much as NPR’s government funding.

In 2021,Business Insider reported on how Musk was raking in billions in government subsidies at the same time he was vocally opposing higher taxes for the wealthy and complaining about government regulations on capital.The Los Angeles Timesestimated that Musk had swallowed up $4.9 billion in government support for Tesla and SpaceX by 2015. As one business analyst put it:

“He definitely goes where there is government money. That’s a great strategy.”

Somehow, this did not earn either of Musk’s companies a “government-funded” label.

As usual, efforts to solicit reasonable discussion from Musk—who on Monday relabeled his personal Twitter account as “Harry Bolz”—generated something less than rational discourse.The New York Times sent a question concerning the change in labeling for NPR, which “was returned with a poop emoji autoreply.”

Last December, Musk promised to abide by a poll in which Twitter users said they wanted someone else for CEO. Since then, Musk has limited polls to those who buy into his Twitter Blue monthly fee. There has been no mention of naming a new CEO since early February. On Monday, Musk declared that Twitter “no longer exists” as a company and is just one part of the “everything app” he calls ‘X.’

Also on Monday, Musk claimed that Twitter is now “roughly breaking even.” However, as noted by Forbes, the first earnings report posted under Musk’s control showed Twitter failing to meet targets and reporting higher than expected losses. In March,The Wall Street Journalreported that Twitter’s adjusted earnings at the end of 2022 were down by 40 percent when compared to the previous year after advertisers fled from Musk’s erratic comments and his restoration of accounts that have included white supremacists and those associated with the January 6 insurrection.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.