There Is No Free Speech When The Media Is Owned By Billionaires

Before there was Fox News…

If there is a how-to for fascism (and there very well might be!) one of the first steps is to discredit/control/crush the media. We certainly saw in in Nazi Germany, Hair Füror’s 4th Reich (Fake News!!1!), and now Space Karen’s Twitter:

Twitter suspended the accounts of more than half a dozen journalists from CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets Thursday evening, as company owner Elon Musk accused the reporters of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family.

The Post has seen no evidence that any of the reporters did so.

Oh, the reporters?

  • WaPo technology reporter Drew Harwell
  • NYTimes technology reporter Ryan Mac
  • CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan
  • Mashable reporter Matt Binder
  • Independent journalist Tony Webster
  • [former] MSNBC host Keith Olbermann
  • Intercept reporter Micah Lee
  • Voice of America’s chief national correspondent Steve Herman
  • Substack writer Aaron Rupar

Rupar writes at his Public Notice (full disclosure, I’m a paid subscriber):

I have no idea what rules I purportedly broke. I haven’t heard anything from Twitter at all. I did publish a newsletter Wednesday morning featuring an article from Noah Berlatsky about Elon Musk’s reactionary populism. I also posted a tweet late last night noting that Musk seemed to violate Twitter’s policy against posting footage of someone without their consent in a tweet he posted yesterday. But it’s hard to imagine how either of those things violated Twitter’s policies.

I have spent more than five years painstakingly documenting major developments in US politics on Twitter with video, so losing that archive instantaneously and for no good reason is a bummer. And as an independent journalist running a newsletter business who relies on Twitter for new subscribers, being stripped of a huge part of my audience hurts.

It is really clear that there is no free speech when the media is owned by billionaires. This is true whether we are talking about Rupert Murdoch, the Sulzberger Family, Faceberg, or Space Karen. We have a captured press problem, we need a solution.

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6 Responses to There Is No Free Speech When The Media Is Owned By Billionaires

  1. It was ever thus.

    William Randolph Hearst stampeded the United States into a war against Spain with his newspaper empire.

    “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Osirisopto says:

    Are you sure Elmo is still a billionaire?

    Liked by 1 person

    • MDavis says:

      Musk’s net worth dropped to around $181.3 billion.

      From Axios, “Elon Musk no longer in top spot on Forbes’ real-time billionaires list”
      This kind of money is difficult to fritter away. It’s the territory where one can say “a million here, a million there, pretty soon it starts adding up to real money” and then you find out the speaker is being snarky because a million is like a penny.
      See “Brewster’s Millions” for a whole movie about trying to piss serious money away.


  3. Ten Bears says:

    I have spent more than five years painstakingly … I have spent fifteen years telling you this isn’t your friend. That when you post that stuff you’re giving it away, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It doesn’t matter the circumstances of the plug getting pulled, it was inevitable. What matters is you took the easy way out and now it’s biting you on the ass.

    Same thing with Zuckerberg’s Famous Pig, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. You gave it away, along with a plethora of other personal information, to everyone from advertisers to zoe ze dong.

    I’m not inclined to sympathy; you should have backed that stuff up somewhere else.


    • MDavis says:

      He totally should have had that stuff stored on his own devices. I don’t understand how he could consider a public bulletin board a safe place to stash anything.


  4. paul fredine says:

    reporters bad but anti-vaxers, election-deniers and insurrection supporters good. go figure.


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