Elon Musk, Time magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year, is under attack. Why? Because he is bucking the liberal establishment and wants to make sure that you can too.
The FTC is reportedly reviewing Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, possibly setting up a lengthy investigation of potential anti-trust issues with the acquisition. A probe which could delay and possibly torch the deal if investors get nervous and withdraw their support.
We should have seen this coming. The Joe Biden White House – and their leftist allies in the media and the Democratic Party — will stop at nothing to prevent Musk’s takeover of the important social media site. Why? Because the billionaire entrepreneur advocates for free speech.
Their opposition tells us how extraordinarily threatened they are by dissenting opinion, and the vice-like grip they have over the flow of information in our country.
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For most Americans, this is shocking and unacceptable. Freedom of speech is one of the constitutionally-protected rights that have defined our country through the ages and distinguished it from totalitarian regimes like China and Russia. That we now have a government attempting to squash that right is horrifying.
Lest you think we’re exaggerating, recall that Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism bulletin in February highlighting possible dangers stemming from “domestic threat actors” disseminating “mis- dis- and mal-information” about “widespread election fraud and COVID-19.”
“Disinformation” that might include, for instance, evidence that Covid vaccines do not prevent people from becoming sick with the virus, contrary to Joe Biden’s promises, or that some shots carry risks – the kind of information that has gotten people banned from Twitter.
Or, consider the Disinformation Governance Board set up by DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas, a Soviet-sounding secretive agency apparently tasked with ferreting out controversial – read: non-conforming – speech. That the U.S. government would even contemplate such an Orwellian operation is frightening.
Consider the absurdity. Musk is CEO of three companies: Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company. Tesla makes electric cars, SpaceX sends rockets into space and the Boring Company offers an ingenious approach to digging tunnels under the ground. All three are brilliant commercial ventures; not one has anything to do with social media. There is no overlap with Twitter for the FTC to investigate.
Not true, says The Open Markets Institute (OMI), a political non-profit group that rants against business combinations. OMI issued a statement saying it “believes the [Musk} deal poses a number of immediate and direct threats to American democracy and free speech.”
They follow up that laugher (the best defense being a strong offense) by claiming “the deal violates existing law, and that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have ample authority to block it.”
The organization spills considerable ink justifying these claims, oddly invoking, among other precedents, the Telegraph acts of 1860 and 1866, which probably don’t have much to do with social media. Their claim that the FCC should shut the deal down has been described as “frivolous” by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who said “The FCC has no authority to block Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, and to suggest otherwise is absurd.”
As to the FTC, OMI suggests that SpaceX’ Starlink, a satellite communications system, is “one of the most important internet platforms in the world”, and that Musk having ties to both that entity and Twitter would be anti-competitive.
Where were these folks when Apple, Google and Amazon conspired to put right-wing platform Parler, a potential competitor, out of business?
Do not be fooled. None of the objections from OMI or any other left-leaning quarter is about anything but shutting down an organization that might dare to challenge liberal orthodoxy.
And… shutting down Elon Musk who, in the nick of time, has emerged as a fearless defender of free speech and who has the money to back up his ambitions.
It isn’t just the Joe Biden White House that is attacking Musk. The New York Times recently ran a ridiculous hit piece accusing Musk of racism because he grew up in South Africa, even though his father, as one observer noted, was an anti-apartheid politician and Elon emigrated to avoid serving in an apartheid army.
Liberal commentators are falling in line, embarrassing themselves by describing Musk as a Nazi or worse. Meanwhile, dozens of activist groups have called on some of America’s largest corporations to boycott Twitter if Musk indeed loosens the company’s content regulations.
All this because Twitter may become more open. Meanwhile, the current managers of the social media giant are doing their best to justify Musk’s takeover. No sooner was the entrepreneur’s deal announced that many right-leaning commentators and politicians found their Twitter presence exploding – Ron de Santis, Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson among the many enjoying a huge bounce in followers.
The sudden surge all but confirms suspicions that the company’s algorithms are tilted to favor liberal commentary. The only real surprise is that the gratifying shift is so obvious.
Elon Musk is famous for tweeting sometimes mystifying and occasionally prosaic messages. Just recently, he posted that “chocolate milk is insanely good…” The day before, he tweeted this: “If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowin ya”.
Does he consider his life at risk? Does he pose such a grave threat? Or is he just toying with his 92 million followers?
We have no idea. We do know this: Elon Musk who, not too long ago, was a liberal darling for putting electric vehicles on the map, has become the Left’s most despised man.
Just for championing free speech. That indeed could be dangerous.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.