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Why the Legacy Media Is Panicked About Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover

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It has now been a week since Elon Musk took over Twitter, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth is still audible across the legacy media landscape. In one sense, that’s rather shocking: Why, precisely, should members of the media be so apoplectic about a billionaire taking over a social media company from other millionaires, pledging to loosen restrictions on dissemination of speech? In another sense, the outrage is perfectly predictable: The legacy media oligopoly is now under threat.

To understand the angst of the legacy media and the Democratic Party over Musk’s takeover of Twitter, it’s important to understand the oligopolistic history of legacy media dominance. Until the 1990s, virtually all Americans had to rely on just a few major legacy media sources: the three networks, The New York Times, WaPo and the like. A huge number of Americans relied on local newspapers, but these newspapers in turn relied on wire services like the Associated Press, AFP, Reuters or McClatchy.

This oligopoly meant both market share and control of the narrative.

The rise of the internet changed everything.

After Drudge Report broke former President Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, the nature of the media changed entirely. There had been hints of a brewing dissent in the works — talk radio, the rise of Fox News. But the internet shattered legacy media dominance entirely. People began diversifying their news diets en masse. The legacy media were suddenly being called out and fact-checked by outlets that people actually read.

In the early stages of the new media, people accessed their favorite websites directly. They bookmarked these sites, and they clicked on them each morning.

Then came major social media. Social media re-centralized the mechanisms of distribution for news. Instead of bookmarking 10 websites, for example, people followed 10 accounts on Twitter, or added them to their Facebook newsfeeds. This was highly convenient — and it was good for a lot of nonmainstream news outlets, who suddenly had access to billions of eyeballs. A thousand flowers bloomed.

And, for a time, there was stasis: Because Democrats maintained political control, these social media sites were praised for their free speech principles, and clever use of these services — a la the Obama campaign in 2012 — was considered good and worthy.

When former President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, however, legacy media outlets and the Democratic Party panicked. They thought they had forged an unbeatable electoral coalition; there was simply no way Hillary could have lost legitimately. Someone had to be blamed. The answer was obvious: right-wing “misinformation” and “disinformation,” spread by social media, was the culprit.

The legacy media and their Democratic friends now began to blame Facebook and Twitter. Pressure was put on the social media sites to stop acting as free platforms for dissemination of a broad variety of views; instead, the social media platforms — which had monopolized news traffic — could be used to reestablish Left-wing legacy media oligopoly. Pressure even came from the Department of Homeland Security, as The Intercept reported this week: DHS engaged in “an expansive effort… to influence tech platforms.”

“Misinformation” would be fought by shutting off the traffic spigots on non-legacy media; legacy media would be promoted and elevated. And because virtually all news traffic to sites now came through these social media sites, the oligopoly could once more take hold.

People were banned for saying the obvious: men were not women; mass masking was not an effective solution to COVID-19 transmission; vaccine mandates were ineffective because vaccines did not stop transmission; black Americans were not being systemically targeted by law enforcement based on race. By simply claiming victimhood, the Left leveraged social media into restricting the flow of information.

This is why Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter presents such a threat.

Musk will presumably again allow a thousand flowers to bloom. And the oligopoly can’t handle that, which is why they have declared all-out war on Musk.

But it won’t work. Because all he has to do is say no. We can only hope that other social media bosses follow Musk’s lead and find again the mission that led them to found their companies, rather than cowering in the corner at the behest of the Democratic-legacy media complex.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”

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Stephen Russell
1 month ago

2 shut down Legacy media & now lose Meta too

Mike Hall
1 month ago

Who listens to them, and why would you listen to liars? My dad asked me those questions 50years ago.

Bob
1 month ago

Listening to Sébastien Gorka yesterday, he made mention that Musk tweeted he is replacing his executives, but they are more or less liberals according to Gorka. Hopefully there will be a balanced attitude.

Jack Thomas
1 month ago

The so-called “Legacy Media” is only worried about Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter because they will no longer be able to control the narrative on its platform.

anna hubert
1 month ago

I would curb my expectations Elon Musk knows that he who wants to live with wolves must howl with them not too loud perhaps as the rest of the pack but still

Michael Lewis
1 month ago

 According to Shorty Chesser, in the 1940’s, if you wanted to get into politics, you thru your hat into the ring in church. If the hat came sailing back you should forget it. Then came Lyndon Baines Johnson’s law that scared many ministers from talking politics in Church. It was a shame, because we should want the same value systems in future politicians that we want in clergy selected to run churches.

Federal Campaign Laws did not come into existence because the electorate was outraged rather because liberal trust astroturf-campaigns (PEW) complained corporate money influenced and warped election outcomes.

As a result, Federal Campaign Laws regulated the right of flesh and blood citizen’s to exercise freedom of the press, while politicians cannot regulate how much media-corporations spend, because that would infringe on corporate 1st Amendment rights.

It is no surprise that media corporations, elevated to Pravda like royalty, have since towed the liberal Democrat Party line and woke corporate policy with spiked, overplayed or even made up coverage of politics.

Meanwhile, 230 provides similar cover to the censors working for social media giants.

After the coming Red Wave, “we the people” need to demand the Republicans address these unequal rights and censorship!

The media does lie, spike news stories that portray the left in a bad light, hype and distort news stories that portray conservatives in a bad light and censor conservative voices!

Robin W Boyd
1 month ago

If it didn’t affect the way MSM deceives based on its Progressive bias, MSM wouldn’t give the Twitter change the time of day. Musk is no conservative. He promises an unbiased Twitter that does not support any specific agenda, but rather allows free speech.

David Millikan
1 month ago

The FASCIST FAKE News CAN’T
CENSOR Twitter.
Thank you Elon Musk for bringing back our 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

Michael J
1 month ago

Pundits who have labeled free speach for hate speach is doing to themselves what Twitter did to others. By silencing themselves they’ve revealed it’s their way or no way. I for one find the return to dialog without 3rd party censorship refreshing and a step in the right direction.

Philip Hammersley
1 month ago

DIMMs hate free speech. That’s why they’ll shout down speakers on college campuses and interrupt Congressional and SCOTUS hearings. As long as they monopolize the conversation, they are happy.

PaulE
1 month ago

The threat by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is simply. It represents a break in the unified messaging and propaganda put forth by the left to the masses. In order to maximize the effect of mass propaganda to the masses, which is all the MSM is today, the message has to be unified and completely in sync down to the phraseology used by each source. No deviation of message or opportunity for alternative possibilities or ideas can be allowed to be presented, as it would potentially undercut the effectiveness of the propaganda being fed the masses.

The MSM in this country, now including FOX news after Murdock’s son took over a few years ago and began quickly moving the news division to largely mirror the views of the MSM, largely speaks in one voice and that voice is an echo chamber of Democrat Party talking points on virtually every issue. Any counterpoint fact or idea that is brought up is immediately shouted down by the unified MSM as either racist, somehow dangerous, MAGA terrorists spreading lies, etc., etc.. So the potential of Elon Musk changing Twitter from an echo chamber, spouting only the views of the left, to a more open and balanced platform where ideas might be openly discussed represents a HUGE threat to the left’s unified control of all major media outlets. Especially when you consider that the inside the beltway crowd in Washington relies on Twitter to validate every policy and position of the Democrats like a rubber stamp of approval that they reference daily in the MSM. With its world-wide reach, a more open and honest Twitter endangers the carefully crafted narrative the left has been cultivating for years about so many socialist policy issues. Thus potentially reaching billions of people around the world.

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