The MRC Flips Over Elon Musk, Part 9: New Year, Same Musk-Fluffing
As the volume of "Twitter files" dwindled, the Media Research Center had to find new ways to promote Elon Musk's ambitions and massage his ego.
By Terry Krepel
The latest Twitter files show that the liberal media mafia, Democrat politicians and the intelligence community went on an apparent witch hunt to shut down Russian social media accounts, bringing Twitter to its knees and paving the way for the FBI to push Twitter to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.
If Taibbi is Musk's hand-picked journalist, he's not "independent." And Pariseau's description of outlets who don't peddle pro-Musk narratives as the " liberal media mafia" shows she's far from independent as well. Autumn Johnson served up more Taibbi stenography the next day:
A Tuesday evening “Twitter Files” drop revealed the censorship-obsessed Big Tech platform caved to pressure from Democrats and created a task force to investigate Russian “interference” in the 2016 election.
In a Jan. 6 post, Catherine Salgado expressed horror at the idea that Musk might be forced to address disinformation on Twitter:
Germany’s digital affairs minister claimed on Twitter that Elon Musk agreed to target “disinformation” on the platform, which would be problematic for free speech.
That statement, of course, is more of a restatement of a right-wing narrative than verified fact. Salgado didn't explain why she doesn't believe that disinformation on social media should be allowed to spread unchecked.
An anonymously written Jan. 9 post detailed how the MRC and its fellow right-wing Musk fanboys are requesting a meeting with their idol:
Dozens of members of the Free Speech Alliance sent a letter to Twitter owner Elon Musk requesting for him to meet with conservative leaders to discuss methods to promote free speech on the Big Tech platform following years of massive censorship. The Media Research Center's CensorTrack database has currently logged over 4,800 cases of censorship across a litany of Big Tech platforms, and cases from Twitter make up over 55 percent of that number.
The CensorTrack database is a partisan tool, not a legitimate research database, because it excludes anything that doesn't advance the right-wing "censorship" narrative. Meanwhile, the same day, Salgado served up another dose of Musk stenography:
A Pfizer director pushed Twitter to censor critics of COVID-19 vaccines while denying his actions, according to the most recent Twitter Files drop.
Salgado didn't mention that Berenson is a notorious COVID misinformer -- which means Musk further showed his partisan agenda by choosing Berenson for this selective document. Needless to say, the MRC has previously bestowed victimhood on Berenson after being held accountable for his misinformation.
Salgado (and Musk) merged the "Twitter files" with another right-wing narrative in a Jan. 12 post:
Democrats pushed Twitter to support the Russia-Trump collusion hoax without evidence, as per the revelations in Thursday's newest batch of Twitter Files.
Actually, Salgado is the liar here. There was, in fact, plenty of evidence to warrant an investigation into Trump's Russia connections and contacts.
Meanwhile, the MRC was silent about how NBC News found that child sexual abuse content continues to be prevalent on Twitter despite Musk's vow to fight child exploitation on the platform. Twitter did block the related hashtags after the story went public.
A Jan. 16 post by Salgado declared that "The latest Twitter Files showed Big Pharma 'directly' pressured Twitter to help censor users offering any alternative treatments to COVID-19 besides Big Pharma’s vaccines." Salgado didn't mention that "alternative treatments" like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin don't really work in treating COVID.
After that was a bit of a fallow period. Even without any new selectively released "Twitter files" to promote, the MRC's Elon Musk stenography continued with Gabriela Pariseau being stuck summarizing previous releases in a Jan. 16 post:
The Twitter Files have uncovered the internal mess that Twitter has become over the last six years as the company has interfered in American elections, directly colluded with federal government agencies and censored Americans.
Neither Bozell, Pariseau nor the rest of the MRC has ever questioned why nearly all the files Musk has selectively release conveniently advance right-wing narratives against "big tech," or why Musk doesn't give those "Twitter files" to journalists who aren't right-wingers -- they're just happy to be subservient to Musk and advance those narratives.
The next day, Autumn Johnson cheered that a class-action lawsuit by former Twitter employees was dismissed, supporting the idea they deserve to have to be forced to go through arbitration:
A federal court judge ruled on Friday that five former Twitter employees from the old censorship-obsessed regime must pursue their claims against the company in arbitration.
Geoffrey Dickens served up yet another complaint that non-right-wing media are not obsessing about this right-wing-bubble story:
The bombshells from the Twitter files keep on coming, yet the liberal media elite keep ignoring them. Last month when Tesla founder and Twitter owner Elon Musk began tweeting out former Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi’s explosive reporting on how Twitter (under pressure from government agents) suppressed the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story in the final days before the election.
Note how Dickens describes Taibbi as a "former Rolling Stone editor" in an attempt to create some sort of mainstream credibility for him, even though any association with Rolling Stone -- as well as his history of being a sexist creep -- would be mentioned only in a disparaging way if Musk ever allowed him to report on "Twitter files" that didn't advance right-wing narratives. (Also, Musk was not the founder of Tesla.)
Johnson had more pro-Musk stenography to crank out, this time in the service of bashing an organization of "elitists":
Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger said Tuesday that Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is a significant obstacle to the radical World Economic Forum’s agenda.
Pro tip for Johnson: If Schellenberger is Elon Musk's errand boy and running to right-wing radio hosts to uncritically repeat those errands in a forum where he knows he will get only softballs and will not be seriously challenged, he's not an "independent journalist."
P.J. Gladnick spent a Jan. 19 post raging that someone said something less than laudatory about Musk:
On Tuesday, New York magazine published a looooooong hit piece on what a horrible boss Elon Musk supposedly is at Twitter yet the biggest revelation was its admission that it favors censorship. This admission by the authors Zoë Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath appeared in "Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the platform against impulsive ranting billionaires then one made himself the CEO."
When the article pointed out Musk's tyrannical treatment of Twitter employees, Gladnick huffed in response: "Psst! It's a private company owned by Elon Musk. A lot of bosses have rules for the office that have nothing to do in relation to how it treats the customers or, in this case, the Twitter users." We don't recall anyone at the MRC offering the "it's a private company" defense to Twitter before Musk bought it.
Gladnick even defended Musk and his lackey Taibbi publishing the names and emails of now-former employees involved in communications with government officials as part of the "Twitter files" releases, which resulted in harassment and abuse targeting them: "The names but not the homes or phone numbers were revealed. Hardly the doxxing as practiced by Taylor Lorenz." In fact, as we've documented, Lorenz identified the operator of the hate site Libs of TikTok, Chaya Raichik, through publicly available information, and only briefly linked to her real estate license that included an address and employer, which was also publicly available. Gladnick didn't explain why such publicly available information was off limits.
The Musk-fluffing continued with a Jan. 20 post by Paetin Iselin hyping how "JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon dealt leftists a dose of energy infrastructure reality" by noting that the world's oil and gas usage will not stop immediately and that "Billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined the conversation in support of Dimon." Johnson used a Jan. 27 post to dutifully parrot a new selective release of "Twitter files" given to Musk's hand-picked journalists:
New Twitter Files show the pre-Musk, pro-censorship Twitter regime lacked “the guts to out” a watchdog group with ties to government officials that falsely labeled American accounts “Russian bots.”
But as right-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting noted but Johnson wouldn't, the Alliance for Securing Democracy responded to Taibbi's (and, thus, Musk's) attacks on Hamilton 68, pointing out that it worked with right-wing websites like the Daily Caller to provide context -- namely, that it wasn't exclusively tracking Russian bots:
The ASD claims “members of the media, pundits and even some lawmakers often failed to include the appropriate context when using the dashboard’s data, despite ASD experts’ extensive efforts to correct misconceptions at the time.”
After that, there was another fallow period without new "Twitter files" to promote, so the MRC was reduced to lashing out at anyone who dared criticize Musk. P.J. Gladnick groused in a Feb. 5 post that a Politico article on Europe unifying against Russia in which "revelations about Twitter are transformed into just another rant against Elon Musk's takeover"-- that is, it pointed out Musk's pro-Putin leanings and how Twitter service in Ukraine has degraded during the Russian invasion. Ultimately, of course, Gladnick is mad that Politico wouldn't parrot the right-wing pro-Musk narrative: "Sniff! Gone are the glorious days of the FBI censors behind the scenes at Twitter, tragically replaced by someone who promotes the free speech that seems to be so despised by Politico and its fellow liberals. Goodbye cruel world!"
A Feb. 7 post by Renata Kiss hyped podcaster Joe Rogan complaining that the "Twitter files" haven't gotten traction outside the right-wing media bubble and insisted that the story "as big a scandal as Watergate," going on to note that "YouTube even censored Rogan’s interview with Dr. Peter McCullough, a consultant cardiologist, for his criticism of the COVID-19 vaccines." Actually, that interview was filled with COVID misinformation, but the MRC defended him anyway.
Another post that day from Iselin expressed horror that Twitter "censored" a photo of a Republican senator posing with a dead animal he apparently shot, but praised Musk for fixing the situation:
On Tuesday, Twitter restricted Senator Steve Daines’s (R-MT) account when he shared a photo of himself and his wife antelope hunting something he called their “Montana way of life.”
Note that Iselin only euphemistically described the photo as on involving "hunting" and didn't describe what it actually depicted, which was Daines posing with a dead animal.
But you didn't read about any of this at the MRC because it remains a group of Musk fanboys and his PR operation. A Feb. 10 post by Catherine Salgado cheerily touted a far-right congresswoman naming a bill based on the selectively released "Twitter files" after Musk:
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) issued a press release on Thursday announcing that she introduced the Exposing Lewd Outlays for Social Networking Companies Act, or the ELON Act, to audit Big Tech’s collusion with the government to censor Americans. The ELON Act also puts a year’s moratorium on FBI payments to tech companies.
Renata Kiss quoted Musk-fluffing from others in a Feb. 14 post:
Renowned podcast host Joe Rogan and Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi hashed out Elon Musk’s quirky business strategy at Twitter that ticked off many on the left.
Kiss added that "Joe Rogan has been adamant about the liberal media’s silence over The Twitter Files, which he equated with a Watergate level scandal on a previous episode" -- which, of course, the MRC previously hyped.
The next day, Kiss cheered Musk's recitation of right-wing talking points:
Elon Musk says Big Tech oligarchs in San Francisco shouldn’t impose their values on the world for the sake of the future of our civilization.
Needless to say, none of these posts mentioned Musk's own elitism in demanding that everyone see his tweets whether they want to or not. Meanwhile, Autumn Johnson had a new "Twitter files" drop to uncritically promote in a Feb. 20 post:
The latest drop of Twitter Files shows that a United States senator's campaign director pressured the company to target his political opponents.
But as Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall pointed out, King flagged both conservative and liberal accounts that were considered suspicious -- but Taibbi wrote only about the conservative ones. Taibbi effectively confirmed his laziness in a later tweet. Johnson never updated her post to note the whole story -- she seems not to understand that if all Taibbi is doing is serving as a servile stenographer for Musk, he's not an "independent journalist."
Instead, the Musk-fluffing continued in a post the same day by Joseph Vazquez:
It appears the liberal media doomsaying over how Twitter owner Elon Musk was supposedly going to make the company implode by cutting the old regime’s censorship-obsessed workforce in half was nothing but noise. And even a Washington Post columnist had to eat crow.
But it turns out that Vazquez's serving of crow to McArdle was a bit premature: Twitter suffered a severe outage a couple weeks later, which was described as "the second Twitter glitch in less than a week and the third in under a month."
A Feb. 22 post by Salgado complained that others engage in the same type of activism against Musk that the MRC does against "liberal media":
Leftist billionaire and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is bankrolling a sketchy “dark-money group” that is pushing a corporate boycott campaign against Twitter owner Elon Musk.
Salgado did not disclose which shadowy right-wing billionaires pay her to defend Musk.