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The MRC Flips Over Elon Musk, Part 21: Burying The (Very Recent) Past

The Media Research Center insisted on talking about anything but Elon Musk's embrace of an anti-Semitic smear -- while hurling a Nazi smear at a critic of how Musk has run Twitter/X.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/15/2024

Media Research Center no longer wants to talk about Elon Musk’s anti-Semitic leanings, or his subsequent vulgar attack on advertisers who don’t like their ads on Twitter (well, X) showing up next to neo-Nazi content, or his many other controversies. On that last point, Clay Waters spent a Dec. 3 post lashing out at a news report that did outline Musk's missteps:
The liberal media knives are out for entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has been steering the liberal-dominated blue-check bastion social media platform formerly known as Twitter toward free speech and increased diversity of opinion since taking it over a year ago. Thursday’s edition of the PBS NewsHour devoted almost six minutes to attacking the space and technology impresario.

The conversation between National Public Radio’s tech reporter Bobby Allyn and PBS host Geoff Bennett was keyed to a threatened “advertising freeze” from virtual-signaling corporate entities like Disney and Apple, after controversy over a Musk reply to a tweet on X that was perceived as anti-Semitic (and which he later apologized for), and Musk’s vulgarity-laden response to his corporate critics at a New York Times-hosted business conference.

“Increasingly unhinged” was the descriptor bestowed on Musk by Allyn, who pitched a tantrum against Musk on Twitter earlier this year. His employer NPR left the platform in a huff over Musk labeling it “US state-affiliated media.”

The two tax-funded journalists engaged in performative offense-taking against Musk’s F-bombs, practically panting that the outburst would mark the beginning of Musk’s long-awaited downfall (and presumably flock to Mastodon or Threads, two would-be Twitter replacements everyone’s already forgotten about).

In fact, that tweet wasn’t just “perceived as anti-Semitic” — it actually was anti-Semitic — and Musk didn’t merely “reply” to the tweet, he endorsed his message by calling it “the actual truth.” And it wasn’t until more than two weeks later, during the same event at which he lashed out at his advertisers, that he bothered to offer some sort of apology; that endorsement tweet remains live as of this writing, suggesting that his so-called apology wasn’t terribly sincere. Waters seems to have forgotten that Musk’s labeling of NPR’s feed was completely arbitrary and violated Twitter’s own labeling standards, falsely likening it to propagandistic state-controlled media organizations in other countries, and the move backfired so badly that Musk dropped all labeling of “state-affiliated media” feeds on Twitter.

Waters didn’t actually rebut anything Bennett and Allyn said about Musk, instead whining that “Bennett relegated Musk’s ambitious technological achievements, which the Biden Administration is depending on, as quasi-blackmail material stored up by Musk” and that “Allyn also portrayed Musk as a mad scientist with his hooks into the power structure.”

The MRC kept up its sycophancy with a Dec. 4 tweet thanking Musk for the “Twitter files,” which are nothing but cherry-picked documents selectively given to journalists hand-picked by Musk to sycophantically write about them.

A Dec. 8 post by Luis Cornelio served up more Musk sycophancy:

Facebook and Instagram are under legal scrutiny stemming from a lawsuit filed by New Mexico, accusing the companies of inexplicably facilitating “prime locations” of child sex abuse content—and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk is blasting the inexplicable silence from advertising companies that have boycotted ads on X over accusations of anti-Semitism.

The disturbing allegations, brought forth by New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez, accused the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media platforms of turning a blind eye to the spread of sexual content involving sexual “coercion” of children, through “prostitution” and/or the “sale of [Child Sexual Abuse Material].” Specifically, the attorney general’s office alleged that Facebook and Instagram “served” streams of “sexually explicit images” to children and reportedly “enabled” adults to “find, message, and groom minors, soliciting them to sell pictures or participate in pornographic videos.”

Musk pressed Disney CEO Bob Iger on whether Disney would pull ads from the Meta-owned platforms. Notably, Iger in recent weeks pulled ads from X over dubious accusations that Musk’s platform placed ads near or next to racist and anti-semitic content. “Why no advertiser boycott, Bob Iger [sic]? You are endorsing this material!” Musk wrote in a fired-up X post. In a follow-up post, Musk added, “[W]hy do their Chief Marketing Officers endorse child trafficking!? Let’s ask them.”

Musk’s criticism came in response to Disney’s decision to pull ads from X after the release of a dubious report accusing the platform of placing ads near or next to alleged anti-Semitic or racist posts. Musk then took legal action.

Seemingly without questioning the evidence, notable companies such as Apple and Disney quickly pulled ads. However, neither company has yet decided to take similar action following the new accusations from the New Mexico attorney general.

Actually, the evidence that Musk did this is pretty clear. But Cornelio is falling into the MRC pattern of refusing to acknowledge that this evidence was gathered by Media Matters, the MRC’s more liberal watchdog rival. Cornelio merely stated that Musk “took legal action” but not against who, and he didn’t explain why anyone should be “questioning the evidence” when it’s so well documented.

Christian Toto similarly defended Musk in his Dec. 9 column:

Plus, Disney recently yanked advertising from X, Elon Musk’s free speech friendlier version of Twitter.

That’s an overtly political move. 

Musk is a left-leaning soul, but he’s been drifting to the Right given the Left’s quest to silence free speech. Iger’s Disney followed a false narrative that Musk is an anti-semite and pulled ads from the platform in response.

Meanwhile, TikTok promotes Osama bin Laden’s rhetoric and other social media giants teem with hateful content.

Why single out X?

We know why. Iger and co. haven’t gotten politics out of their system yet. Talk is talk until we see real action behind it. The ball’s in your court, Mr. Iger.

It’s almost cute how Toto pretends Musk is “left-leaning” despite all the evidence to the contrary. He also failed to offer any evidence that Musk’s anti-Semitic leaning is a “false narrative.”

Meanwhile, the MRC will, however, complain at length about John Oliver saying mean things about Musk. Tom Olohan was stuck with that duty in a Dec. 19 post:

Oliver engaged in fear-mongering about Musk’s management of X (formerly Twitter) after referring to Musk as a “less f*ckable reimagining of Billy Zane’s character from the Titanic” during the Dec. 17 edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The leftist comedian went out of his way to minimize the actions of the censorship regime that preceded Musk’s purchase of X, insisting that they were merely “struggling with the impossible job of content moderation” rather than conspiring to censor conservatives.

In the same monologue, Oliver whined about the dissolution of Twitter’s infamous “Trust and Safety” council, while ignoring the suspension of accounts such as The Babylon Bee for acknowledging biological reality and scathing scandals like the suppression of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Instead, Oliver suggested that the authors of these authoritarian decisions had been too lenient and panned The Twitter Files that exposed them.

Yes, Olohan is trying to reframe right-wing transphobia as “acknowledging biological reality.” And as we’ve noted, the New York Post offered no independent verification of its Hunter Biden laptop story when it was released, so there was good reason to take caution in promoting it given the Post’s status as a pro-Trump shill. Olohan further cheered that Musk is letting anti-transgender hate spread on Twitter:

Oliver did not mention most prominent accounts censored before Musk bought the platform but resigned himself to attacking Musk for restoring podcast host Alex Jones and “white supremacists” to the platform.

Since Oliver insisted that there was no conspiracy to silence conservatives, he completely ignored the censorship of biological reality before Elon Musk changed the platform’s rules to allow “deadnaming” and “misgendering.” Nevertheless, Oliver ranted that a “transphobic documentary” — What Is a Woman? — was promoted by Musk on the platform.

Olohan whined further about Oliver’s tweak of Musk:

Earlier in Oliver’s obsessive monologue, he mocked Musk for the outfits he wears to events, calling Musk a “less f***able reimagining of Billy Zane’s character from the Titanic.” 

NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham delivered a broadside against Oliver for this attack: “John Oliver is just gross. “F—able” is vulgar and dehumanizing, and if he thinks he fits that word, he’s delusional.”

And, really, that’s it — those are the only two things that really bothered Olohan out of a 27-minute-long segment. He made no mention of other things Oliver brought up, such as how anti-Semitism has grown on Twitter since Musk’s takeover, Musk’s firing of most Twitter employees with an emphasis on getting rid of anyone who has criticized him, and his concluding comment that Musk is “a guy who was so desperate to be perceived as cool and funny on the internet, that he paid $44 billion to make it happen, only to discover that he still somehow couldn’t afford it.”

Then again, Musk was still reportedly seething over Oliver’s takedown of him, so Olohan's post comes off as damage control for Musk -- and the fact that he rather whine that a comedian made fun of Musk than engage in any serious discussion about how he’s mismanaging Twitter (well, X). Thus, you’ll hear no mention from Olohan or anyone else at the MRC over these recent controversies:

  • His attempt to engage in image rehab after his anti-Semitic turn (which, again, the MRC couldn’t be bothered to criticize despite its normally strong stance against anti-Semitism) by meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • He tweeted a meme supporting the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, though he was sufficiently shamed online that he eventually deleted it.
  • When Musk’s claim of a journalist being allegedly tortured in a Ukrainian prison was debunked — because the guy is actually an online dating coach who was arrested in Ukraine for spreading Russian propaganda — Musk raged about the Community Notes system that he introduced on his own website when it pointed out his falsehoods. He has a history of deleting Community Notes that correct his false or misleading tweets.
  • Musk not only restored the account of discredited conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, he appeared in an audio chat with Jones (along with Vivek Ramaswamy).

Despite all of that, the MRC still insists on working as Musk’s PR shop. Thus, we have things like a Dec. 13 post by Catherine Salgado hyping another Musk-fluffer:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) denounced multiple brands that pulled their advertising from X, but have refused to address the national security risks of Chinese-owned TikTok.

Rubio issued a press release announcing he sent letters to 18 companies that were too squeamish to advertise on Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter), but remain active on TikTok, which has Chinese Communist government ties. “I am appalled by the double standard of boycotting an American social-media application while maintaining a presence on a social-media application controlled by America’s greatest adversary,” Rubio wrote in the letter. He pointed out the biased censorship and prolific pro-terrorist content on TikTok, along with its ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government through its parent company, ByteDance. As the senator noted, China’s national security laws require all companies to share data with the government.

Salgado made sure not to bring up the fact that anti-Semitic content on Twitter and from its owner — and that ads are being placed next to such content — are the main reasons companies are fleeing from the platform.

It was Tom Olohan’s turn to engage in Musk toadyism in a Dec. 21 post:

Independent journalist Tucker Carlson made clear that any chance of a free and fair election in 2024 rests on keeping Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) platform free of censorship. 

When entrepreneur and tech investor David Sacks suggested to Carlson that the media would put Biden “over the top” in the 2024 election, Carlson pointed out that there is one large gap in the leftist monopoly on media and social media. On the Dec. 1 edition of All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg, Carlson responded, “Assuming that we have the same media that we had in 2020, that’s true. But that’s why you just gotta pray every night for Elon’s health.” He added, “I mean it, too. I mean it. [X is] the only platform at scale in the world that’s pretty — there’s censorship on it — but there’s not mass censorship actually, there isn’t and that’s the only platform of its kind, at scale, that’s the only one.”

Throughout the episode, Carlson continued to defend Musk, including by mocking CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin as a “fussy little douche” for his behavior during a since-viral interview with Musk. During this interview, Sorkin pressed Musk on his response to an anti-free speech advertiser boycott, but struggled to respond after Musk told anyone pressuring him to “go f*** yourself.”

First, the idea that a right-wing conspiracy-mongerer like Carlson should be considered an “independent journalist” — as Olohan apparently wants us to believe — is laughable. Second, Olohan failed to disclose that Sacks is a longtime Musk booster and part of his team of “yes men” to help Musk run Twitter following his takeover, so he’s not exactly offering unbiased analysis. Third, Olohan, like Salgado, failed to mention that anti-Semitic conduct on Twitter and by Musk is what’s causing advertisers to flee, not an “anti-free speech advertiser boycott”; of course, then he would have to explain how anti-Semitism must be considered “free speech.”

Rather than engage in honest reporting, Olohan chose to fluff Carlson some more:

Earlier in the podcast, Carlson cited Musk’s professed commitment to protect free speech on X as a potential reason behind the desire to bring more censorship to the Musk-owned platform. Tucker also pointed out that there are relatively few large media outlets, such as the three big broadcast channels and three large cable networks, presumably CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. He added that social media is dominated by a few giants “and they were all locked down.” 

Carlson went on to mention that even his own former employer tried to control what information Americans could access, adding, “I’m not going to beat up on Fox News but there was kind of a fairly narrow band of acceptable views allowed on that channel. Is that control? Yes, it is. And so there really was no remaining place with scale where someone with a dissenting view could give it voice and that’s just crazy.”

This, Carlson explained, made him greatly appreciate Musk’s social media platform.

Olohan didn’t mention that Fox News got busted for lying to its viewers about election fraud, which tells us that the range of “acceptable views” on the channel is not as narrow as Carlson and Olohan want you to believe.

Jorge Bonilla similarly tried to suggest that hate is “free speech” in a Dec. 31 post:

During a year-end wrapup segment on Face The Nation, CBS Senior Business and Technology Correspondent Jo-Ling Kent lamented that “the arguments and protections of free speech” prevent social media companies from engaging in further censorship and viewpoint suppression. Additionally, Kent took a shot at Elon Musk for his free speech reforms at X, formerly known as Twitter.

Watch as Kent also bemoans Musk’s gutting of the fed-embedded Twitter Trust and Safety Team, as aired on CBS Face The Nation on Sunday, December 31st, 2023:


The giveaway here is the intentional singling out of Elon Musk’s reforms at X. Kent cites the recently reinstated Alex Jones as a “conspiracy theorist” platformed by Musk- but conveniently leaves out those who were suspended but proven right over time, such as vaccine skeptics Robert Malone and Alex Berenson, and the continued platforming of Libs of Tik Tok despite the left’s repeated cancellation efforts.

Both Malone and Berenson are proven liars and misinformers who have not, in fact, been “proven right over time.” And privately run social media platforms have every right to remove the accounts of those who promote hate, lies and misinformation.

Nazi smear of Musk critic

Despite its self-proclaimed hatred of Nazi analogies, the MRC has no problem busting them out when doing so suits its partisan agenda. Thus, Catherine Salgado hauled out the “digital brownshirts” smear yet again for a Musk critic and target in a Jan. 3 post:

The anti-free speech Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has a slew of plans to crush speech in the new year.

CCDH, which has a long history of pressuring tech companies and government officials to silence conservative voices (including the Media Research Center), is not taking a break. It published its goals for 2024 on Tuesday, which included a plan to fight the lawsuit X owner Elon Musk’s has launched against the anti-free speech group and flagging alleged “disinformation” and “hate speech” for censorship going into the 2024 U.S. election. CCDH also boasted about its role in the passage of European pro-censorship legislation. The group has shown such a disdain for free speech that MRC President and Founder Brent Bozell previously called the non-profit “digital brownshirts.”

According to the new release, CCDH has many plans this year, which include “Producing brand new groundbreaking research on public health, kids, climate denial, reproductive rights, and of course countering hate speech and disinformation amid elections everywhere.” This appears to describe a goal to interfere in the election, along with CCDH’s usual radical pro-abortion and climate alarmist agenda.

Salgado offered no meaningful evidence that any of those positions are “radical.” In whining about it being “climate alarmist,” she simply linked to the group’s 2021 report listing right-wing climate deniers — a list that happens to include the MRC, which of course loudly whined about being included in the report while failing to substantively refute anything the CCDH said about it.

She also complained that the CCDH would fight the lawsuit Elon Musk has filed against it for exposing the hate and lies spread on Twitter/X:

The CCDH also vowed it would “Keep fighting back against Elon Musk’s X Corp ridiculous lawsuit against us.” Musk launched the so-called “ridiculous” lawsuit arguing that CCDH has falsely accused X of promoting hate speech and attempting to sabotage free speech.

Nonetheless, the group accused Musk of profiting off “the hateful anti-LGBTQ+ grooming narrative” and other supposed “hate and misinformation.”
Salgado did not explain how any of the things CCDH is fighting do not qualify as “hate and disinformation,” nor did she offer any evidence that trying to stop hate and disinformation is “censorship.” Instead, she whined that “While CCDH also tried to claim positive goals such as protecting teens and children online, the group’s track record shows blatant leftist bias trying to undermine free speech and enforce a certain ideology.” Again, she didn’t explain how fighting hate and disinformation is an “ideology,” or why her own efforts to smear anyone trying to stop hate and disinformation as “censors” is not part of her own right-wing ideology.

And, of course, Salgado refused to justify her “digital brownshirts” smear in the face of her employer denouncing such Nazi insults — which leaves the possibility that the MRC remains petulantly butthurt that the CCDH called out its misinformation.

Speaking of hypocrisy, Nicholas Fondacaro hypocritically played it in a Jan. 9 post:

He’s back!

On Tuesday, ousted CNN host Don Lemon announced that he would be attempting to break out of his newfound obscurity and irrelevance with a new show on X (formerly Twitter). The X Business account also said that in addition to Lemon, former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and veteran sports commentator Jim Rome would also be getting shows. But Lemon’s willingness to jump at a new gig on X had a strong dose of hypocrisy since he’s previously been very critical of the platform and owner Elon Musk.

“I’ve heard you... and today I am back bigger, bolder, freer! My new media company’s first project is The Don Lemon Show. It will be available to everyone, easily, whenever and wherever you want it, streaming on the platforms where the conversations are happening,” he boasted in a post.


But Lemon’s excitement for his new show on X was steeped in hypocrisy seeing as, during his time at CNN, he had flaunted an obvious disdain for the platform and its new owner.

In December of 2022, Lemon had a bit of a meltdown when then-Twitter banned a handful of far-left journalists after they doxxed Musk’s location by sharing the location and traveling information of his private jet. Lemon described the punitive actions the platform undertook as “madness” and “crazy.”

Lemon also didn’t seem to think the platform was a bastion of free speech at the time, asking: “Is it a free speech issue or is Elon Musk just on a power trip right now?”

Of course, Musk was and is on a power trip. Meanwhile, being the liar that he is, Fondacaro couldn’t be bothered to justify his claim that any of the reporters were “far-left”– they actually all worked for mainstream media operations — and he didn’t disclose that the creator of the jet-tracking account was a fan of Musk who used publicly available information to track his jet. Fondacaro also censored the fact that Musk reneged on his own promise to leave the tracking account alone — so much for Musk’s dedication to “free speech.” Fondacaro also didn’t mention that Musk reportedly paid Lemon “a pile of money” upfront for the privilege of X hosting his show.

Given Musk’s longtime enthusiasm for suspending (or shadowbanning) the Twitter/X accounts of any journalists who don’t fawn over him the way the MRC does, he appears to be the hypocritical one for giving Lemon a platform. But Fondacaro isn’t going to mention that either — or that he and his employer would be more than happy to censor Lemon and for Musk to ultimately deny him a platform.

Cheering Musk's talking points

Meanwhile, more less-than-good things were happening in the world of Elon Musk and Twitter (well, X) that the MRC doesn’t want to talk about?

  • The AI chatbot Musk launched in X, Grok, is purportedly “anti-woke,” but it endorses diversity, thinks Musk should treat his employees better and admitted that he promoted hate speech by endorsing an anti-Semitic tweet.
  • Politicians are calling Musk out for blaming Tesla drivers for things that go wrong with Teslas that are actually Tesla’s fault.
  • After an incoherent and erratic performance during a Tesla board meeting, Musk tried to deny he was on drugs (despite his history of using same).
  • Musk had another round of suspending the Twitter accounts of people who have criticized him and fellow billionaire Bill Ackman. Most of the accounts were restored after enough people complained.
  • Musk pushed the racist idea that an incident in which a door fell off a Boeing aircraft during flight was caused by diversity efforts at the company.

The MRC did, however, cheer Musk endorsing right-wing talking points. Tierin-Rose Mandelburg gushed in a Jan. 18 post:

In a nation and specifically a city that makes it their goal to kill babies through abortion, this is iconic.

The pro-life diaper brand EveryLife set up a billboard ad in Times Square recently that read “Make More Babies.” To be even more savage, the company used one of Elon Musk’s tweets that read, “Having children is saving the world.” Though Musk didn’t have anything to do with the collaboration for the billboard, he, along with many others, endorsed the message. 

Truly iconic marketing right here.

The ad ran for 30 minutes straight on Wednesday and is scheduled to be displayed sporadically throughout the rest of the week and weekend.


In response to seeing the billboard, Twitter CEO Elon Musk said, “I had nothing to do with this billboard, but I definitely endorse the message!”

His response gained tons of users’ and outlets’ support.

Mandelburg didn’t mention that Musk has 11 children by at least three different women — or that, as a very rich dude, Musk can afford to do so. Some of those children were conceived using IVF, which some right-wingers do not approve of.

A Jan. 23 post by Tom Olohan touted Musk spouting more right-wing talking points:

X owner Elon Musk made clear that the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda is a source of hatred and racism. 

During a conversation with The Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro at the January 2024 European Jewish Association Delegation to Auschwitz, Musk connected anti-Semitic campus protests to DEI initiatives. Musk told Shapiro that diversity, equity, and inclusion “all sound like nice words, but what it really means is discrimination on the basis of race, sex and sexual orientation and it’s against merit and thus I think it’s fundamentally anti-Semitic.”

Earlier in the discussion, Shapiro went after the “conspiracy theory about power” that underlies anti-Semitism and the DEI agenda: the demonization of a group as an “oppressor class” over the rest of society. Shapiro called this conspiracy theory “really ugly” and added that he saw “echoes” of this theory in the present. “We see the diversity equity and inclusion ideology that basically suggests that all of society is a vast pyramid of group identity and that at the very top are the people who are successful and that those people are exploiting everybody else,” Shapiro said. “You can tell who is successful by their group identity not by their level of success, by their group identity. That matches up incredibly, that syncs up almost a Venn diagram circle with anti-Semitism.”


Musk panned the absurdity of coddling people who want “to kill you.” He added, “I’m a great believer in moral absolutism, not moral relativism. There is good and bad in the absolute and you judge any group and individual against absolute moral standards — not whether they’re the so-called ‘oppressed’ or ‘oppressor’—  just on absolute moral terms: ‘Are they doing good things? Do they want to murder innocent people?’ That’s bad. It doesn’t matter who they are.” 

Olohan didn’t mention that Musk was making a highly publicized visit to Auschwitz because he had been busted a couple months earlier endorsing an anti-Semitic tweet (which the MRC was loath to talk about) and, before that, lashing out at the ADL for pointing all the anti-Semitism on Twitter/X. In other words, this was an image rehab trip, not really a genuine expression of solidarity by Musk.

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