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The legacy media and their liberal buddies have a new champion. Oddly enough, it’s Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a man they used to hate. It’s not that they love the Zuck even now, they just hate Twitter owner Elon Musk.
The two tech billionaires have been fighting over the possibility of a real-life cage match. (No, I’m not joking.) But the battle journalists care about has Meta’s new social media operation Threads going up against Twitter.
The media and the left have been out to get Musk ever since he first considered buying Twitter. And they have done everything but drive a stake into the site to vanquish their hated rival. The Washington Post wrote how, “millions await platform’s collapse.” Vanity Fair said, “Twitter Is Dying” and The Atlantic claimed, “Musk Could Actually Kill Twitter.”
None of that happened. The reason for their anger is simple: censorship. The left wants it – desperately – and Musk generally supports free speech, even if he’s an imperfect supporter of the concept.
ELON MUSK RAMPS UP ATTACKS AGAINST ZUCKERBERG WITH PERSONAL INSULT OVER THREADS APP
That imperfection doesn’t stop journalists from going after him. NBC News “dystopia beat” reporter Ben Collins was so aggressive in bashing Musk that he got “temporarily suspended.” Semafor reported that Collins was shelved from covering Musk on NBC and MSNBC because his comments were “not editorially appropriate.”
Journalists obsess over Twitter the way a jilted lover stalks an ex-. They can’t help but write about it, talk about it, whine about it and more. If Musk could lay out all of the inches of commentary about the death of Twitter, he could walk to Mars instead of building a rocket to go there.
But mostly, the media plot Twitter’s demise. With every new social media launch, the press sharpens its claws and goes after Musk once more. It’s hard to be more overt than CNN on July 9: “Tired of Elon Musk? Here are the Twitter alternatives you should know about.” The rant lists Bluesky, Mastodon, Spill and Threads. (Spill is an invite-only attempt to grab the Black Twitter audience.)
CNN had lots of company attacking Twitter to boost Threads. Here’s The Washington Post, “Threads Had Big Launch Energy. Twitter Is Under Pressure.” Or “Twitter’s Troubles Are Perfectly Timed for Meta.”
The New York Times piece told, “How Meta did what no other Twitter competitor could.” The lede of the story began with the Times inadvertently making the romantic comparison: “To many users, Twitter had become like a bad boyfriend.” Another Times piece was headlined: “Threads, Instagram’s ‘Twitter Killer,’ Has Arrived.”
It was much the same when the competitor Mastodon targeted Twitter. The Post declared, “Musk is wrecking speech moderation on Twitter. There’s an alternative.” That’s certainly an odd way for the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” newspaper to describe free speech.
The Times included Mastodon in this typical article, “Twitter’s Rivals Try to Capitalize on Musk-Induced Chaos.”
And it was only two months ago when Times tech columnist Kevin Roose was asking, “Is Bluesky the long-awaited heir to Twitter?” Naturally, one of the things he liked about it was its ability to block large groups of people. He used an example if the ACLU made “a list of hate groups,” you “could just say, ‘I want to block all of the accounts on that list.’”
Again, that was barely two months ago. Now, it’s Threads and Zuckerberg. Liberals are fickle creatures.
Only it looks like they will be disappointed once more. Times “Hard Fork” podcast co-host Casey Newton told Roose that the essence of many social media apps is “warfare” or “a battleground.” That’s not what Threads CEO Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, wants the new social media to become.
Mosseri said he wants Threads to be a “less angry place for conversations.” And he’s not seeking to promote politics, which is Twitter’s bread and butter. “Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads—they have on Instagram as well to some extent—but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,” Mosseri said, according to the Daily Beast.
If he’s being honest that’s not good for journalists who really only care about politics. To the legacy media, social media is an enforcement mechanism to get everyone to agree with whatever narrative they are pushing. With Twitter independent, things like actor Jim Caviezel’s new movie “Sound of Freedom” get attention, not just attacked.
Yes, Meta can get a lot of Instagram users to try Threads, over 100 million so far. But if it’s not replacing Twitter for politics, then it’s more like the censored speech on Facebook. (Threads has an extra bonus. If you want to quit, you have to shut down your Instagram account. It’s the “Hotel California” of social media sites.)
No matter how much the lefty press tries to will Twitter out of existence, even outlets like the Post have to admit the problem: “Download. Scroll. Post. Repeat. New social media apps are exhausting us.” If it exhausts Posties, can you imagine how normal people feel?
Threads might even keep some users. But will that hurt Twitter, or will it end up cannibalizing Facebook and Instagram? If it doesn’t kill Twitter, you can bet journalists will be back promoting the next attempt.