Why Is News Coverage of Elon Musk’s Twitter Always Negative?

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Anyone who has followed Twitter news over the last month has to conclude the news is biased towards the negative. Nearly every headline I read is critical. For a while, pundits predicted the entire website would crash; Spoiler alert, it did no such thing.

Before Elon took over the company, it was losing money. Naturally, to turn losses into profits, someone would have to take quick and swift action. I’m personally not surprised that action includes cutting jobs, eliminating benefits (such as free lunch), devising novel ways to make money (Twitter blue), and other changes. This is to be expected if you have to rapidly turn something not profitable into something profitable.

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Strangely, at every turn, every action of the company is portrayed in the most negative light. Many were upset that for $8 a month people could create a fake Eli Lilly account and talk about the price of insulin. Who cares? Was it so bad? The fake account drew attention to a real problem: the unsustainable price of insulin. The bigger problem is that drug companies make trivial modifications to the insulin molecule, to ensure exclusivity. And doctors do not demand good evidence to switch to the novel formulations, many greased with financial conflicts of interest. That was less well appreciated. 

Many pundits argue that Twitter staff has been cut too thin. They are argue that the website would come crashing down. That never happened. It also seems to betray a deep ignorance of what a website is. This is not an assembly line making widgets. It’s a digital tool. Elon has a thousand engineers left. He also has the ability to contract any amount of work he wants. Millions of people have the skill set to code in this space. Why are they so worried the website’s going to fail? It seems bizarre. It doesn’t take much to keep it going.

Also, it is probably the case that Twitter did grow too fast, and many people who work there are not absolutely vital to the functioning of the company. That’s true in most large organizations. Why wouldn’t that be true here?

Overall, the news coverage is extremely pessimistic, almost rooting for failure, or trying to create the failure itself. If you ask me it all boils down to one thing:

The legacy media is staffed with people, mostly left of center, who have enjoyed the current content moderation which favors left of center viewpoints, and discriminates against right of center viewpoints. They are worried that Elon is going to level the playing field, and they don’t want that. As such, they’re happy to see him fail, and they will do anything in their power to ensure that failure. Including trying to sabotage advertisements, and create the narrative that the company is on the brink of collapse. 

I’m also left of center, but I agree with the classically liberal principle that you have to allow speech to progress largely unfettered. As such, I think, Elon has the right vision.

If I were to fault the journalism on this topic it would be in two dimensions. One, this is actually not that important a news story so their coverage of it is disproportional to its importance. Two, they just have a narrative they’ve constructed in their head, and they may or may not fully understand that the real motivation, but they are blindly chasing that narrative and ignoring any data that doesn’t fit it. As such it is biased. 

Unfortunately for them, Elon has a lot in his favor. The remaining workers are likely tremendous. The website is benefiting from free advertisement. It is still very easy to use. (Not like Mastodon). And it won’t take much to keep it going. A year from now It’s going to be a lot stronger than it is today. Someday Twitter will just be another company that Elon turned around.

Article republished from the author’s Substack.

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