Tangling with Musk Could Get Media Matters More Than It Bargained For

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Information War

For years, Media Matters has targeted Fox News and its employees for “guerrilla warfare and sabotage,” with pressure campaigns on advertisers being the favorite tactic. But the organization may regret picking a fight with the world’s richest man: SpaceX owner Elon Musk. 

After the left-wing agitator/boycott group ran a hit-piece that caused corporate advertisers to leave Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) social media platform after their ads were placed next to racists, the multibillionaire filed what he called “thermonuclear” lawsuit against Media Matters for libel.

Media Matters has falsely accused many individuals and groups of a host of things, but Musk is almost certainly the worst person to target: He’s wealthy, he’s willing to wage an expensive legal battle, and he’s opposed to the Left’s cancel culture war. He’s also not a political conservative, which makes his willingness to fight cancel culture an especially important part of the equation.

Here’s the background: Media Matters claimed that advertisements by major corporate brands like Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity, and IBM appeared next to tweets containing anti-Semitic content. No reasonable person would conclude that a randomly generated ad on a social media feed indicates an endorsement of the content on that feed by the ad-buyer, so Media Matters cherry-picked a tweet by Musk as “proof” that X reflected his “descent into white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracy theories.”

In the tweet at issue, Musk signaled his agreement with a user’s argument that Jewish political groups should reflect on how their left-leaning advocacy was responsible for policies in the West that increased immigration by demographics openly hostile to Jewish people. According to Media Matters, this represented a support for the same conspiracy theory that inspired the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

However, the facts show the exchange was taken completely out of context. Not only did the user openly support Israel in tweets posted well before October 7, but Musk’s own statements on X have shown unequivocal support for Israel and condemnation of Hamas.

On October 8, the day after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, murdering, raping, and killing innocent civilians, Musk tweeted:

Khamenei’s official position is clear that the eradication of Israel is the actual goal, not just supporting Palestinians.

That will not happen. All that actually happens, decade after decade, is a never-ending cycle of violence and vengeance.

Stoking the fires of hatred isn’t working. Perhaps it is time to consider something else.

And on November 15, the same day as the “controversial” tweet, he slammed one of the activist left’s favorite anti-Israel slurs saying:

Yes, “decolonization” necessarily implies a Jewish genocide, thus it is unacceptable to any reasonable person

Okay, so far Media Matters is just engaging in its normal falsehoods. But what took the issue further is what is in the court filings. X’s attorneys blasted Media Matters for manipulating the platform’s algorithms with burner accounts to follow Neo-Nazi and other anti-Semitic accounts and intentionally generate a false impression that random users would end up with the same advertisement/racist content combo on their screens. Furthermore, Media Matters used the deception to convince companies like IBM and Apple to pull their advertisements from the X platform.

X’s attorneys have also demanded a jury trial, which is a battle Media Matters almost certainly doesn’t want to fight. First, its $18 million in revenue in 2021 is tiny compared to Musk’s much bigger bank account. Second, a trial could expose the “dark money” sources supplying those funds enabling the group’s deceitful practices. 

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Media Matters is not required to disclose its donors. The only information on the group’s financial supporters comes from independent research or self-disclosure by the benefactors themselves, such as liberal billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which reported a $500,000 donation to Media Matters in 2021. The left-wing National Education Association teachers union is also a major supporter, having donated $100,000 in 2022 and made regular 6-figure contributions over the past decade.

A trial that exposes the rest of the funders behind the smear campaigns would give Media Matters a good dose of its own medicine. But the fallout would be devastating if it also exposes the group’s rampant hypocrisy—like being in bed with Hamas sympathizers while accusing Musk and X of anti-Semitism.

That’s right: the Washington Examiner has reported that George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society gave at least $700,000 in recent years to a charity that helped promote anti-Israel protests in the weeks following the October 7 attacks.

There’s likely a lot more that a trial will uncover. And at the end of the day, Media Matters will probably wish it hadn’t brought a knife to a Musk’s promised “thermonuclear” fight.

Paul Revere is the pseudonym of a conservative writer

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