Trump and Musk: A Tale of Two Juveniles

What have I been saying about Righties being the equivalent of ten-year-old boys? I think we’re heading toward Peak Prepubescence.

Item One: Trump’s NFT trading cards. They’re cheap looking and cheesy and sold out already. You really can’t underestimate Trump supporters, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out someday that members of the Trump family bought most of Trump’s childish fantasy cards.

Item Two: Elon Musk is showing us who he is. Yesterday Musk pulled one of his dumbest moves yet and banned some journalists who had reported on him. His excuse was that the journalists had revealed his location, putting him in danger, but there is no evidence that is true. One banned Twitter member who doesn’t seem to be a journalist, exactly, had been using public flight data to share the location of Musk’s private plane, and a lot of other famous people’s private planes, but anyone else could have found the same data. It’s, like, public.

Do read Josh Marshall’s post In the Den of the Dark Lord Elon Thinskinnious.

You’ve likely seen a lot of write-ups about Elon Musk having a temper tantrum last night and banning a group of journalists. It’s gotten a lot of attention in part because he banned ones that were in some sense covering him and his acquisition of Twitter, and because he banned reporters from some of the most prominent news organizations in the country, including CNN, the Times and the Post. In most cases (it’s hard to know because there’s been no clear explanation of why any of this happened) the bans were based on tortured readings of a new rule Twitter put in place the night before based on a different temper tantrum on Wednesday.

So much for free speech. The whole post provides more details of this whole sorry episode. And now the prominent news organizations are “reevaluating” their relationship with Twitter, and I don’t know why they’re still on it already. See also Newsrooms are scrambling to counter Elon Musk’s bans at Semafor.

But, basically, Musk is dumping quality content while opening the door to junk content, and then he wonders why he’s losing advertising revenue. Josh Marshall:

As it happens, I think it all ends badly for Twitter. Its vitality and centrality rest heavily on the presence of journalists and other information influencers. Chase them off and you have what’s become of Facebook, still until recently at least a highly profitable company but no longer central to the flow or news and information. Journalists and other information influencers left and the charge left as well. Facebook at least was highly profitable and continued to be based on your parents and grandparents spending time there until Apple changed its privacy rules. Twitter has never been a profitable company.

It may be that free (to users) social media platforms will disappear someday unless someone with big money is willing to underwrite them.