April 11, 2023


After Matt Taibbi Leaves Twitter, Elon Musk 'Shadow Bans' All Of Taibbi's Tweets, Including The Twitter Files (Mike Masnick, 4/10/23, Techdirt)

On Thursday, Musk's original hand-picked Twitter Files scribe, Matt Taibbi, went on Mehdi Hasan's show (which Taibbi explicitly demanded from Hasan, after Hasan asked about Taibbi's opinions on Musk blocking accounts for Modi in India). The interview did not go well for Taibbi in the same manner that finding an iceberg did not go well for the Titanic. [...]

Hasan: What's interesting about Elon Musk is that, we've checked, you've tweeted over thirty times about Musk since he announced he was going to buy Twitter last April, and not a word of criticism about him in any of those thirty plus tweets. Musk is a billionaire who's been found to have violated labor laws multiples times, including in the past few days. He's attacked labor unions, reportedly fired employees on a whim, slammed the idea of a wealth tax. Told his millions of followers to vote Republican last year, and in response to a right-wing coup against Bolivian leftist President Evo Morales tweeted "we'll coup whoever we want."

And yet, you've been silent on all that.

How did you go, Matt, from being the scourge of Wall St. The man who called Goldman Sachs the Vampire Squid, to be unwilling to say anything critical at all about this right wing reactionary anti-union billionaire.

Taibbi: Look....[long pause... then a sigh]. So... so... I like Elon Musk. I met him. This is part of the calculation when you do one of these stories. Are they going to give you information that's gonna make you look stupid. Do you think their motives are sincere about doing x or y....  I did. I thought his motives were sincere about the Twitter Files. And I admired them. I thought he did a tremendous public service in opening the files up. But that doesn't mean I have to agree with him about everything.

Hasan: I agree with you. But you never disagree with him. You've gone silent. Some would say that's access journalism.

Taibbi:  No! No. I haven't done... I haven't reported anything that limits my ability to talk about Elon Musk...

Hasan: So will you criticize him today? For banning journalists, for working with Modi government to shut down speech, for being anti-union. You can go for it. I'll give you as much time as you'd like. Would you like to criticize Musk now?

Taibbi: No, I don't particularly want to... uh... look, I didn't criticize him really before... uh... and... I think that what the Twitter Files are is a step in the right direction...

Hasan: But it's the same Twitter he's running right now...

Taibbi: I don't have to disagree with him... if you wanna ask... a question in bad faith...


Hasan: It's not in bad faith, Matt!

Taibbi: It absolutely is!

Hasan: Hold on, hold on, let me finish my question. You saying that he's good for Twitter and good for speech. I'm saying that he's using Twitter to help one of the most rightwing governments in the world censor speech. I will criticize that. Will you?

Taibbi: I have to look at the story first. I'm not looking at it now!

By Friday, that exchange became even more embarrassing. Because, due to a separate dispute that Elon was having with Substack (more on that in a bit), he decided to arbitrarily bar anyone from retweeting, replying, or even liking any tweet that had a Substack link in it. But Taibbi's vast income stems from having one of the largest paying Substack subscriber bases. [...]

So, yes, we went from Taibbi praising Elon Musk for supporting free speech and supposedly helping to expose the evil shadowbanning of the old regime, and refusing to criticize Musk on anything, to Taibbi leaving Twitter, and Musk not just unfollowing him but shadowbanning him and all his Twitter Files.

In about 48 hours.

Absolutely incredible.

Posted by at April 11, 2023 12:00 AM