'Sounds just like Trump': Elon Musk blasted for tweeting demonstrably false meme supporting conservatives
Elon Musk in a court agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission is required to get his tweets pre-authorized after being forced to pay $40 million in a fraud case ($20 from him, $20 million from Tesla). It is not clear he is doing so.
Musk, the richest man not just in the world, but in the history of the world, this week bought Twitter, the social media platform that likely has the strongest ability to shape public opinion. (Kind of like his tweets, the deal is subject to Federal Trade Commission approval.)
On Thursday Musk posted a demonstrably false tweet that suggests conservatives have not changed positions since 2008. It basically also says that liberals have moved much more to the extreme left. And it provides precisely zero evidence to back up the claim.
Many on Twitter blasted Musk, providing ample proof of just how wrong he is.
One of those leading the charge against Musk’s erroneous and divisive claim is Parker Malloy, a former Media Matters editor-at-large who just penned a piece at Substack that begins, “Maybe if Twitter had actually enforced its policies, it wouldn’t have become the type of hellhole a guy like Elon Musk would want to buy.”
Malloy points to a Pew Research Center study that states outright: “Republicans have moved further to the right than Democrats have to the left.”
Wrong https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/10/the-polarization-in-todays-congress-has-roots-that-go-back-decades/\u00a0\u2026 https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1519735033950470144\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/65aoeyYnXD— Parker Molloy (@Parker Molloy) 1651168990
Why is Musk’s erroneous tweet divisive? Because it’s false, yet feeding the already non-reality-based right wing — which is the exact concern many have about what the social media platform that shapes public opinion and legislation will become under Musk’s ownership.
Alexander Howard, the Director of the Digital Democracy Project, also pushed back on Musk’s claim. Pointing to a piece in The Economist, Howard tweets: “The GOP has shifted to the far-right since the 1990s, embracing illiberalism & anti-democratic views. The Democratic Party has not shifted far-left.”
Data do show asymmetric polarization \u2013 but the opposite of this claim.\nThe GOP has shifted to the far-right since the 1990s, embracing illiberalism & anti-democratic views.\nThe Democratic Party has not shifted far-left.\n@TheEIU: \nhttps://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/10/31/the-republican-party-has-lurched-towards-populism-and-illiberalism\u00a0\u2026 \n\nhttps://twitter.com/vdeminstitute/status/1320745059613057024\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/HgfJkMS9EC— Alex Howard (@Alex Howard) 1651169408
Malloy also offered up this article from Roll Call:
This is a quantifiable claim, and you have it backwards. I know it\u2019s not in meme form, buthttps://rollcall.com/2020/12/16/four-decades-and-counting-the-gop-shift-to-the-right-is-bigger-than-the-democrats-shift-left/\u00a0\u2026— Parker Molloy (@Parker Molloy) 1651168817
Political scientist Rachel Bitecofer served up more data:
Hey @elonmusk, this is what real data sayspic.twitter.com/0DXGWvMR1Q— Rachel Bitecofer \ud83d\udcc8\ud83d\udd2d\ud83c\udf4c\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Rachel Bitecofer \ud83d\udcc8\ud83d\udd2d\ud83c\udf4c\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1651168718
And a retort: “Get out of your silo,” she said to Musk.
Georgetown professor Don Moynihan pointed to a tweet from the World Bank-funded independent research institute that also disproves Musk’s false claim.
Granted, this isn't a bunch of cartoon stick figureshttps://twitter.com/vdeminstitute/status/1320745059613057024?s=20&t=3IQF1hofd_KciTdrWbiUxw\u00a0\u2026— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan) 1651170176
NBC News Senior reporter Ben Collins, who covers extremism, adds:
I was alive in 2008. I must have just forgotten about the John McCain stans who stormed the Capitol after he lost because they were convinced he was finally going to arrest all of the lawmakers who were drinking baby blood under the pizza shop.https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1519735033950470144\u00a0\u2026— Ben Collins (@Ben Collins) 1651169606
MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan:
It\u2019s scary that 1) he believes this nonsense, 2) posts this nonsense, and 3) will be controlling a huge social media platform while pushing this nonsense. Imagine thinking the right hasn\u2019t moved far right since 2008 (!) or isn\u2019t the source of political polarization in America. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1519735033950470144\u00a0\u2026— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan) 1651169853
Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted that Musk “sounds just like Trump.”
I come from the right. This isn\u2019t accurate. And he knows that. But here\u2019s the thing: Musk is purposely fucking with & deceiving his fans on the right. He wants them to think he\u2019ll be their champion & slay all those lefties on Twitter. It\u2019s all an act. He sounds just like Trump.https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1519735033950470144\u00a0\u2026— Joe Walsh (@Joe Walsh) 1651171234
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