Elon Musk’s X/Twitter Sues To Silence Media Criticism

INSIDE: Donald Trump ... Mike Johnson ... Travis Kelce
BLETCHLEY, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with members of the media during day one of the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park on November 01, 2023 in Bletc... BLETCHLEY, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with members of the media during day one of the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park on November 01, 2023 in Bletchley, England. The UK Government are hosting the AI Safety Summit bringing together international governments, leading AI companies, civil society groups and experts in research to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Chilling Effect

You probably know the basic contours of the story by now. Last Wednesday, Elon Musk endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X/Twitter. The next day the liberal watchdog group Media Matters produced a report that showed ads appearing on X/Twitter next to pro-Nazi content. Major advertisers began to flee the platform. Late in the week, Musk threatened to sue over the report. Yesterday, X/Twitter followed through with a federal lawsuit against Media Matters in the Northern District of Texas.

Musk’s company’s essential claim is that Media Matters manipulated the X/Twitter algorithm to generate objectionable content next to high-value ads. In other words, no one (or a de minimis number of users) really saw such ad placements in the wild. In the lawsuit, X/Twitter calls what Media Matters reported “manufactured, inorganic, and extraordinarily rare.”

What begins to tip this story into something more grave is that last evening Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton – yeah, him – launched his own investigation into Media Matters over its X/Twitter report. The tone and tenor of Paxton’s announcement tells you all you need to know: “We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square.”

It leaves us with a situation where the world’s richest man is suing to silence critics of his lurch toward antisemitism and extremism and he’s being joined in the effort by partisan allies who actually control government functions. It’s a combination immediately recognizable as a toxic threat to public discourse, a free press, and targeted minorities.

Stay tuned.

Not A Great Sign

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals struggled more than I had expected with the Trump gag order during oral arguments yesterday. TPM’s Kate Riga has our report on the judges trying to find some middle ground between the gag order in its current form and Trump’s maximalist First Amendment argument against it.

Next Step In Colorado Disqualification Clause Case

Both sides – voters and Trump – have appealed the Disqualification Clause ruling in Colorado to the state Supreme Court.

Is The Judiciary Up To The Task?

Brian Beutler:

The judiciary is essentially split between judges, like Aileen Cannon, who are thrilled to protect Trump from the rule of law, and more impartial jurists who are scared to apply it to him. The latter behave as though holding Trump to a more lenient set of rules is worth it to avoid some civil strife they’ve conjured in their minds, or the death threats they know will follow any significant adverse rulings.

Investigating The Investigators … Again

A move is afoot among House Republicans to launch an investigation of the House Jan. 6 committee investigators. It’s like a replay of the Barr-Durham investigation of the Mueller probe. As TPM’s Hunter Walker points out, the GOPers involved are the same ones who conspired to thwart Biden’s victory in 2020.

Speaker Mike Johnson Makes Pilgrimage To MAL

Newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson met with Donald Trump last night at Mar-a-Lago while attending a fundraiser there for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).

Terrible Development For Voting Rights

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals defied a half century of precedent and actual practice in ruling that private parties cannot enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

2024 Ephemera

  • The presidential debate schedule for the general election was announced: Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas; Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia; and Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It’s not a sure thing that Trump will participate. A vice presidential debate will take place on Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
  • In a bid to keep Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) from peeling off GOP votes, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has a new digital ad up in Arizona touting her liberalism while slamming Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
  • Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are the linchpin of Dem hopes to keep the Senate.

A Good Holiday Read

Stipulating that I really don’t like the celebrity profile genre and especially not the ones built around a sit-down interview (your coffee klatch, limo ride, conference room stare-down, or comfy living room chat with your subject is not a metaphor for anything, or a revealing glimpse into their soul, or a mirror of their inner psychology), this WSJ profile of Travis Kelce is about as good as the contrived form can get.

The Portals Of Age

If you want more fiber than Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift can provide, Anne Lamott has another essay on aging up at the WaPo.

There’s Still Time To Prep For Gumbo

I usually spend Black Friday transmogrifying the leftover turkey carcass into the best gumbo of the year. Nothing is quite as good as post-Thanksgiving gumbo. Travel and other obligations are probably going to keep me from doing it this year, so instead I will share with you my old friend Pableaux Johnson’s recipe for turkey and andouille gumbo. I’m offering it up a little bit ahead of time so that you have time to add any missing ingredients to your last-minute shopping list. You really don’t want to have to go shopping for anything yourself come Friday.

A few tips:

  • Your gumbo is only as good as your sausage. Find the best smoked sausage you can.
  • A deep-fried turkey carcass tastes nasty in a gumbo. A roasted or smoked turkey carcass is what you need.
  • The two most time-consuming elements of the preparation are making (i) the stock (including letting the simmered carcass cool enough to debone it) and (ii) the roux. But it’s slow, pleasant, meditative work – the opposite of braving the Black Friday crowds – so enjoy it.
  • Pick up some crusty french bread to go with it.

Let’s talk about the rice. It’s not make or break the way the sausage is. But why pour the magical elixir of gumbo over poorly prepared rice? If you have a rice cooker, then you’re in business. If you don’t:

  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of long-grain rice.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Bring the water to a boil in a pot with a tight lid. Add the salt and rice.

Keeping the pot UNCOVERED, bring it back to a boil and let it boil until the water level is even with the surface of the rice.

Now COVER the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for five more minutes. Don’t you dare take off the lid until the five minutes is up.

You’re welcome.

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