Is Elon Musk Really a Super-villain?
Or just another billionaire looking to make a buck?
As just about everyone knows by now, Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter and take it private.
People of all stripes have been having at each other over the past couple of weeks, going on and on about how Musk’s purchase of Twitter would be either the most significant development since the Magna Carta or the death knell of democracy as we know it.
Probably the most ironic, unaware, and ridiculous argument made by the anti-Musk side runs something like:
Billionaires are buying up free speech!
As if free speech hasn’t already been bought, sold, and chopped up into bologna a long time ago.
Ellen Pao, the censorious ex-president of Reddit (whom some Reddit users dubbed Chairman Pao for her heavy-handed policies there), shamelessly took to the pages of the billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post to call for:
regulation of social media platforms to prevent wealthy people from controlling our channels of communication
So if billionaires don’t buy companies, who will?
Some poor person?
A more serious question is whether Musk’s ownership of Twitter would create some unique or relatively rare result of a U.S. information source being owned by a billionaire.
Not at all, it turns out.
Is it our billionaire, or their billionaire?
Here is a partial list of U.S. news sources currently owned by billionaires.
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Los Angeles Times
- Boston Globe
- New York Daily News
- The Atlantic
- Vanity Fair
- The New Yorker
- Daily Beast
- The Intercept
Maybe the concern here is not so much whether a billionaire should be able to own a social media or news media company, but rather, is he our billionaire or their billionaire?