Media picks sides over Elon Musk’s Twitter offer

On Balance with Leland Vittert

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter and take it private is causing a stir across the political spectrum. Outlets including the Washington Post and even one major Republican strategist say Musk’s ownership would make the platform worse.

Max Boot — who served as an adviser to several Republican presidential campaigns, is a columnist for the Washington Post and a global affairs analyst for CNN — tweeted to his 344,000 followers that he is “frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter.”

“He seems to believe that anything on social media goes,” Boot said. “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.”

Similarly, the Washington Post published quite a few headlines of the same timbre.

One, in particular, read: “Elon Musk is the last person who should take over Twitter”.

Even Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns a stake in Twitter through his Kingdom Holding Company, rejected Musk’s offer.

“I don’t believe that the proposed offer by Elon Musk [$54.20] comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter given its growth prospects,” the prince said on Twitter.

“Being one of the largest and long-term shareholders of Twitter, Kingdom Holding Company and I reject this offer.”

The news was revealed in a securities filing Thursday, with Musk saying the social media platform “needs to be transformed as a private company” in order to build trust with its users.

“I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in the filing. “I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”

Later in the day, during an onstage interview at the TED 2022 conference, Musk went even broader: “Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.”

One professor compared Musk to a caricature “bad guy” in a movie.

“Let’s think of a James Bond villain,” USC adjunct professor Sid Mohasseb told NewsNation. “They control space, they control communication channels, they control currencies and can move the markets very quickly. Does that sound like somebody we might know?”

Trish Regan, a former Goldman Sachs analyst, and Colby Hall, the founding editor of Mediaite, joined “On Balance with Leland Vittert” on Thursday evening to break down why Musk’s offer is receiving so much backlash.

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