Elon Musk's Twitter Purge, COVID's Continued Surge, and Energized Labor
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Elon Musk managed to claw his way into the news again this week, suspending a number of high-profile journalists while yucking it up with fringe right-wing accounts like “CatTurd.”
On Thursday, Musk suspended a number of high-profile journalists, claiming that they had “doxxed” him. The banned reporters had all covered a previous suspension of the accounts, ElonJet and its owner, Jack Sweeney, who were tracking Musk’s private jet using publicly available data. Journalists in a Twitter space subsequently pressed Musk about what the internet would dub the “Thursday Night Massacre,” but the mercurial Twitter owner left abruptly and briefly shut down spaces altogether.
Then, on Saturday, Musk suspended Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz for unspecified rule violations. After the suspension, Musk tweeted that journalists believe that they are “better than everyone else.” He would later say Lorenz was suspended temporarily because she had previously engaged in doxxing — ostensibly a reference to false right-wing smears against her for her reporting.
The speed with which Musk has spiraled from “free speech absolutist” railing against censorious “woke” culture and its impact on comedy to out-of-control despot attempting to silence critics and legitimate reporters is whiplash-inducing. For more:
His mismanagement of the platform is also impacting Tesla’s stock price. Read more:
Twitter is a platform with a unique cultural relevance. It is used by politicians, activists, whistleblowers, journalists, celebrities, and regular people. It is a place where news and media narratives are shared and shaped. As such, Musk’s actions are dangerous — an assault on the free flow of information.
But they are not unexpected. For years now, the far right has been waging an escalating war on journalism in the service of creating an alternate reality where factual wrongness is framed as mere differing opinions. Donald Trump once called the press the “enemy of the people.” The vilification of the press is essential to insulating powerful men like Trump and Musk, and powerful business interests, from public accountability.
What we are trying to do at OptOut is provide a counter to those who would weaponize disinformation, conspiracy, and hate. Factual reporting is the foundation of resistance.
For more on Elon Musk’s purge, check out these articles by OptOut participating outlets:
With that, please enjoy this week’s selection of stories from OptOut’s participating outlets:
Potentially good news for climate advocates this week as scientists announced a breakthrough in nuclear fusion. THE DAILY MONTANAN had the story.
Of course, not everyone is optimistic. There are drawbacks to fusion energy as COUNTERPUNCH noted in a piece this week.
THE MINNESOTA REFORMER had a good piece this week about the potential detrimental impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act on native lands. The spending bill included incentives for domestic mining to facilitate the production of EV batteries.
Amazon is wasting a whole lot of plastic according to a new report from GRIST.
EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL reported on Shell Oil’s efforts to expand its offshore operations.
Did you read our latest climate-focused newsletter? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.
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With COVID cases on the rise again in many parts of the country, and the holidays fast approaching, the Biden administration is resuming its free delivery of rapid tests through the United States Postal Service. States Newsroom reported.
Despite the continually mounting COVID toll on our country, Elon Musk has restored the accounts of several prominent spreaders of pandemic-related misinformation, including convicted Capitol insurrectionist Simone Gold, of the group America’s Frontline Doctors, which made millions hawking quack cures for the virus as vaccine alternatives. Now, Gold wants to help Musk weed out what she deems to be misinformation about COVID. The Intercept covered the inmate takeover of the asylum.
The Biden administration is reportedly looking at ending the state of emergency declaration for COVID. When that happens, however, there will be serious consequences. SOURCE NEW MEXICO covered how such a decision could impact tens of thousands in the state who rely on Medicare.
In the wake of COVID, labor has more energy and leverage behind it than it has in decades. OptOut supports organized labor unequivocally. Our participating outlets covered some of the big actions this week.
JACOBIN reported on the fifth week of a massive university strike taking place in California.
This week, Starbucks workers held their biggest action yet. Workers from roughly 100 stores staged a three-day walkout. IN THESE TIMES covered the demonstration.
Did you see our first LGBTQ+ newsletter by Liana DeMasi? Sign up for free now!
Airplane manufacturer Boeing is lobbying to get a critical deadline for cockpit safety pushed back, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT reported this week.
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