Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos And The Battle For Media Truth In America: Clay Travis Commentary

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The biggest story of 2022 was Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter and Musk’s subsequent unveiling of private communications from inside the company as a part of the #twitterfiles expose.

And there wasn’t a close second.

In a series of revelations since his purchase, labeled the #twitterfiles, Elon Musk has demonstrated an unholy and unconstitutional trifecta of collusion between big tech, big government and big media. The evidence was circumstantially clear that this was all happening before Musks’s purchase, but the publication of the smoking gun evidence via internal Twitter documents eliminated any arguments to the contrary. The ongoing revelations of the rig job inside of big tech, big government and big media make Watergate look like jaywalking.

FULL ARCHIVE OF OUTKICK’S COVERAGE OF TWITTERFILES

But it wasn’t just the exposure of these internal documents that made these stories the biggest of 2022. It was the media silence that ensued upon these exposures at CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and the battle for media truth in America. (Getty Images)

In this column, I’m going to focus in particular on the Washington Post vs. Twitter and the billionaire staredown between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, two of the foremost capitalists of our time. Because it’s their media battle, I believe, that best characterizes our modern era.

Love Of Print Newspapers Goes Way Back

First, I’m a current subscriber to the Washington Post and loved the paper during my time in college at George Washington University. My roommates made fun of me because I was old school in my love of print newspapers, I’d buy the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal and read all four of them every day in college. Even today as I write this column, I’ve already been out and bought five print newspapers to read here in Park City, Utah, where I’m spending the new year with my family. (I’ve got the New York Times, the USA Today, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and The Park Record sitting beside me on the table. Rupert Murdoch, can you figure out why they don’t print the Wall Street Journal in Utah? It drives me crazy that I can’t buy it out here.) I like to read a variety of print newspapers because in this era of algorithms, I’m afraid that I’ll otherwise only read what the algorithms will feed me online and I want to expose my mind to as many different perspectives as possible. I want to challenge my own opinions daily — while considering the possibility that I might be wrong — because otherwise how can I be confident in the strength of my own opinions.

There are many people who can be criticized for the failures of the legacy media to cover the Twitterfiles revelations, but one of the most fascinating aspects of this story is the divergent paths taken by two of America’s most successful capitalists, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Musk’s purchase of Twitter and Bezos’s purchase of the Washington Post provide a perfect window into our modern media era. In particular, why is Musk willing to pursue truth no matter what the consequences might be to his own personal brand and his own companies, while Bezos seems afraid of antagonizing the woke propagandists inside his own company and doesn’t insist that his company cover the biggest story of our lives?

If the goal of the media is to inform the public to better ensure the success of our democracy then never has our modern American democracy been under greater assault.

There are many angles of the Twitterfiles that deserve coverage, but I’m going to focus on one in particular in this column.

As a result of Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the subsequent publication of the internal evidence at the company, we have uncovered the biggest political scandal of our lives — someone at the FBI rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

I can’t impress upon you how staggering of a story this is, it is the biggest political story of my life, yours too. But what happens if the biggest story of our lives occurs and many in the legacy media choose to ignore it? That’s where we are today and that’s what this column examines.

The Timeline Of FBI’s Rig Job

Sometimes we can all get lost in the fog of daily news, but the timeline surrounding the FBI’s rig job is incredibly important because it cuts to the essence of Musk’s revelations and establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt there is a deep state of criminal behavior inside our nation’s premier domestic law enforcement arm. Importantly, by the way, I’m not saying that all FBI agents are corrupt. That’s clearly not the case, many FBI agents are good and hardworking people trying to do their best to combat criminal behavior in our country.

But something at or near the very top of the FBI is rotten. And someone, or several someones at the FBI, needs to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

So let’s look at the timeline here and simplify the complex:

  • In December of 2019 the FBI took possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
  • In October of 2020, nearly 10 months later, the FBI, because they had Rudy Guiliani under what was likely illegitimate surveillance due to trumped up warrants, knew the New York Post was prepared to publish the Hunter Biden laptop revelation story. For months the FBI had been seeding the argument that the Hunter Biden laptop was fake, but the night before the publication of the New York Post story the FBI briefed Twitter — and other big tech companies — that Russian disinformation involving Hunter Biden’s laptop was going to be soon published. That is, the FBI, despite having had the opportunity to review, analyze and study Hunter Biden’s laptop to affirm its validity for a year, nearly a year after taking possession of that laptop, actively spread their own disinformation — that the Hunter Biden laptop wasn’t real.
  • Twitter, and other big tech companies, censored this story, helping to ensure Joe Biden’s election in 2020.
  • While we can blame the big tech company employees — and they certainly aren’t blameless here — the big tech companies were acting based on direct disinformation provided to them by the FBI.

Someone, or a group of people at the FBI, knew the Hunter Biden laptop was real and decided to execute a counterintelligence argument inside of our country to protect Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Which is why the single most important question of 2023 is this — who ordered the code red inside the FBI? Because, remember, top FBI employees knew the Hunter Biden laptop was real yet allowed a multi-month disinformation campaign to claim the laptop wasn’t real. It’s possible the FBI agents briefing the big tech executives about the threat of the Hunter Biden laptop didn’t know the truth about the Hunter Biden laptop because they hadn’t been involved in that investigation and were acting on orders from superiors. But top FBI officials knew the laptop was 100% authentic and ordered and/or permitted this disinformation campaign to exist.

So who are these FBI officials who knew the truth and put this election rig job in place? This is the question House Republicans have to investigate during primetime hearings as soon as they can. Because if top levels of the FBI actively rigged the 2020 election, what other illegal behavior are they engaged in as well? We must uncover the truth here, no matter how uncomfortable those revelations may end up being.

While the legacy media have been insisting the biggest threat to democracy is the January 6th riots, the FBI’s actions in regards to the 2020 election likely put Joe Biden in the White House over Donald Trump. (I believe far more than 20,000 voters in Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona would have changed their votes in 2020 if this story had been covered adequately, thereby putting Donald Trump in the White House.)

The FBI’s lies, therefore, directly changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

This is the biggest political crime of any of our lives. It makes Watergate, as I said above, look like jaywalking.

Media Chooses To Ignore Revelations In Twitterfiles

Yet, and this is incredibly significant, NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC have mostly failed to cover this story at all. Indeed, all of the revelations in the Twitterfiles combined have received virtually zero coverage in these legacy media outlets.

Musk didn’t just show us the truth in 2022, he showed us how little the truth is actually covered in today’s media.

This is incredibly important because there are huge numbers of people, a majority even in this country, that don’t know the #twitterfiles even exist. They either don’t know about the Hunter Biden laptop censorship story or they still believe the laptop is Russian disinformation. The reason why the Matrix red pill moment is a perfect metaphor for our era is because the legacy media’s power is primarily a function of what they choose to cover. And unless you actively seek out the truth — take the red pill — then you go on living in a world of left wing disinformation. You believe basic facts are untrue. (I’m not saying, by the way, that right wingers don’t believe some things that are untrue, certainly they do, just that active disinformation is far more common on the left than the right in this country. Right wingers know what the left believes because the left dominates cultural discourse in this country, people on the left often have no clue what right wingers believe.)

One of the things that is most frustrating to me is figuring out how to get the truth to as many people as possible. I’m on the biggest radio show in the country, Outkick is one of the biggest sports and culture sites in the country, I appear regularly on Fox News, the most popular news channel in the country, I can scream the #twitterfiles story to the high heavens. But many people just don’t know these basic facts because no matter how hard I try, and no matter how much our audience grows, we still aren’t reaching many of these people with the truth. And if people don’t know basic facts, how can they make informed decisions in our country?

Now, and this is significant, I’m not talking about the people who do know these facts and choose to ignore them —  left wing media propagandists and people, frankly, so committed to the Democrat party that they don’t care how their team wins so long as they win — I’m talking about a huge number of people, maybe half the country, who trust the legacy media to keep them informed because they’re too busy to invest substantial time in the daily drumbeat of news. You can be a good and decent person who reads the New York Times, the Washington Post, someone who watches the CBS, NBC, or ABC nightly newscasts or morning shows, a person who didn’t like Donald Trump and as a result chose to watch CNN and MSNBC, and you would have no idea any of the information about Hunter Biden’s laptop I shared above happened. Heck, you wouldn’t even know any of the #twitterfiles existed if you relied on legacy media to keep you informed.

Because these outlets are so in the tank for the Democrat party that they’ve simply refused to cover the existence of this story. They are, essentially, left wing propaganda media. And the biggest lie they are telling is that, amazingly, they are actually the heroes of our democracy because they provide the truth to the American people every day. The lie is staggering and bald faced. The biggest power these legacy media outlets have, by far, is their decision to determine what the news is. And the trust that tens of millions of people still put in them to do so. Tens of millions of people are busy, they trust these legacy media outlets to keep them informed and, to a degree most of us have never seen in our lives, these legacy media outlets are directly choosing to disinform their audiences, to ignore the uncomfortable and challenging stories out there.

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this, why are they doing this? Why are they making the conscious decision to ignore the biggest political scandal of any of our lives? Why does, for instance, The Washington Post have the audacity to splash “Democracy Dies in Darkness” at the top of its newspaper and then refuse to cover the biggest political scandal of our lives, the greatest actual threat to democracy? The Washington Post, the paper of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, isn’t covering the FBI rigging the 2020 election. Or any of the other #twitterfiles revelations, which are incredibly troubling as they directly implicate unconstitutional censorship by our government.

No matter how much time I spend thinking about it, I can’t give you a direct answer. Not even as someone who has spent most of his life building his own media outlet, Outkick. I suspect to a large extent it’s cognitive dissonance, these legacy media outlets aren’t willing to consider that instead of being heroes for American democracy, they’re actually the villains. So rather than examine this uncomfortable possibility, they censor the truth from their audiences.

Jeff Bezos Vs. Elon Musk: The Battle That Matters

Which brings me back to Bezos vs. Musk and the dueling decisions of two of the richest men on the planet. I understand and respect Elon Musk’s goals in buying Twitter. If I had hundreds of billions of dollars and could buy Twitter to protect free speech, I’d do it in a heartbeat too. I mean, you’re reading a column from a guy who got banned for life by CNN for saying on air the only two things he believed in absolutely was the first amendment and boobs. I’ve literally put my money where my mouth is, that’s why Outkick exists. So while I’ve had a pinprick of the success of Elon Musk, I understand and respect his motivations.

But how does Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the Washington Post, sleep at night? Presumably Bezos bought The Washington Post because he deeply cares about this country and wants to see others have the potential to succeed as he’s succeeded. No other motivation makes sense. It’s certainly not a business decision. Bezos paid $250 million for the paper and even if he made a couple of billion dollars on the investment, it’s a rounding error for him. Like Musk’s purchase of Twitter, Bezos’s purchase of The Washington Post doesn’t make sense from a business perspective. It’s about something more, a belief in news and media and their daily importance.

Bezos is wealthy beyond all compare, a fabulously rich capitalist who redefined commerce in the Internet era by founding and growing Amazon. But I’d love to sit down and ask Bezos why he bought the Washington Post and then allowed his paper to ignore the biggest political crimes of our lives? Does he have such personal antipathy for Donald Trump that he’s allowed himself to be blinded to a much bigger threat to America, the unholy trinity of big tech, big media, and big government? I’m somewhat convinced that this is the root of it all, that in a desperate desire to combat Trump’s purported threats to democracy the legacy media became what Trump never was, a direct and existential threat to our system of government.

That Bezos hated Trump so much, he became a much more dangerous version of him.

That revelation, to the extent Bezos ever has it or even contemplates it, can be stunning, powerful and difficult to reconcile with his own self worth. Maybe in his own mind Bezos is convinced he’s the hero and sees Trump, and Elon Musk, as the villain and Bezos is so competitive with Musk that he can’t allow his paper to even cover the revelations in the #twitterfiles because he thinks it elevates Musk. Maybe late at night in his billionaire reveries Bezos occasionally thinks about these things, after all, you can’t be a disruptive capitalist without being willing to reject conventional wisdom. Or maybe Bezos is so surrounded by sycophantic yes men that he lacks the ability to self analyze as he once would have. Otherwise why would Bezos, who founded Amazon, enter legacy media and be content with the Washington Post becoming Sears, a legacy retailer whose obituary is already written?

As I’ve said above, I’ve never met Elon, but I get him, I understand his motivations. Bezos is an enigma to me, nothing that he’s doing with the Washington Post is reflective of what he’s done in the past. Now, to be fair to Bezos, there are many legacy media executives that bear the blame for not covering this story, but the truth is many in the media are sheep. They’re content to follow the herd and don’t want to draw attention to themselves. Sure, you might become rich if you step outside the herd, but you’re exposed. Most media executives are cowards. They’re just trying to keep their jobs and make their mortgage payments.

I’m focusing on Bezos here because he has fuck you money and is running a media company like the biggest coward in middle management. Bezos has been fearless in business before, so why is he so cowardly with his media business today. How are Musk and Bezos behaving so differently in their media stewardships, especially when both men otherwise have so much in common.

Both men are science nerds who want to conquer space, but Musk seems to realize that in order to conquer space, humanity has to first embrace truth on our own planet. We can’t colonize Mars if half the country believes men can get pregnant.

Presumably Bezos knows this too? So why isn’t he behaving like it?

I admire all capitalist success stories because I’m a rabid capitalist myself. Capitalism is the foundation of the greatest improvements in human life. Both Bezos and Musk know this at their core. And you can’t succeed on the level of Bezos and Musk without having incredible guts and taking massive risks. So what makes Musk willing to risk it all in pursuit of Twitter truth, even, potentially, his other companies, while Bezos is running a left wing propaganda outlet that’s committed to ignoring uncomfortable truth? Why did Bezos run Amazon so fearlessly and the Washington Post, frankly, like such a pussy?

We Can’t Succeed As A Country If Facts Don’t Matter

So while the biggest story of 2022 is definitive proof being provided that the FBI rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden and the ensuing unholy trinity between big media, big tech and big government, the biggest story of 2023 is this: will the Jeff Bezos’s of the world embrace truth and fact, even if it makes some of their audience uncomfortable, or will they continue to run left wing propaganda outlets disguised as media companies?

In 2022, Elon Musk demonstrated that only one big tech company needed to embrace the truth for all of big tech to be exposed as the enemy of truth, imagine what might ensue if Jeff Bezos’s paper did the same thing for legacy media in 2023? What if Bezos applied the same lessons he’s learned from Amazon to his newspaper? What if Bezos’s new year’s resolution was to actually tell the truth to his subscribers in 2023, no matter how uncomfortable that might make them and no matter what that might do to Bezos’s own personal brand?

The truth is out there thanks to Elon Musk’s Twitter revelations, but if only one half of the American public, at best, knows the truth, how can the American public make rational decisions in 2024 and beyond? Both Musk and Bezos express deep desires to use their enormous wealth to expand the horizons of humanity. Sending rockets to Mars is a noble aspiration, but sharing the truth on earth is the only way we ever get there.

Take the red pill in 2023, I implore you, Jeff Bezos, otherwise our democracy really may die in darkness.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

4 Comments

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  1. Thanks Clay. Spot on. I’m afraid that people just not knowing because they’re busy isn’t the answer. We keep waiting for some revelation to open everyone’s eyes and bring them to their senses. I hope you’re right but I’m concerned that everyone actually knows but so many are happy with the outcome they don’t care the methods being used to obtain it. They don’t believe there will be any long term consequences for ceding their rights.

    • This is an interesting question and it’s hard to pinpoint the percentages. I kinda agree with you on this and think there’s a large % of the population that is aware of what’s going on but doesn’t care as long as their team wins. Applies to both sides but given the power dynamic of MSM/big tech/other institutions, it leans far left. It’s the whole “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove” crowd. That is, they know the game is rigged but as long as it keeps their perceived enemies out of power the ends justify the means. And even when the smoking gun appears they downplay/ignore until it goes away.

      However, I think there’s a larger % that has been successfully psyop’d and aren’t totally aware of everything going down. Most of this crowd likely gets their news from social media/big tech. MSM plays a role but the audiences are smaller and shrink by the day. If their timeline is 90% sensationalized left-wing perspective headlines and posts, they are going to gravitate towards that and dig further down. They may know some of the things they believe are not correct, but they’ve doubled down so many times it’s embarrassing to admit they were wrong. They are too far invested in their worldview and cannot abandon everything they believe in. Again, this can also apply to the right-wing but due to the power dynamic of social media/big tech, MSN, entertainment, corporate culture, education, etc., etc., it’s much easier to switch parties from Reb to Dem then the other way around. If you switch that way you’re welcomed with open arms (i.e. Liz Chaney is now an endeared figure).

      The other group is old people who don’t use social media. This is the demographic that the MSM is able to (for lack of a better word) groom. These are the ones who are particularly left in the dark and aren’t aware of the Twitter files. They see these stations they have known and trusted for years (i.e. CBS/60 Minutes) and stick with them because that’s what they know. When the MSM ignores major stories it’s a tree in the woods to them. Many in this group likely still believe the laptop was Russian misinfo.

      The group with the best chance to win over are Independents. The good news is this group is growing but the bad news is it’s still relatively small. You can show these people the smoking gun and they will keep an open mind, but is it enough to sway an election?

  2. Well said Clay.

    I fear that Bezos’ motivations are driven by pure hatred for Trump, and that hatred won’t allow him to do what you hope he does. Never has a President (Trump) been more right about so many things and yet so needlessly and counterproductively divisive at the same time. Sadly, Bezos’ actions – past and future – will likely be controlled by this animus toward Trump.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people still believe what the left-wing media says, or that they don’t realize that their media sources are nothing more than propaganda. No catastrophe at the border? Withdrawal from Afghanistan was a success? Hunter Biden’s laptop was fake Russian propaganda? The economy is strong? Forgiving college loans is a good thing? We must all wear masks for life? Covid is a pandemic of the unvaccinated? I could go on, but the lack of simple skepticism on the part of the news-consuming public suggests antipathy at best, or ignorance at worst. Or, maybe after a few decades of being fed so many lies (frequently lies of omission) they have been brainwashed into believing what seems implausible if viewed with an open mind? The old saying about telling the same lie over and over again until it’s believed to be true might just hold.

    I’m pretty old. Dirt had been invented when I was born but it was still considered new and novel at the time. I grew up reading hard copy news print and believed what I read. Perhaps one possible explanation for “old folks” believing what they still read is they have not branched out and started receiving their news from other digital sources? No idea why younger folks with nimble minds can’t see the obvious, so no hall pass there.

    Either way we’re in trouble as a nation unless more Elons come along, and I don’t think it will be Jeff Bezos.

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