What Exactly Is Going on with Media Matters’ Pressure Campaign Against Elon Musk and X?

Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)

Elon Musk is threatening “thermonuclear” legal action against Media Matters for America after he says the leftist advocacy group “completely misrepresented the real user experience” on X (formerly known as Twitter) in an attempt to undermine the social media platform.

On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Emily Jashinsky, culture editor for The Federalist, and Eliana Johnson, co-host of Ink-Stained Wretches, to discuss Media Matters’ pressure campaign against X and the truth about the organization.

Musk vs. Media Matters

On Thursday, Media Matters published an article in which it accused X of running ads for companies like Apple, IBM, Oracle, and more next to “pro-nazi content.” In the wake of the report, Apple and IBM suspended advertising on the platform, while others were said to be considering following suit.

Media Matters pulled screenshots of antisemitic and “pro-nazi” posts running alongside advertisements for Apple, Xfinity, Bravo, Oracle, and IBM. Writer Eric Hananoki noted that goes against X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s promise to advertisers that “brands are now ‘protected from the risk of being next to’ potentially toxic content.”

Musk wasted no time responding to the claims. “This week Media Matters for America posted a story that completely misrepresented the real experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers,” he said. “Media Matters created an alternate account and curated the posts and advertising appearing on the account’s timeline to misinform advertisers about the placement of their posts.” He went on to call the organization “pure evil.”

The tech billionaire has since threatened legal action. “The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company,” he posted on X on Saturday. “Their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them.”

The Media Matters article came on the heels of Musk seeming to endorse anti-Jewish sentiment on the X. After a user accused Jews in the West of promoting “hatred against whites” in a post on Wednesday, Musk responded “you have said the actual truth.” 

His words drew immediate outrage, and he appeared to pivot by Friday when he announced that phrases like ”decolonization,” “from the river to the sea,” and “similar euphemisms” that “necessarily imply genocide” would be banned from X.

The Truth About Media Matters

Megyn said it is hard to take any report from Media Matters seriously because of its history. “They’re awful; they’re dishonest; if you hear ‘Media Matters,’ your antenna should perk up,” she shared. “They usually focus their hate on Fox News and any conservative commentator. I have been the victim of their smears many, many times over the years, which is why I have the opinion of them that I do.”

In her view, the goal of the progressive outlet is clear. “They’re trying to kill X because they can’t stand that it’s the one platform not controlled by their people,” Megyn explained. “It’s very annoying to them that Elon Musk will not bend the knee to them.”

Despite the fact that Megyn said Media Matters exists “to get anybody right of center fired, ruined, canceled,” the media and X’s biggest advertisers seem to be taking the report at face value. “I cannot believe that these companies – the big blue chip companies – are jumping when Media Matters says jump,” she lamented. “Are they so clueless they don’t understand this is a hack organization and you can’t trust anything this group does?”

The problem for X, Megyn noted, is that it really isn’t in a position to lose that ad revenue. “Twitter was already hurting with advertisers since Elon took over, so this actually could be a bet-your-business situation for him,” she said. “They’re pulling their ads from Twitter en masse.”

Jashinsky admitted that it is likely true that Media Matters was able to find instances of advertisements from blue chip companies running alongside antisemitic content, but she said it is likely not true that this is a typical X user’s experience. “Musk’s accusation is that this report is based on accounts that were intentionally created to rig the algorithm to deliver these results, so… I’m sure they were able to create accounts that this content was served up on and then they go and present it to Microsoft and Apple and whomever else,” she shared.

It is an instance, she said, of Media Matters doing what it does best. “Media Matters has been doing this for years – they absolutely know the pressure points of corporate advertisers,” she explained. “But whether this is legitimate research, I think, is highly dubious.”

What This Means for Musk

Johnson said it is hard to sympathize with any party in this dispute because of Musk’s actions on his own X feed. “I do think this is a little bit of a red herring because… I do think Elon Musk himself – and this is separate and apart from the ads that Twitter is serving up to users – has been pushing antisemitic tropes through his account,” she shared. 

In her view, Musk should be more mindful of what he is choosing to promote on X. “It is concerning to me that the wealthiest man in the world, who has so much power, who owns an entire social media platform, is using it in such an irresponsible manner – and I’m talking about his own personal account, not the ads Twitter is serving up,” she concluded. “For those of us who are Jewish… we know what this stuff means… so it’s hard for me to take a side. I don’t feel sorry for him and I don’t like Media Matters.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Jashinsky and Johnson by tuning in to episode 673 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.