🇺🇸 The Twitter Takeover
April 27, 2022

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! In southwest England, these seabirds are laying eggs for the first time since the 1820s…

Plus, you probably never knew this trick when eating English muffins…

Also, we’re keeping you on trend with this Flag Find.

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 4/26: Direction of Country, Rasmussen Reports Right Track 31,
Wrong Track 63
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 4/26: Biden Job Approval, Rasmussen Reports Approve 41,
Disapprove 58
T 4/25: Generic Congress Vote, Harvard-Harris Republicans 50,
Democrats 50

Trending On The Left


CNN: Kevin McCarthy was asked about his Trump lie. His answer was gibberish

NY Times: Texas’ Busing of Migrants to DC Isn’t Having Abbott’s Intended Effect Yet

Huffington Post: Deborah Birx Says She Was ‘Paralyzed’ By Trump’s Disinfectant Claim

Trending On The Right


Fox News: Top Biden adviser trades the WH for DNC after reportedly insulting 'Squad'

Wash Examiner: Ex-senator and top GOP operatives launch 'conservative' credit card alternative

The Federalist: Dems Have Nothing To Offer Voters So They’re Banking On Censoring Opposition

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QUICK CLICKS

Russia Ratchets Up Rhetoric, More Twitter Fallout, Shanghai and the Supply Chain


World: Russian foreign minister says possibility of nuclear conflict and outbreak of World War III over Ukraine is 'serious, real' (Yahoo)

US: Five things to watch as Elon Musk acquires Twitter (The Hill)

World: Shanghai closures are roiling supply chains for US tech, auto firms (WaPo)

US: Bezos launches China conspiracy theory after Musk buys Twitter (Fox Business)

US: Vice President Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID-19 (ABC)

US: Manchin stirs the pot while other Dems try to resuscitate their party-line vision (POLITICO)

US: Harvard commits $100M to redress its complicity with slavery (CNN)

US: Dow Plunges 800 Points Ahead Of Big Tech Earnings (Forbes)

US: Home prices jumped nearly 20% in February, but slowdown may be coming (CNBC)

US: What's next for first class air travel: floating beds (Axios)

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Twitter Takeover

On Monday, Elon Musk officially reached a deal to acquire the remaining portion of Twitter that he doesn’t already own. He reportedly plans to take the company private and make a series of changes.

News Coverage from the Right: ‘Absolutely Monstrous Win For Free Speech’: Conservatives Cheer Musk Buying Twitter (Daily Wire)

News Coverage from the Left: Twitter employees raise questions about Musk takeover in all-hands meeting (CNN)

From the Flag: Opinions vary among Twitter’s user base, especially concerning Musk’s stated goal of changing the social media platform’s “content moderation strategy.” Here’s the latest from both sides.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Musk’s Vision Is Shortsighted, and Will Lead To Twitter’s Decline


  • Elon Musk says he plans to loosen Twitter’s “content moderation” standards, which will empower online bullies and make harassment more likely.
  • While Musk has successfully acquired the social media platform, changing it will be much more difficult, because Twitter already has an established corporate culture.
  • By acquiring Twitter, Musk is showing he’s no different than any other billionaire, in that he wants to operate outside of laws and accountability.

“Twitter Under Elon Musk Will Be a Scary Place” Greg Bensinger, New York Times Opinion: “Twitter has never been a place for rational, nuanced speech. Expect it to get much, much worse. The decision by Twitter’s board of directors on Monday afternoon to accept a takeover bid from Elon Musk means the company thinks the social media company would be best served by the ownership of a man who uses the platform to slime his critics, body-shame people, defy securities laws and relentlessly hawk cryptocurrencies. Mr. Musk said that central to his vision for the service is for it to be an ‘inclusive arena for free speech,’ but users should understand what that phrase means: It means free speech for people like Mr. Musk, a billionaire and the world’s richest man. … Under the notion that more speech is the best antidote to harmful speech, earnest users can probably expect to be shouted down even more frequently by trolls and bots.”

“Buying Twitter is one thing. Changing it? Good luck with that.” Megan McArdle, Washington Post Opinion: “Ordinary people tend to think of ownership and control as functionally the same; I bought my house, I get to decide if I want to renovate. … Corporate renovations are a whole different level of difficulty. There are certainly policies Musk could alter by executive order, and thereby immediately improve the public discourse. He could rejigger the algorithms to show us tweets in simple reverse chronological order, rather than promoting the tweets most likely to 'engage' us, which would make users less likely to encounter the latest highly engaging outrage. He could de-emphasize advertising, which would lessen advertiser pressure to ban offensive speech. He could ax the retweeting functions that promote the formation of cancellation mobs. All those things would make a big difference — but they would also probably make Twitter a less viable business, costing him a bunch of money.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Elon Musk wants to own Twitter to protect his ‘freedom’, not everyone else’s Robert Reich, The Guardian Opinion

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

A Desire to Control Twitter Sparks Anger, and Change Won’t Be Easy


  • As members of the press and tech community cry foul over Musk’s plans for Twitter, it becomes clear many don’t prefer open discourse, but rather the ability to exert control.
  • Unfortunately, it may be unrealistic to expect many significant changes at Twitter over the short term, because of how corporations are structured.
  • The existing power structure at Twitter has banned stories in the past if they harmed progressives, so this could be good for both journalism and democracy.

“Reaction to Musk Offer Suggests Content Moderation More About Control Than Safety” Kalev Leetaru, Real Clear Politics: “The reaction among the press and tech communities to Elon Musk’s efforts to purchase Twitter has been nothing short of apocalyptic. A common theme has been that democracy itself would be under threat if unelected billionaire oligarchs controlled what was allowed online. Yet this is precisely how social media works today. … Only a year ago, the media cheered the unilateral decisions by a handful of billionaires to effectively banish then-President Donald Trump from the digital public square. Lawmakers and media outlets alike proclaimed the societal benefits of private companies controlling the digital public square beyond the reach of government. In contrast, the possibility of a libertarian-leaning billionaire like Musk wielding that same power has been presented as nothing short of an attack on democracy itself.”

“Are we being blindly optimistic about Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover?” ​​Rajan Laad, American Thinker: “The situation currently on Twitter is such that merely questioning the groupthink can get a user suspended. At times, information is suppressed without the user's knowledge — i.e., the tweet is allowed, but its visibility is restricted. Twitter also allows and promotes trends that are beneficial to the progressive agenda. For conservatives, the hope is that Musk will liberate the platform from its overwhelming leftward bias and restore free speech. … On Twitter, liberal users are threatening to quit the platform, much like how they threatened to leave the U.S. when Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. Twitter's board may have accepted Musk's offer, but that doesn't mean things change magically. … There are copious policies and standards.  There are rules of corporate governance that mandate multi-level approvals for any changes. All of this means abundant red tape before any change is allowed to percolate.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Elon Musk is good for Twitter, journalism — and democracy Editorial Board, The New York Post

FLAG THIS

Majority Give Musk Nod of Approval, Twitter Employees Sound Off Too


A poll published Monday found 57% of respondents approved of Elon Musk buying Twitter, while 43% said they were opposed (Harvard CAPS-Harris).

Meanwhile, in a worker-run survey of around 200 Twitter employees, 44% said they were neutral on Musk, while 27% said they loved him, and 27% admitted they hate him (Blind).

Our weekly finance newsletter The Street Sheet (sign up here) asked “do you think Elon Musk taking over Twitter will be good or bad for the world?” — 72.6% responded “good” while 27.4% said “bad.”

Flag Poll: Is it a good thing that Elon Musk bought Twitter? Join our discussion here.

FLAG FINDS

Hello Birdies, Say Bye-Bye Stress, Stepping Out in Clogs


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WATERCOOLER

President Grant Born, Floating City, Wendy's From KFC

On April 27, 1822, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War leader and 18th president of the United States was born. Above is an engraving of his birthplace in Point Pleasant, Ohio. 

CNBC: Here’s what the world’s first floating city in Busan, South Korea, could look like

StylistFriendship Ghosting: “I Haven’t Replied to My Friends for Over a Year. Now I Want to Get Back in Touch”

Popular ScienceAstronomers just caught a ‘micronova’—a small but mighty star explosion

Today I Learned about Dave Thomas, who was a mentee of Colonel Sanders, and later sold his stake in four of his franchises back to Sanders for $1.5 million. He then went on to found a chain of restaurants called Wendy's.

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