Time To Boycott Elon's Boycotters

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Dec 01, 2023 - 11:11 AM

It was about four years ago that ZeroHedge went through ad monetization hell, having lost most of our advertisers because they did not approve of the content on this website and as a result they - together with such members of the Censorship Industrial Complex such as Newsguard, Sleeping Giants and CheckMyAds and various three letter US government agencies - did everything in their power to kill the site by starving it of ad revenue (it's what prompted us to launch a premium, subscription-supported version without which we would not have survived, and therefore we wish to personally thank all of our premium subscribers).

Fast forward to today, when Elon Musk is going through the same hell, as a growing group of companies are trying to do to X/Twitter what they tried to do to us by targeting the social media network and trying to starve it of ad revenue (their stated trigger of responding to the Media Matters fake news "report" was just a red herring: if it hadn't been for Media Matters, they would have found some other point of "virtue" to rally around, and pull their ads).

Of course, there is one key difference: Elon is the world's richest man, and if Twitter does not generate even one additional dollar of revenue, Elon will still be a multi-billionaire, and X can continue to operate for a long, long time if not in perpetuity (if costs are trimmed enough). It's also why Elon yesterday had some choice words for those advertisers who had halted advertising, telling them "go fuck yourself" (with a shout out to Disney chief Bob Iger) if they think they can blackmail Musk... which is precisely what ad demonetization is: a not so subtle way of pushing content and editorial direction in exchange for a monthly stipend.

Here, a brief tangent: for the most part, advertising spending is rarely about actual "advertising" and instead it is about endorsing, encouraging and funding certain ideologies and party lines which corporations agree with, encourage and seek to make default. It is about influencing the content decisions and editorial slant by implicitly threatening that the ad money can disappear at a moment's notice if something is published the company disagrees with. It's why when Pfizer or Moderna spend tens of millions for advertising in the NYT it is not so people are aware that Pfizer makes a covid booster shot - they know that from non-stop news coverage; it is to make sure that the NYT never questions the corporate party line. In other words, it is public relations in an advertising wrapper. Add to this lobby spending and political donations by those same corporations, and you have a fusion of the corporate, political and media branches, all superglued together with lots of money (and in the case of Pfizer and Moderna, it's taxpayer money) something which in simpler times has been called fascism. Glenn Greenwald recaps this dynamic in the clip below:

As a result, ad companies have unlimited leverage when it comes to dealing with most media companies... except one: X, which as noted above, is controlled by the world's richest man, and thus advertiser leverage in this particular case is virtually non-existent. It's also why instead of pretending they can influence the narrative (and force X to pursue the same censorship as were implemented by the former management team of its predecessor, Twitter) they are simply pulling away and hoping to crush this bastion of free speech, the same way they did to us.

The problem, as Musk laid out, is that while X can sustain without ad revenue for a long time, a complete ad boycott will likely eventually kill X as Musk is unlikely to shoulder the burden of its costs and expenses out of his own pocket indefinitely, and as a result, "what the advertising boycott is going to do is it's going to kill the company."

And while Musk is ready to let X die before he folds to advertiser blackmail, he is confident that "the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail. Let's see how Earth responds."

In other words, the only way these corporations, whether for woke, neo-conservative, militant, progressive, or any other reason, will stop trying to demonetize websites such a X, ZH or any other media outlet they have no leverage over in hopes of snuffing them out, is if the public takes the fight straight to them and starves them of revenue. Think the sales implosion at Tranheuser Busch/Bud Light after the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco, or the collapse of Target stock after the anti-woke backlash.

So yes, the only way that corporate management teams will ever stop weaponizing ad dollars - especially if it means losing access to one of the wealthiest audiences, such as that of Zerohedge, or one of the most engaged readership bases such as that of X, is if their shareholders lose enough money and force management to either change or be fired.

Which is why it is time to boycott the boycotters: below we have summarized the names of those companies which have publicly signaled their "virtue" by pulling their ads from X/Musk.

We are confident there are many more companies that have also pulled their influence "ad" dollars, and we will update the list as more become public. These are the companies that Musk told to "go fuck yourselves" because, well, he can afford to. And while ordinary Americans have far less recourse and don't have nearly enough "fuck you money" as Elon, they have the ability to chose who gets their money instead, and the only way to retaliate to the Musk boycott is by boycotting the boycotters themselves, and stop spending money on products like Disney streaming services, or getting every new iPhone or buying whatever it is that Paris Hilton is selling.

Yes, Apple has no obligation to advertise on X, and neither does Disney, but nobody has an obligation to buy iPhones or to go to (the idiotically overpriced) Disney World. And since boycotting Musk is nothing more than a ploy to project influence (where else does one have the guarantee of reaching the eyeballs of the world's most influential, powerful and richest), it's only fair that retaliation against corporate attempts to starve the First Amendment, takes place in kind.

Which is why the time to boycott the boycotters has arrived: let's find out how these leftist corporations - and their shareholders - like it when their revenues suffer the way that they hope to make Musk suffer; judging by the grassroots response already, we won't have long to wait.