Update (2015ET): Texas AG Ken Paxton has officially opened an investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity:
The Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) is opening an investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity.
Under the Texas Business Organizations Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the OAG will vigorously enforce against nonprofits who commit fraudulent acts in or affecting the state of Texas.
Attorney General Paxton was extremely troubled by the allegations that Media Matters, a radical anti-free speech organization, fraudulently manipulated data on X.com (formerly known as Twitter).
“We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” said Attorney General Paxton.
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Early Saturday morning, Elon Musk posted that his social media platform X will be "filing a thermonuclear lawsuit" against left-leaning non-profit Media Matters and "all those who colluded" for "completely misrepresenting" the real user experience on X.
Musk added that X would file the lawsuit on Monday (today), which prompted even more malarkey on X as the day wore on with so many pro-censorship leftists clinging to the hope that Musk was not going to follow-through, with one CNBC reporter going so far as claiming "Musk may have been lying, like he has done before."
Well, he wasn't lying, and time's up for the Media Matters manipulators...
The lawsuit, just filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division, alleges the organization's tactics were manipulative and deceptive.
The suit claims:
Media Matters has opted for new tactics in its campaign to drive advertisers from X. Media Matters has manipulated the algorithms governing the user experience on X to bypass safeguards and create images of X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts adjacent to racist, incendiary content, leaving the false impression that these pairings are anything but what they actually are: manufactured, inorganic, and extraordinarily rare.
Media Matters executed this plot in multiple steps, as X’s internal investigations have revealed.
First, Media Matters accessed accounts that had been active for at least 30 days, bypassing X’s ad filter for new users. Media Matters then exclusively followed a small subset of users consisting entirely of accounts in one of two categories: those known to produce extreme, fringe content, and accounts owned by X’s big-name advertisers. The end result was a feed precision-designed by Media Matters for a single purpose: to produce side-by-side ad/content placements that it could screenshot in an effort to alienate advertisers.
But this activity still was not enough to create the pairings of advertisements and content that Media Matters aimed to produce.
Media Matters therefore resorted to endlessly scrolling and refreshing its unrepresentative, hand-selected feed, generating between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than viewed by the average X user repeating this inauthentic activity until it finally received pages containing the result it wanted: controversial content next to X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts.
Media Matters omitted mentioning any of this in a report published on November 16, 2023 that displayed instances Media Matters “found” on X of advertisers’ paid posts featured next to Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist content. Nor did Media Matters otherwise provide any context regarding the forced, inauthentic nature and extraordinary rarity of these pairings.
However, relying on the specious narrative propagated by Media Matters, the advertisers targeted took these pairings to be anything but rare and inorganic, with all but one of the companies featured in the Media Matters piece withdrawing all ads from X, including Apple, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and IBM—some of X’s largest advertisers. Indeed, in pulling all advertising from X in response to this intentionally deceptive report, IBM called the pairings an “entirely unacceptable situation.” Only Oracle did not withdraw its ads.
The truth bore no resemblance to Media Matters’ narrative. In fact, IBM’s, Comcast’s, and Oracle’s paid posts appeared alongside the fringe content cited by Media Matters for only one viewer (out of more than 500 million) on all of X: Media Matters. Not a single authentic user of the X platform saw IBM ’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to that content, which Media Matters achieved only through its manipulation of X’s algorithms as described above. And in Apple’s case, only two out of more than 500 million active users saw its ad appear alongside the fringe content cited in the article—at least one of which was Media Matters.
Media Matters could have produced a fair, accurate account of users’ interactions with advertisements on X via basic reporting: following real users, documenting the actual, organic production of content and advertisement pairings. Had it done so, however, it would not have produced the outcome Media Matters so desperately desired, which was to tarnish X’s reputation by associating it with racist content. So instead, Media Matters chose to maliciously misrepresent the X experience with the intention of harming X and its business.
Further, X CEO Linda Yaccarino - who has reportedly been under pressure all day by various ad companies to resign - defended the company in a statement on Monday.
"If you know me, you know I'm committed to truth and fairness," she posted.
"Here's the truth. Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM's, Comcast's, or Oracle's ads next to the content in Media Matters' article. Only 2 users saw Apple's ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters. Data wins over manipulation or allegations. Don't be manipulated. Stand with X."
Public's Michael Shellenberger noted that:
"Despite the lack of verified evidence behind Media Matters’ claims, its tactics are highly effective."
Why is Media Matters leading a disinformation campaign and advertiser boycott against Elon Musk’s X?
Who is Media Matters, exactly?
And what’s its real agenda?
...before going into detail on Substack about why Media Matters is a Democratic Party front-Group:
The attacks on X make clear that the real concern of Democratic Party elites is their lack of control over the public conversation.
From 1996 to 2016, Democrats felt they controlled the elite policy and political conversation through the news media. After that appeared to fall apart in 2016, and as Democrats, including Podesta, blamed social media for Clinton’s loss, they stepped up their effort to take control over Twitter and Facebook, which they did, demanding and winning the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop, and deplatforming Trump.
The strategy of Democratic Party leaders, including Clinton, Podesta, and Obama, has been, since 2016, to label Trump-supporting Republicans as racists, Nazis, and antisemites. The attacks on Elon Musk’s X must be taken in this context.
The real agenda behind the Media Matters attack on X is the same as the one behind the Democrats’ attack on Trump and the Republicans. Democrats want to control the conversation.
Without censorship, voters can see that the border is a disaster, the Ukraine war was a tragic failure, and that Democrats have been censoring them.
...we must have greater control over the content we receive through social media platforms.
And we must no longer trust the news media, a trend which is already well underway, including, increasingly, among Democrats.
Is this the beginning of the end of the Censorship Industrial Complex?
One thing is for sure, we are glad not to be the head of Media Matters, Angelo Carusone, who tonight faces his own company's existential threat from a man with the deepest pockets in the world.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone (left), Elon Musk (right)
Read the full lawsuit below: