CNN host Don Lemon asked a guest Monday whether reporters should treat Tesla CEO Elon Musk like they treated former President Donald Trump.
“[T]here is a huge place for Twitter. I think that he should be taking it more seriously. I think these polls and the antics is just to — it’s right out of the Trump playbook, which is what I feel. And that he is manipulating the media in order to get attention,” Lemon said to Ben Smith of Semafor. “So can you put this into perspective. Should journalists pull out their Trump playbook in order to deal with what Elon Musk is doing at Twitter? Is it a page out of the same book?”
Musk closed the deal to purchase Twitter on Oct. 27, and said he sought to restore free speech to the site, the Wall Street Journal reported. Journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss and Michael Shellenberger reported on the extent of how Twitter censored conservatives, including at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a series of releases initially posted on the social media site starting Dec. 2, prompting multiple media outlets and figures to attack the release of the documents.
Since Musk acquired Twitter, he laid off a large percentage of the workforce while also making multiple policy changes that drew criticism from the media, including a new policy on doxxing that led to the suspension of multiple journalists. Following backlash from a proposed policy to ban linking to competing social networks, Musk posted a poll asking whether he should step down as CEO of Twitter, with 57% of respondents saying he should leave.
“I think that’s a really good observation. And there’s one particular thing Trump would do, he would violate some long-standing norm in order to largely get attention and drive, you know, the keepers of the norms, including journalists totally nuts and get a ton of attention,” Smith responded. “And then sort of walk it back. And I think one difference, Kaitlan, you covered this with Trump’s first term in particular is that Trump actually didn’t know how to be an executive yet and he would say he was going to do something, cause massive outrage and then not do it.”
“One thing about Musk, he knows how to run a company, in a technical sense, knows where the buttons and levers are,” Smith continued. “So when he’s made an outrageous decision, he’s been able to implement it very fast and you’ve seen it ripple through the functions and it was not true of the west wing in 2017.”
Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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