Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Musk's Challenge to Murdoch Is Back to Square One

Elon Musk thinks big, like electric cars, rockets to space, owning social media sites, etc. One thing that he has obviously been mulling is a challenge to Rupert Murdoch to be king of the right wing mountain. Since the Internet is gradually replacing television as the world's main information source, it is certainly possible that a polished right-wing news site could challenge a polished right-wing television network for dominance in the right-o-sphere.

Unfortunately for Musk, last week's disastrous rollout of Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) presidential campaign changed all that. The botched announcement showed not only that DeSantis was not ready for prime time but also that Musk's new baby, Twitter Spaces, explodes just as nicely as his rockets. And even if all had gone well, the audience was never more than 600,000 at any moment, far less than the 2-3 million that Fox News gets during prime time. In the battle for conservative eyeballs, there is also the matter of whether people would prefer to spend a couple of hours a day staring at a large-screen TV or a 4-inch phone.

DeSantis' decision to bet on Musk rather than Murdoch was an intentional snub of Fox "News" and Murdoch. Does DeSantis feel that Murdoch is still in the tank for Trump and there is nothing he can do to change that, so his goal was to take Fox News down a couple of pegs and make Musk the new kingmaker? Maybe, but in any event, it didn't work and both DeSantis and Musk have to start all over again. It's not clear how Musk can get rebooted, although if he can line up Tucker Carlson to appear exclusively on Twitter Spaces, that might work. On the other hand, if Carlson is Musk's only star, who will be the bossing who around there? Also, Carlson's contract with Fox says he can't join the competition for over another year, so Fox might either stop paying him or sue him or both if he helps Musk start a news or entertainment source that competes with Fox.

In any event, the explosion (on Twitter, not in space), is surely going to stymie Musk's ambitions for a while and the easiest way to reboot (getting Carlson to host a daily program on Twitter Spaces) is apparently fraught with technical problems. Musk seems to understand that all is not well in Twitter land, so he just hired Linda Yaccarino to run Twitter. But her background is television marketing, not technology, and his problem is more technology than marketing so she might not be the best choice to fit the moment. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates