Elon Musk is a hard man to pin down.
How do you precisely define a guy who completely transformed the automobile and aerospace industries, has amassed more wealth than any other human in history and spends much of his free time posting crude jokes and silly memes?
Nevertheless, the New York Times took a crack at it on Thursday. In a blatant hit piece citing the billionaire’s upbringing in apartheid South Africa, the Times summed up Musk’s motivations with two words — “white privilege.”
Musk’s mother — fashion model Maye Musk — isn’t having it.
In just a few short sentences, Musk’s mother pointed out one simple fact no doubt lost on the big-government leftists over at the Times: Government is the problem.
In South Africa, if you publicly opposed apartheid, you went to jail. In Russia, if you publicly oppose the war, you go to jail. @nytimes are you going to blame children for decisions made by governments? #StopTheWar 🇺🇦 https://t.co/4wJt1ui0st
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) May 5, 2022
“In South Africa, if you publicly opposed apartheid, you went to jail. In Russia, if you publicly oppose the war, you go to jail. @nytimes are you going to blame children for decisions made by governments?” Maye Musk tweeted on Thursday.
Following harsh critical backlash, the Times did some stealth editing to the story, portraying Musk as much more progressive on race issues (which is accurate to the billionaire’s history) than the original piece did.
For the hit piece, reporters John Eligon and Lynsey Chutel interviewed over a dozen acquaintances and relatives of Musk regarding the billionaire’s childhood years.
The Times framed these quotes in a way to suggest that Musk’s vision of Twitter — a free-speech public town square — will promote the kind of “misinformation” that held up South Africa’s pre-1990s apartheid policies.
However, the Times described South African government propaganda as “misinformation.”
“Mr. Musk, 50, grew up in the economic hub of Johannesburg, the executive capital of Pretoria and the coastal city of Durban. His suburban communities were largely shrouded in misinformation,” the Times reported.
“Newspapers sometimes arrived on doorsteps with whole sections blacked out, and nightly news bulletins ended with the national anthem and an image of the national flag flapping as the names of white young men who were killed fighting for the government scrolled on the screen.”
“Mr. Musk has heralded his purchase of Twitter as a victory for free speech, having criticized the platform for removing posts and banning users. It is unclear what role his childhood — coming up in a time and place in which there was hardly a free exchange of ideas and where government misinformation was used to demonize Black South Africans — may have played in that decision.”
What seems to be lost on the Times, however, is the fact that this South African “misinformation” wasn’t a result of unfiltered free speech.
It was the result of a carefully calculated government propaganda campaign.
According to The Guardian, “from the earliest days of apartheid in the late 1940s,” the South African government launched its propaganda campaign in a bid for U.S. support for its “white minority government.”
Government-controlled newspapers, bulletins and broadcasts all forwarded this effort. Private-public relations firms were hired to tell the truth — as the government saw it, that is.
In the ’70s, pro-apartheid partisan Connie Mulder was hired on as “Minister of Information,” the head of the government’s “Department of Information.”
This seems oddly reminiscent of the Biden administration’s “Disinformation Governance Board,” doesn’t it?
The U.S. government recently hired partisan leftist Nina Jankowicz to head up what many are now referring to as Biden’s own “Ministry of Truth,” in order to combat “misinformation” that doesn’t fall in line with the government’s view of “the truth.”
This is clearly the problem, not Musk’s vision for Twitter. In fact, if a Musk-style free-speech platform had existed at the time, it’s quite possible the South African regime would have been toppled decades earlier.
After all, in parts of the world where citizens had open access to information, the apartheid regime was incredibly unpopular. Had South Africans been exposed to these ideas via Twitter, the government’s stranglehold on information would have been erased.
If the Times really was hoping to prevent another apartheid regime from coming into power, its journalists would be covering these incredible excesses of Biden’s “Disinformation Board.”
Instead, much like many South African publications of the 20th century, the Times has decided to regurgitate the government’s anti-free-speech talking points.