Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, spoke about the challenges faced by new media in the context of traditional media competition at the European Jewish Association (EJA) conference in Krakow, Poland and how the media’s efforts to “cancel” him are driven by fear of competition.
Joined by Ben Shapiro, Musk engaged in a comprehensive discussion covering anti-Semitism, free speech, and the evolving landscape of social media.
During their hour-long conversation, Shapiro inquired about the recent surge in critical media coverage of Musk, particularly following his acquisition of the social media platform. Musk attributed this to X’s growing competitive edge over legacy media outlets, suggesting that traditional media feels threatened by X’s increasing market share and influence. He proposed that this competition for user attention is driving the legacy media’s attempts to discredit X and himself.
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“The reality is that X is competition for the legacy media. X is where people go to get the most current news and learn about the world. So, the legacy media are our direct competitors, so they’re really going to find every angle to try to cancel X,” Musk said. He then suggested that X was carving attention away from traditional markets as viewers interests’ swapped over to social media, away from traditional print and cable media.
“If you want to know why things are happening, look at the incentives, you know? Legacy media has had a tough time with respect to usage,” Musk said.
“The numbers I saw was that the sort of traditional print-cable television viewership went down something like 20-30% last year. On the other hand, X went up roughly the same, roughly 20-30%,” he added. “It’s a direct competition for people’s attention. So, if there’s some attack they can levy against me, they will.”
Musk highlighted the shifting dynamics in media consumption, noting a decline in traditional print and cable television viewership, contrasted with the rising popularity of X. He emphasized that any opportunity to undermine him or X is likely to be seized upon by these traditional media outlets.
The EJA conference focused on the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, particularly following the intensification of the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Shapiro and Musk discussed the Western response to this conflict and the role of social media in shaping public perception. Shapiro commended Musk for his content moderation policies on X, which permitted the sharing of graphic footage from the conflict, contributing to a more informed public understanding of the situation.