Is There Any Russian Propaganda Useful Imbecile Elon Musk Won't Fall For?
Is Elon Musk the world's easiest mark for all manner of rightwing conspiracy theories and idiocy, including obvious Russian propaganda? Is he a willing conduit for Vladimir Putin's messaging? Both? We don't know. For evidence of the former, look at Elon's tweet output on any day.
For instance this week, where Elon fell for some extremely obvious Russian propaganda. See if you can spot it.
Wow, that's a whole lot of numbers. Who knows if they're real? (More on that in one second!) But wait! Thousands of NATO soldiers have died in Ukraine? But there aren't even NATO soldiers fighting in Ukraine. And if there were, then the entire NATO alliance would be in a hot war with Russia. Which is ...
Exactly what Putin and his apologists want us to believe about Russia's war on Ukraine. That Russia didn't have agency here. That Russia's hand was forced. That this is really Joe Biden's war against Russia. Poor, put-upon Russia, with no choice but to defend itself.
The tweet is still up. Readers have added TONS of context to the original tweet from the Russian propaganda-spreading account, debunking it entirely, just bringing the receipts on how it's totally fake. After all the corrections, Elon replied with a vague request to "please correct the above numbers." It's not entirely clear whose numbers he wants changed — the propaganda numbers, or the factchecker numbers?
But it gets even better. The Russian propaganda-spreader account replied to Elon asking if he would mediate a peace between Russia and Ukraine.
Because Elon Musk is just the guy for that job.
On top of all THAT, Yahoo! News correspondent Michael Weiss directs us to to an actual Turkish journalist who says the "Turkey newspaper" the propaganda-spreader account cited isn't even real. If you click the link in the original tweet, you'll see that the not-real Turkish newspaper is citing Mossad for its claims. Is there a link to a Mossad statement? Nah, they are just saying in the fake Turkish newspaper that this is what Mossad says.
Sounds legit, Elon. Sounds legit.
Here is Elon falling for further bullshit, this time from Maxine Waters beating victim Michael Tracey, spreading the propaganda that there was totally a peace deal about to be signed, but mean old Joe Biden blocked it. (This is a conspiracy theory Tucker has also been spreading.)
Twitter users appended all kinds of debunking to the bottom of that tweet too. Indeed, Naftali fucking Bennett is in the replies there, saying actualllllllllly?
Still, Elon finds Michael Tracey's intrepid tweeting "concerning."
So yes, it is possible that Elon is just the world's easiest mark for obvious Russian propaganda. As Dave Zirin tweeted at him, "a simp, a mark, a sucker." He said he'd love to play some three card monte with Elon.
For circumstantial evidence of the second idea, that he's spreading Russian foreign policy messaging knowingly and willingly, remember that weird tweet he sent before he officially bought Twitter, putting forth his "peace plan" for Ukraine?
First of all, any person who has a "peace plan" for Ukraine that doesn't fit on a note card and doesn't say "Putin get the fuck out, give back all the land you've stolen since 2014 and write us a blank check to rebuild our country" is a Russian tool, of the witting or unwitting variety.
But Elon's "prediction" for Ukrainian peace was specific and oddly aligned with Vladimir Putin's exact views. It was like they had been on AOL Instant Messenger or something. It called for new elections in the areas of Ukraine that Russia stole, thereby giving legitimacy to the idea that there were two sides to the question "Should Russia invade and steal Ukraine's land?" It went ahead and gave Crimea to Russia. (Russia apologists have since last year's invasion tried hard to separate the 2022 Russian stealing of Ukrainian territory from the 2014 stealing of Ukrainian territory, desperate for us to believe that the 2014 seizure of Crimea is OK now.)
But Elon's "prediction" also mentioned water supply issues for Crimea. Timothy Snyder noted wryly that it was kinda weird that Elon mentioned the water supply thing, since it was something "well known to Russian authorities but not common knowledge." In other words, it was something Elon would know fuckall about. (Snyder is good at noticing things that are kinda weird.)
Also we know they have talked on the phone before.
Who knows what exact mixture of fuckery exists inside Elon's head to make him like this.
David Frum has an opinion:
\u201cAs I write, the owner of this platform has left live on his personal timeline for eight hours the false, crazy, and dangerous claim that thousands of NATO personnel have died in battle in Ukraine. If he were just gullible, he'd have deleted and apologized long ago. This is more.\u201d— David Frum (@David Frum) 1675689668
At the very least we can likely all agree that Elon is a useful imbecile for Russia. Seems pretty self-evident.
[h/t Charlie Sykes]
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