Media Matters was sued on Monday by Elon Musk’s X Corp., alleging the watchdog organization falsely represented the social media firm last week by revealing that pro-Nazi messages were showing up next to advertisements for well-known companies. The complaint stated that Media Matters “knowingly and maliciously” created deceptive graphics and presented them as though they reflected a normal user experience. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The group is charged in the lawsuit with launching a “smear campaign” against X, the former Twitter.
On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who supports Trump, declared that the left-leaning group was the subject of a probe for “possible fraudulent activity.” Many firms, including Apple Inc. (AAPL), IBM Corp. (IBM), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), and Walt Disney Co. (DIS), banned their advertising on X following the release of the Media Matters study, which came out shortly after Musk seemed to support an antisemitic conspiracy theory in an X post.
Musk’s swear to Sue the media
Musk vowed to sue Media Matters and other detractors with a “thermonuclear” lawsuit on Friday. Calling the group “pure evil,” he defended himself on Saturday.
“This past week, there were hundreds of bogus media stories claiming that I am antisemitic,” he tweeted. “Nothing could be further from the truth. I wish only the best for humanity and a prosperous and exciting future for all.”
X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a tweet on Monday that “not a single authentic user” viewed pro-Nazi content adjacent to the advertisements listed in Media Matters’ piece, and she accused the organization of falsifying the data.
Ken White, a Los Angeles-based First Amendment and criminal defense lawyer, said that the choice to file in Texas could have been made in order to get around legislation that has been established in dozens of states, the District of Columbia, and California that prohibits pointless lawsuits that are intended to silence critics.
Using the abbreviation for so-called “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” White stated on the X alternative BlueSky, “X filed this in federal court in Texas to avoid application of an anti-SLAPP statute.”
Case in the court of Judge Pittman
District Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointment who has already been at the center of some of the greatest legal disputes in the country, has been given Monday’s case. One of two such instances to reach the Supreme Court was Pittman’s blocking of President Joe Biden’s offer to erase up to $20,000 in student loan debt last November.
A Texas statute that forbids anyone between the ages of 18 and 20 from carrying pistols in public was declared illegal by Pittman in August, citing inconsistencies with US history and the Second Amendment.
After an arduous, months-long process in which he attempted to back out of the sale due to concerns about the percentage of Twitter accounts that were real, Musk finally purchased the social media site, then known as Twitter Inc., last October for $44 billion.