Cockburn has always had some formidable business rivals to contend with. It’s not easy competing with the likes of other thinly sourced gossip rags like Page Six and the Washington Post (even if Cockburn is confident he could drink the staff at all those publications under the table).
Yet so far as competition goes, it’s Elon Musk who has it the worst this week. Last night, Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, a calm and rational discussion site where people like to post helpful gardening tips and delicious recipes. “The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted, though there are at least a few people (outside the expected left-wing freak-out) who won’t be quite so pleased.
One of them is Donald Trump, the founder of Truth Social, a social media network that claims to place an emphasis on free speech. That means Trump is not just a rival of Musk but is working off of the same business model. Musk, remember, has promised to stop censoring conservative tweets and loosen Twitter’s content moderation standards. That infringes directly on the mission of Truth Social, though as Ben Kew pointed out last week, that mission has become increasingly muddled.
Once upon a time, Trump had only nice things to say about Musk. That all changed last summer when Musk tweeted that he was leaning towards supporting Ron DeSantis for president. Since then, Trump has trashed Musk as a “bullshit artist” who would be “worthless” without government subsidies to support his businesses. Expect even more tension between these two as they become rival social media magnates — even if the playing field between them is hardly level.
Still, Cockburn always holds out hope for peace, especially when it comes to the downtrodden multibillionaires of this world. And thankfully Musk has already extended an olive branch: Trump, he says, is welcome to return to Twitter anytime (Twitter had previously banned Trump after the January 6 riot). Cue left-wingers having a meltdown over a fake statement saying Trump’s account would be reinstated by Monday. On such deliciously fertile ground, may a rapprochement yet bloom.
Yet even if Musk and Trump do make nice (think a kind of trollish Yalta), another rival has emerged from the mist. Kanye West recently agreed to purchase the right-leaning social media site Parler. In which case, we’ve got some real captains of industry on our hands here — even if Cockburn can still down more vodka shots than any of them.