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State-level interest in Media Matters shows Republicans are Elon Musk's lackeys

The GOP attorneys general from Texas and Missouri say they're looking into Media Matters after Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against the liberal media watchdog.

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UPDATE (Nov. 29, 2023, 6:36 p.m. ET): X owner Elon Musk, during an appearance Wednesday at The New York Times DealBook Summit, said companies pulling ads from his social media platform after he amplified antisemitic posts should "go f--- yourself."

Watch a clip of the exchange below.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hasn’t skipped a beat in his extremist crusade ever since he was shielded by right-wing legislators during his impeachment trial earlier this year.

On Monday, Paxton announced his office is opening an investigation into liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America after Elon Musk's X sued the organization for reporting that the social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, had placed ads for top companies alongside pro-Nazi content. The report followed Musk’s apparent endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory, which prompted several companies to sever ties with X.?

Musk's lawsuit alleges Media Matters "manufactured" the story to portray X in a negative light. But even social media users have highlighted the ads seen next to pro-Nazi content.

Paxton, nonetheless, apparently wants to be Musk’s white knight.

“We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” he stated in a news release that Musk retweeted.

Another Republican attorney general, Missouri's Andrew Bailey, responded directly to a tweet from Musk, saying his office is “looking into” Media Matters, as well.?

My colleague Mehdi Hasan was spot on in assessing this incident as oligarchy at work.

In a statement, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said:?

Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.

Media Matters, which reports heavily on the conservative media ecosystem, is often the subject of right-wing ire. Musk, in particular, has also targeted the media watchdog NewsGuard, an organization committed to stopping the spread of disinformation.

Republicans — who’ve spent much of the year baselessly whining about the purported weaponization of government against conservatives — seem eager to aid Musk in his efforts to crack down on his critics. And that tracks with rhetoric I’ve been following in the conservative movement lately calling for “lawfare” — essentially, war using the law — against liberals.?

And Paxton appears to be on the front line in this war.?

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