The Poster Child

Ron DeSantis is set to officially launch his much anticipated presidential bid on … Twitter. It’s an odd direction for DeSantis. It’s a continuation of Twitter’s direction since Musk took over. From Slate: Ron DeSantis Is Launching His Campaign on Twitter With Elon Musk. Does That Make Him a Genius or an Idiot? I’d argue that this story is less about DeSantis (it really doesn’t matter where one makes an announcement about something that’s already been happening for years) and more about Elon Musk. Between hiring Tucker Carlson, hosting DeSantis, and the willy nilly spreading of conspiracy theories, Musk is turning Twitter into the new Fox News. Axios covers all the ways that Elon Musk has displaced Rupert Murdoch and Fox News as the king of conservative media in recent weeks. And as Charlie Warzel explains in The Atlantic (Free Article): Twitter Is a Far-Right Social Network. “The site itself has unquestionably transformed under his leadership into an alternative social-media platform—one that offers a haven to far-right influencers and advances the interests, prejudices, and conspiracy theories of the right wing of American politics.”

Yes, Twitter is becoming the modernized (and more extreme) version of Fox News. And yes, Elon is looking to become the modernized Rupert Murdoch. But it’s more than that. He wants to be the new Tucker Carlson, too. Murdoch was satisfied to pull the levers of power from the shadows. Like so many of his dopamine-jonesing Twitter customers, Elon craves the spotlight. It’s not just that Twitter is hosting the DeSantis announcement, Elon Musk himself will be part of the broadcast. DeSantis is the co-star in his own campaign launch.

Musk is the poster child for people who can’t stop posting. He’s a power broker for our era—one who operates not in the shadows but while taking a never-ending selfie. He’s the newsmaker and the news topic. He’s won the economy and the attention economy. But when it comes to this kind of dopamine-driven attention addiction, enough is never enough.

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