Just as the 2024 presidential election cycle begins in earnest, Missouri has become Ground Zero in this country’s centuries-long fight for freedom of speech.
Even as he fights at the U.S. Supreme Court against Biden administration censorship of conservative speech online, the Missouri attorney general is looking into alleged coordinated liberal attacks on social media site X, the former Twitter – which he calls “the last platform dedicated to free speech in America.”
AG Andrew Bailey says he is probing whether the far-left Media Matters organization manipulated content on X to scare off advertisers – allegedly using algorithms to pair a few instances of offensive content with ads from major brands – and whether that has defrauded Missouri residents in the process.
Indeed, Elon Musk’s X has filed a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters over it. The lawsuit calls Media Matters’ ad pairings wholly contrived – “manufactured, inorganic and extraordinarily rare.” Writes the New York Post: “X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a statement that the X account used by Media Matters was the sole account that saw some of the ads next to the anti-Semitic posts from the report, the New York Times reported.”
Bailey notified Media Matters in a letter that he’s investigating whether the allegations against it are true and, if so, whether it constitutes fraud against Missourians who’ve contributed to the nonprofit.
“We have reason to believe Media Matters used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to trick advertisers into pulling out of X, the last platform dedicated to free speech in America,” Bailey wrote in a statement.
“Radicals are attempting to kill Twitter because they cannot control it, and we are not going to let Missourians get ripped off in the process. I’m fighting to ensure progressive tyrants masquerading as news outlets cannot manipulate the marketplace in order to wipe out free speech.”
Bailey expounded on his investigation of Media Matters in an exclusive interview with The Heartlander.
“Number one, they lied when they took money from everyday Americans, to include Missourians, and used it to defraud advertisers on X. But then also, they have potentially lied when they manipulated the algorithms on X in order to emphasize controversial speech and bully X and its advertisers.
“The coordinated attack on X was when they opened their own accounts and then manipulated the algorithms to emphasize controversial speech – in order to take controversial speech and juxtapose it with images of X’s major advertisers. And they then broadcast that out as if it was happening frequently, when in fact there are more than 500 million users on X – and in X’s own investigation into the matter there was only one instance in which one of the controversial images appeared adjacent to the major advertiser, and in another instance it only happened twice in 500 million times.
“The odds of winning the Powerball recently have been one in 292 million. So in other words, you would be more likely to win the Powerball than to be able to replicate organically the staged manipulation that Media Matters accomplished.
“Now, why would a 501(c)(3) want to do that? This should scare all Americans. This is a new front in the fight for free speech. What the left couldn’t do through government censorship – because we filed Missouri v. Biden and put a stop to it – they’ve now moved into a new effort. And it’s guerrilla warfare. It’s market manipulation to destroy any public forum for free, fair and open debate.”
Bailey is fighting on that other front as well, helping commandeer the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit filed by his predecessor and now Sen. Eric Schmitt, along with Louisiana, and which is now – in an extraordinary development – before the U.S. Supreme Court, even before the lower courts had finished with it.
Bailey and Co. won an injunction from a federal judge July 4 prohibiting certain agencies of the Biden administration from colluding with social media companies to censor speech. That ruling was predominantly upheld by an appeals court.
The landmark case will determine whether conservatives have freedom of speech online in the runup to the 2024 election.
The AG calls Missouri v. Biden “the most important First Amendment suit in this nation’s history, where we’ve uncovered the relationship of coercion and collusion between the federal government and Big Tech social media to censor American voices in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.”
The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court will be deciding the lawsuit even before the lower courts had a chance to “speaks to the enormous magnitude and implications of the case,” Bailey says.
What Media Matters is alleged to have done to X may be a naked attempt to get around the Missouri v. Biden case, Bailey says.
“Yeah, I think so,” he tells The Heartlander. “Again, what the [liberal] left was doing was censoring conservative speech on Big Tech social media platforms, and what happened in the interim was, they got caught because of Missouri v. Biden and we were able to call them out on it. But Elon Musk purchased Twitter, turned it into X, opened it up, and revealed the Twitter files that exposed the pernicious elements of the vast censorship regime.
“What they can’t accomplish anymore through government censorship, they now seek to accomplish through market manipulation. And the advertisers that are pulling out of X have become pawns in that game.”
There are three fronts in “the war for the soul of America,” Bailey says – the first being the border.
“If we don’t have a border, we don’t have a country. No border, no nation. President Biden has flung the border open and allowed a complete invasion of our country. It’s making Missouri communities less safe.
“[The second front is] the weaponization of government against political opponents. We’ve got this two-tiered justice system where the party in power is persecuting and prosecuting President Trump in order to remove him from the political scene in the United States of America. At some point that becomes a Banana Republic. It undermines the rule of law and our confidence in the system.
“And then the third strategic front is really the fight for free speech. And again, Missouri has been engaged in that fight from the beginning.”