October 5, 2022

The on-again, off-again relationship between Elon Musk and Twitter is apparently back on again. Well, maybe.

The world’s richest man, in a letter to the company, says he’s willing to buy the social media platform after all — for the price ($54.20 per share) he agreed to pay back in April.

So, yeah, we’ve heard this before.

Since April, Musk and Twitter have had a nasty back-and-forth, with Musk questioning, among other things, the number of bots on the site. That led Musk to attempt to back out of the deal, and that led Twitter to file suit against Musk. The trial is set to begin later this month, and Musk is to be deposed later this week.

That raises the question of whether Musk is serious this time or if it’s some sort of legal maneuver.

The New York Times’ Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch wrote, “… a deal could allow both sides to avoid a messy public trial, which most likely would have featured testimony from Mr. Musk and senior Twitter executives.”

Twitter put out a statement that said, “We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.”

Ann Lipton, a professor of business law at Tulane University, told The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto, “What’s ultimately strange about it is that it’s the most predictable ending. Of course cases settle before trial, of course cases settle before the deposition of the top guy. The only thing that’s surprising is that he didn’t manage to knock a dollar off the deal price.”

Experts are guessing Twitter will accept Musk’s proposal. But CNN’s Clare Duffy wrote, “Twitter may not want to hit pause on the litigation, per Musk’s proposal, until the deal is officially closed, according to Columbia Law School professor Eric Talley. The company may want to proceed with the litigation process as it negotiates with Musk, in case his offer to complete the deal falls through again.”

Meanwhile, Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, put out a scathing statement, saying, “From the outset, Elon Musk’s desire to take over Twitter was about advancing his own red-pilled ideological agenda. He was explicit about his intentions, which is why right-wing extremists celebrated the news. With reports that Musk is now on the cusp of acquiring Twitter, the platform will become a supercharged engine of radicalization if he follows through with even a fraction of what he has promised. This isn’t alarmism, this is fact. Musk made it clear that he would roll back Twitters’ community standards and safety guidelines, reinstate Donald Trump along with scores of other accounts suspended for violence and abuse, and open the floodgates of disinformation. In effect, Musk will turn Twitter into a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and operationalized harassment.”

Carusone’s statement went on to say, “The sale of Twitter is the end of the company as we know it, and the beginning of a more toxic platform with incredible potential for real-world harm.”

A last-minute bombshell

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker campaigning last month in Georgia. (AP Photos/Bill Barrow, File)

A month before the midterm elections, a political bomb went off Monday night when The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger reported that a woman claimed she and Georgia Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker conceived a child and that Walker urged her to get an abortion. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said Walker reimbursed her for it. The story has some documentation, including a receipt from the abortion clinic, a photo of a check to her from Walker, as well as a get-well card she claims is from Walker.

Walker is a pro-life candidate who wants to completely ban abortions with no exceptions. Walker posted a statement on Twitter that called the story a “flat-out lie” and that he denies it in “the strongest possible terms.”

Walker is running against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a hotly contested race.

One of Walker’s sons, Christian, then took to Twitter to criticize his father, tweeting, “I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability. But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man.’ You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.”

Christian Walker then posted other tweets, including videos.

Will this actually impact the senate race?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein, who is as plugged in as anyone in Georgia politics, wrote the latest news “may pose the greatest threat yet to the Republican’s bid.”

Talking about the former University of Georgia and NFL star, one former executive director of the state GOP told Bluestein, “Herschel has fumbled as he was about to score. And the clock is running out.”

Bluestein wrote, “Democrats, meanwhile, have treated the developments with a sense of restrained glee. Warnock has been reluctant to wade into the issue, perhaps in fear of generating a unifying moment for his opponent. Some nervous Democrats talked privately about avoiding a ‘boomerang’ effect.”

Wait, there’s more …

Politico’s Meridith McGraw, Natalie Allison and Sam Stein reported late Tuesday afternoon that high-ranking GOP officials in the state, including some advising Walker’s team, knew about the abortion allegations and warned Walker that they could damage his campaign.

The Politico reporters wrote, “It was brought to the attention of those working on Walker’s behalf, in part as a means of discouraging him from running. His team downplayed the potential disruption it would cause. But, according to one of those people, they did not outright deny it.”

According to the story, some had heard about the allegations last year.

One person close to the Walker camp told Politico, “I think people were holding out hope that we have five weeks to go and it would never come out, but you can never bet on the waiting game.”

Politico went on to write, “​​Walker has had a slew of high-profile Republicans rush to his defense as well, including many who — like Trump — have said they are convinced by and comfortable with his denial. Instead, they’ve chosen to rerun a now familiar play: accusing the media of trying to destroy a Republican candidate, despite the evidence presented in the piece.”

But this is clear: The Daily Beast story brought receipts. Sollenberger’s story appears solid, and while Walker has his defenders, it seems ill-advised at this point to claim the story isn’t true.

Cuomo is back

Chris Cuomo’s NewsNation show debuted this week and, in his first show, he started by telling viewers, “The past is prologue, meaning that all that has happened before led to this moment, and so it is with me being here with you tonight. I believe that.”

The former CNN prime-time host went on to say, “It’s obvious to me that we need people in my position to do more, to not just play or even referee the game that is plaguing our politics and society. That means exposing the game, show when it’s played, show how it’s being played, and also to be more transparent about where my head is on the issues that we cover.”

About the debut episode, The Daily Beast’s Corbin Bolies wrote that Cuomo took an all-sides approach, with Cuomo saying, “… because it’s time to get past the left or right.”

Boiles wrote, “In doing so, Cuomo seemed to incorporate characters who are not fully embraced by their own parties. … The show did, however, serve as a prime model for Cuomo’s embrace of an expanded party system, touting his podcast’s model of being a ‘free agent’ to his audience. It also allowed him to reintroduce himself, and his family’s history, on a personal level to NewsNation viewers, starting the show with an acknowledgment of his father’s governorship and ending the show with a phone-in from his mother. It was a new show for NewsNation, but it was a new moment for Cuomo.”

Black out

The Washington Post continues rolling out stories in its impressive and important “Black Out” series about the lack of diversity among NFL head coaches. The latest story, published on Tuesday, is by Gus Garcia-Roberts: “The failed NFL diversity ‘rule’ corporate America loves.” The story looks at the Rooney Rule, which was implemented in 2003 and requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coach opening.

Garcia-Roberts wrote, “After apparent success initially, including a Super Bowl matching two Black head coaches and a 2011 season with seven Black men at the helm, racial equity on football sidelines has plunged, with once-encouraging news about the NFL’s diversity revival giving way to a bleakly repetitive news cycle: Black coaches are fired, qualified Black candidates are passed over, and teams are accused of gaming the interview requirement with no fear of consequences.”

Garcia-Roberts went on to write, “… an investigation by The Washington Post of the rule’s origins and spread — including interviews with insiders to its history and corporate diversity experts, as well as a review of previously unreported documents — suggests the league for years did too little to exert the influence it did have over its 32 teams. Instead, it clung to a policy that repeatedly proved fallible.”

The story also looks at how some in corporate America followed the same blueprint as the Rooney Rule with equally poor results because of, Garcia-Roberts writes, “allegations of sham interviews, a lack of enforcement and illusory results. Once considered cutting-edge, the rule now runs counter to more recent scholarship suggesting that corporate diversity is achieved through incentives and culture-building rather than mandates.”

This entire series, which will continue throughout the NFL season, is superb.

On the move

Big move in the journalism world. Kat Downs Mulder, who has been chief product officer and managing editor of the Washington Post, is joining Yahoo News as senior vice president and general manager. Yahoo announced the news Tuesday after Axios’ Sara Fischer had the scoop.

As Fischer points out, this is the latest shakeup involving senior leadership at the Post. Last month, Post tech and data chief Shailesh Prakash announced he is headed for a new executive role at Google. And over the summer, Kristine Coratti Kelly, the Post’s former chief communications officer, bolted for CNN to become executive vice president and global head of communications.

At Yahoo, Downs Mulder will oversee global products, editorial and strategy for a unified Yahoo News — including the Yahoo homepage, news, entertainment and lifestyle content. In a statement, Downs Mulder said, “My time leading news, product and engineering highlights the importance of evolving as the industry changes. Yahoo News has been a trusted leader in news for millions globally. I look forward to being part of this next chapter of Yahoo’s journey as we develop products and services that will shape the future of how people get their information.”

Media tidbits

Natalie Morales during her appearance on Tuesday’s “CBS Mornings.” (Courtesy: CBS News)

  • Natalie Morales joined “CBS Mornings” as a guest on Tuesday to talk about her new role as a CBS News correspondent. In addition to continuing moderating “The Talk,” Morales also will be seen filing reports for CBS News shows such as “CBS Mornings,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and “48 Hours.”
  • More Washington Post news: Stuart Leavenworth is joining The Post as the climate and environment department’s policy, politics and power editor. Leavenworth joins the Post from the Los Angeles Times, where he was an enterprise and environment editor.
  • The details coming out of Maggie Haberman’s book about Donald Trump get better and more bizarre every day. Check out this, uh, junk, which you have to just read to believe.
  • CNN correspondent Amara Walker has been named co-anchor of “New Day Weekend,” which airs Saturdays from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern and Sunday from 6 to 8 a.m. Eastern. She will co-anchor alongside Boris Sanchez. Walker and Sanchez also will anchor “CNN Newsroom” from 10 to 11 a.m. Eastern on Saturdays. Walker replaces longtime anchor Christi Paul, who left this summer to go back to working local news in her home state of Ohio.
  • LaFontaine Oliver has been named CEO of New York Public Radio. Oliver is president and chief executive of Baltimore public radio station WYPR. He also has been on the board of NPR since 2016 and is chair of NPR’s board of directors. Oliver replaces Goli Sheikholeslami, who left to become chief executive of Politico.
  • Variety’s Brian Steinberg with “Paramount Global Faces Late-Night Challenge With Trevor Noah and James Corden Set to Exit.”
  • If you’re a baseball and sports media fan, you’ll enjoy a recent “The Press Box” podcast when host Bryan Curtis interviews Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner, who also talks about his days as a Yankees announcer and as anchor of ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
  • CNN Audio has launched “Downside Up”  this week — a 10-episode limited-series podcast hosted by CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza. The series focuses on an alternate reality around the things in our lives that we’ve accepted as normal. The first episode, for instance, is called, ‘What would the world look like without flavor?”

Hot type

The great Loretta Lynn has died. The country music star was 90. Today’s hot type is dedicated to the Coal Miner’s Daughter.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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