Billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk continued his wave of populist eccentricity, trolling the news satire site The Onion by promoting its more conservative competitor The Babylon Bee.
This past Saturday, the more left-leaning satire site The Onion tweeted a fake news article, titled “The Habits Of Silicon Valley’s Most Powerful Fortune 500 CEOs,” that featured Elon Musk among other Big Tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Jeff Bezos. In response, Musk recommended people check out The Babylon Bee.
“Have you read @TheBabylonBee? It’s great!!” he tweeted.
Have you read @TheBabylonBee? It’s great!!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2021
A quick glance at the comments revealed that Musk’s reply earned mostly positive responses with a few negatives in between. His tweet followed his promotion of the recent GameStop stock surge where the Reddit forum WallStreetBets created a short squeeze on billionaire hedge fund managers by driving up the price of GameStop (GME) stock.
In 2019, the Babylon Bee recruited legal representation after the fact-checking site Snopes published an allegedly defamatory piece accusing the outlet of using satire as a “ruse” to deliberately mislead its readers — a charge that Snopes never once leveled against the openly satirical site The Onion.
Speaking with The Daily Wire’s Christian Toto recently, Seth Dillon, The Babylon Bee CEO, explained how Facebook threatened to demonetize the site’s page if it did not censor one of its articles poking fun at Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
The Bee piece’s headline, “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch” referenced a classic Monty Python routine.
“Oh, she’s a witch alright, just look at her!” the Bee fictitiously quoted Hirono. “Just look at the way she’s dressed and how she’s so much prettier and smarter than us! She’s in league with Beelzebub himself, I just know it! We must burn her!”
The Bee satire triggered Facebook’s algorithms, a process that eventually gave way to a manual content review.
The story “incites violence,” and Facebook pulled the article from the Bee’s page on its own.
After battling with Facebook back and forth, the article was eventually allowed to stay and the social media giant dismissed the incident as a “mistake.”
“It’s always a mistake,” Dillon said. “They’re reaching, stretching to make us in violation of their community standards.”
Musk’s promotion of The Babylon Bee comes after he rocked the halls of the Twitterverse last year when he said “take the red pill” and “cancel cancel culture” with no further clarification.
Prior to his infamous “red pill” tweet, Musk had been urging governors to reopen the economy and even went as far as to call the coronavirus lockdown orders “fascist.” He also expressed opposition to a second economic stimulus while expressing his support for Universal Basic Income (UBI).
“As a reminder, I’m in *favor* of universal basic income,” he tweeted. “Goal of government should be to maximize the happiness of the people. Giving each person money allows them to decide what meets their needs, rather than the blunt tool of legislation, which creates self-serving special interests.”
“Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people imo,” he continued. “These are jammed to gills with special interests earmarks. If we do a stimulus at all, it should just be direct payments to consumers.”