Elon Musk scandal timing suggests smear campaign

Popular billionaire tycoon Elon Musk has been the target of sexual harassment allegations reminiscent of those against Donald Trump, including the familiar claim of paying for an individual’s silence.

Such claims against Musk are carried by journalists, and occurred at a time when he was clashing with the very same journalistic community about freedom of speech. This indicates that what is happening is a smear campaign, likely by elements associated with the Democratic Party in the United States

Journalists lie

Journalists and mainstream media outlets cannot be trusted. They are able to lie, and then later retract their claims and apologise when the damage is done, thereby continuing to maintain their supposed reputation for journalistic integrity. This 'oops' model of disinformation means that none of the current headlines can be taken seriously, since every point they make may simply be retracted quietly later.

It is entirely possible that some months after all the damage is done, it will quietly emerge that Elon Musk didn't do anything. One could point to Musk's ability to sue for defamation, but this can neither undo the damage to him, nor necessarily cause damage to the business of the offending publication or network.

It could alternatively be the case that Elon Musk’s transgressions are true, but that they are true of virtually all celebrities of similar status in the US. It may be that journalists just use this as a way of attacking the person if they become a political enemy. There seems to be virtually no high-profile individual, especially a political target, in the United States. who doesn't eventually get accused of something grave.

Non sequitur in the free speech debate

Finally, people should bear in mind that Elon Musk’s personal character has little to do with his disputes with journalists and management at Twitter after securing a deal to buy the company. It does nothing to discredit his views of journalistic and online freedoms, any more than spurious and eventually withdrawn rape allegations discredited Julian Assange's journalistic work.