“First they came for the journalists …. We don’t know what happened after that.”
It’s a meme, based on that famous poem from the Holocaust, that started making the rounds on social media with the inauguration in 2017 of Donald Trump and his administration’s cries of “Fake News” every time he or someone in the administration was called out for their lies. Trump himself qaccused the media of being an “enemy of the American people” and being “most dishonest” people, even going so far as to threaten NBC’s FCC license.
So right-wing attacks on the media aren’t new, and the fact that the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, announced today (Monday, Nov. 20) that he is launching an “investigation” into the nonprofit watchdog organization Media Matters for “potential fraudulent activity.”
Paxton’s announcement came shortly after X owner Elon Musk filed a federal lawsuit against Media Matters for reporting that advertisements from major brands appeared next to antisemitic posts on X. Apparently Paxton feels like Texas needs to investigate because that report prompted companies to pull ads from X.
Paxton, according to a press release from his office, said, “We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square.”
Media Matters for America, founded in 2004, is a “web-based … progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” according to the organization’s website.
But apparently, questioning right-wing lies is an act of fraud in Texas. At least, it is to the state’s AG, the man impeached by the Texas House of Representatives this summer, under federal indictment for securities fraud, under investigation by the FBI for abuse of power and facing a civil lawsuit for firing former top aides in his office who reported his illegal activities to the FBI.
Apparently Paxton was “extremely troubled by the allegations that Media Matters, a radical anti-free speech organization, fraudulently manipulated data on X.com (formerly known as Twitter),” the press release from the AG’s office said.
“Under the Texas Business Organizations Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the OAG will vigorously enforce against nonprofits who commit fraudulent acts in or affecting the state of Texas,” the press release noted.