Posted on May 10, 2023

Elon Musk’s Obsession With Anti-White Bias

Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria, Popular Information, May 9, 2023

On May 1, Jordan Neely, an unhoused subway busker and Michael Jackson impersonator with a history of mental illness, was killed on the F train in New York City. {snip}

Daniel Penny, a white 24-year-old passenger and former marine, approached Neely from behind and put him in a chokehold for several minutes. {snip}

The far right, unable to defend Penny’s conduct, has criticized media coverage of Neely’s murder. They have pushed unsubstantiated, misleading, and false information to suggest that the media is only covering the story because Neely was Black and Penny is white. Online, these claims have attracted the attention of Twitter’s billionaire CEO, Elon Musk.

For example, the Twitter account @endwokeness, which has 1.1 million followers, has relentlessly pushed the narrative that the media has an anti-white bias. One tweet that has been viewed more than 16 million times suggests that “Black on White” crime is the most common form of crime but receives scant media attention. Musk, who has 138 million followers, responded by accepting the premise and asking why “the media [would] misrepresent the real situation to such an extreme degree?”

Musk’s reply exposed the tweet to millions of additional people. But it is still grossly misleading.

One major issue with the chart, which has been circulated online for years by racists since it first appeared in The Blaze in 2019, is that it excludes “White on White” and “Black on Black” crime. Crimes by whites against other whites are by far the most common type of crime in the United States.


Further, the chart does not normalize the data based on population. The data is based on the Department of Justice’s 2018 Crime Victimization report when about 75% of Americans were white. So there will be more white victims of crimes because there are many more white people in the United States than other races.


Musk also promoted numerous other tweets claiming the media was ignoring crimes with a white victim and a Black perpetrator. In one instance, Musk expressed alarm at a claim that a May 4 incident of a Black man in Oklahoma who killed two white victims “because they were white” was ignored by the media and treated as a “meaningless local story.”


Another tweet claimed that “a black man threw his infant down a flight of stairs and threw his white wife off a rooftop” and there was “ZERO OUTRAGE.” Musk responded that this was “concerning.” {snip}

Musk is clinging to anything he reads that suggests the media has an anti-white bias. But the evidence suggests the opposite is true.


These biases in coverage, aside from perpetuating racist thinking, have contributed to making the criminal justice system more punitive towards Black people. “Racially biased media coverage has been a substantial factor contributing to unreliable and unjust outcomes in the criminal legal system,” Byran Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said in a 2021 press release. And, when white Americans associate crime with people of color, they’re more likely to support punitive criminal justice policies, research shows.