Guy Makes Statement

Elon Musk did a tweet.

Yesterday Elon Musk did a tweet.

Musk’s Neuralink implants brain chip in its first human subject,” reported the Washington Post’s Kelsey Ables. But, did they?

Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Musk and Neuralink did not provide further details about who received the implant or whether it was working.

Musk didn’t say how many neurons the company’s device is detecting. The company didn’t provide detailed safety and efficacy data that would be needed to gauge the success of the implant, researchers said.

Neuralink reposted Musk's Monday post on X, but did not publish any additional statements acknowledging the human implant. The company did not immediately respond to The Associated Press' requests for comment Tuesday.

There has been no independent verification of Mr Musk's claims, nor has Neuralink provided any information about the procedure he says has taken place.

[No request for information beyond Musk’s tweet reported.]

Neuralink has FDA approval for human trials and began recruiting subjects in September, so maybe they did. There is apparently no way to know. What we know for sure is: Elon Musk did a tweet.

But it’s entirely possible that the news is true, and most of the stories about it do try to make clear that Musk’s tweet is the only source we have so far. My only objection is the fairly minor one that given his history, framing this as “Musk announced his brain-chip company made a big step forward with absolutely zero corroboration from the company itself… what’s up with that?” is a more interesting (and accurate) story than “Neuralink did the next thing it said it was going to do.” But whatever, we have infinite pixels, no reason not to cover it.

By contrast, last Wednesday Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement in his official capacity as the Governor of the second largest and second most populous U.S. state declaring that “The federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States” and Texas will not respect the Supreme Court’s ruling that its National Guard “can’t block federal agents from the border.” Pretty wild stuff! There’s “compact theory” language in there that echoes Southern secessionists from Civil War I. Abbott’s position seems to imply that the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Border Patrol could set to shooting each other at any moment. Republican governors across the land briefly stopped tweeting about Taylor Swift to pledge their solidarity. There’s even a convoy brewing.

Last Friday in Indignity Tom Scocca addressed Jude Russo’s complaint in The American Conservative that this declaration “earned no front-page coverage from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Washington Post.” “His argument,” wrote Scocca, “was that the letter was important because it was valid and serious….”

As an evaluation of the merits of the letter, this was nonsense on top of nonsense; Abbott's message was, in fact, deeply stupid and deranged. The governor was invoking ridiculous talking points—that the Biden administration's record numbers of apprehensions at the border, for instance, show the administration is not apprehending border-crossers—in the service of advancing an up-is-down argument about constitutional law.

But as a reading of the stakes, the American Conservative's position was much more reasonable than that of the Times. Claiming the power to opt out of the United States for stupid reasons is still claiming the power to opt out of the United States. An actual state governor was declaring, in an official message, that the "federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States," that "President Biden has violated his oath," and that Texas was invoking its "right of self-defense."

On what possible basis was this not news?

Obviously it is news. The Texas Tribune has covered it, as has the Houston Chronicle. Even the Austin American-Statesman is on it, despite its ongoing bust out by the gangster capitalists at Gannett, which Texas Monthly’s Michael Hardy wrote about yesterday. British newspaper The Guardian covered it. Even the Washington Post finally got around to mentioning it this morning, nearly a week later. You’re doing great, bestie!

But the NY Times? Well, there’s this:

NY Times screenshot, with a picture of an elderly looking Joe Biden climbing the stairs to Air Force One, and the headline “How the Border Crisis Shattered Biden’s Immigration Hopes. An examination of President Biden’s record reveals how he failed to overcome a surge in new arrivals and political obstacles in both parties.”

…here’s why that’s bad news for Joe Biden.

That story only mentions Greg Abbott once: “During a news conference in April 2022, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas vowed to “take the border to President Biden” by busing thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities.” As implausible as it seems, I think this is still the closest the Times has come to mentioning it, six days later.

The Wall St. Journal? Still nothing. CNN? A soft-focus human interest segment about the Eagle Pass firefighters who get sent to fish drowned migrants out of the Rio Grande is as close as they got. The LA Times? Yesterday’s opinion piece about it links out to X dot com and the AP because the LA Times hasn’t actually covered this as a news story yet either. But Slate has. I’m starting to feel like I’m lecturing Del Curry here. The Hill? The Atlantic? Tulum??????

I’m generally not a fan of “why isn’t anyone talking about this?” media critique. Usually the premise is incorrect, to begin with. But if I missed a story about all this from one of our national news outlets, it wasn’t for lack of searching. More importantly, this criticism usually rests on the idea that the newspaper should adopt some arbitrarily different standard of news judgement in place of its own. In this case, as Elon Musk helped prove, we have ample evidence that “a guy made a statement” is sufficient reason for coverage. Last Wednesday, Abbott’s announcement met the “a guy made a statement” standard, and events have continued to develop since then. So the ongoing silence about it from most of our few remaining national news outlets seems extremely weird.

But still, maybe the New York Times just doesn’t judge any of this to be newsworthy? While researching this post I found out that Governor Abbott has been declaring his state constitutionally under invasion since at least 2022. Maybe the Times simply assumes its readers already knew that, because they read it in The Guardian? Of course they could also have read it in The New York Times, where in April 2022 J. David Goodman and Edgar Sandoval wrote:

The Biden administration has been dismissive of Mr. Abbott’s actions on the border, at times calling them a “political stunt,” and has not taken steps to intervene, despite calls from Texas Democrats to do so. Any attempt by Texas to enforce federal immigration laws would almost certainly end up in court.

I wonder if it ever did?

If you like this kind of thing, please become a paid subscriber
and help oblige me to keep doing it.

Study Questions:

Is origami Turing complete? Is Nicki Minaj beefing with the Minions? Are Hells Angels still out here doing crimes? Is Nilay’s Apple PDF Goggles Pro review really half an hour long? I know the LA Times doesn’t have anyone covering national politics anymore, but does it barely even have anyone covering California politics now? Guest question from David Roth: “How Will The Golden Age Of ‘Making It Worse’ End?” What happened at Dana-Farber? Can you catch Alzheimer’s disease? (“We’re not suggesting for a moment you can catch Alzheimer’s disease,” said researchers who reported in fancy science words that you can catch Alzheimer’s disease.) And did Kevin Merida quit the LA Times over a “dog bites man” story?

Fesshole posted: “Professional house sitter mostly hired by the rich to watch their homes & pets while they're abroad. Rich people really are wired differently & have/do weird shit. Like one time there was family that had a massive a portrait of them covering a whole wall but the dad was a centaur.“ Rumors that this is about my house are entirely false.

Today’s Song: Fatima Yamaha, “Stray”

Music Intern Sam and I have an ongoing dispute about this kind of synth-heavy bleep bloop bweeew music that reminds me of adult contemporary radio in the ‘80s. He loves it, I do not. I let him have this one because I’m curious where you all come down on it. So, a poll:

Do you like this bleep bloop bweeew music?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Thank you so much for your feedback.