being repeatedly told that the American election process is deeply corrupted.

In fact, Mr. Mastriano’s candidacy has from its inception been propelled by his role in disputing the 2020 presidential election lost by Mr. Trump.

county by county, but election experts say they do not reflect factors as benign as changes in addresses.

“They’re in search of solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Kyle Miller, a Navy veteran and state representative for Protect Democracy, a national advocacy organization, said in an interview in Harrisburg. “They are basing this on faulty data and internet rumors.”

Some Republican lawmakers have leaned on false claims to call for changes to rules about mail-in ballots and other measures intended to make it easier for people to vote. Several counties have already reversed some of the decisions, including the number and location of drop boxes for ballots.

Mr. Miller, among others, warned that the flurry of false claims about balloting could be a trial run for challenging the results of the presidential election in 2024, in which Pennsylvania could again be a crucial swing state.

In Chester County, a largely white region that borders Delaware and Maryland that is roughly split between Republicans and Democrats, the effort to sow confusion came the old-fashioned way: in the mail.

Letters dated Sept. 12 began arriving in mailboxes across the county, warning people that their votes in the 2020 presidential election might not have counted. “Because you have a track record of consistently voting, we find it unusual that your record indicates that you did not vote,” the letter, which was unsigned, said.

The sender called itself “Data Insights,” based in the county seat of West Chester, though no known record of such a company exists, according to county officials. The letters did include copies of the recipients’ voting records. The letters urged recipients to write to the county commissioners or attend the commission’s meetings in the county seat of West Chester, in September and October. Dozens of recipients did.

The county administrator, Robert J. Kagel, tried to assure them that their votes were actually counted. He urged anyone concerned to contact the county’s voter services department.

Even so, at county meetings in September and October, speaker after speaker lined up to question the letter and the ballot process generally — and to air an array of grievances and conspiracy theories.

They included the discredited claims of the film “2000 Mules” that operatives have been stuffing boxes for mail-in ballots. One attendee warned that votes were being tabulated by the Communist Party of China or the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t know where my vote is,” another resident, Barbara Ellis of Berwyn, told the commissioners in October. “I don’t know if it was manipulated in the machines, in another country.”

As of Oct. 20, 59 people in Chester County had contacted officials with concerns raised in the letter, but in each case, it was determined that the voters’ ballots had been cast and counted, said Rebecca Brain, a county spokesman.

Who exactly sent the letters remains a mystery, which only fuels more conspiracy theories.

“It seems very official,” Charlotte Valyo, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in the county, said of the letter. She described it as part of “an ongoing, constant campaign to undermine the confidence in our voting system.” The county’s Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Disinformation may not be the only cause of the deepening partisan chasm in the state — or the nation — but it has undoubtedly worsened it. The danger, Ms. Valyo warned, was discouraging voting by sowing distrust in the ability of election officials to tally the votes.

“People might think, ‘Why bother, if they’re that messed up?’”

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Twitter, Once a Threat to Titans, Now Belongs to One

But by the early 2010s, it had grown into a global water cooler where millions of people went to make sense of the world around them. Its rapid-fire, 140-character bursts made it a valuable tool for those wanting to steer a conversation, attract attention to a cause or simply peer into the kaleidoscope of human thought.

On any given day, Twitter was the place to: talk about the news, complain about airline food, flirt with strangers, announce an earthquake, yell at your senator, cheer for your sports teams, post nudes, make dumb jokes, ruin your own reputation, ruin somebody else’s reputation, document police brutality, argue about anime, fall for a cryptocurrency scam, start a music career, procrastinate, follow the stock market, issue a public apology, share scientific papers, discuss “Game of Thrones,” find skillet chicken recipes.

And while it was never the biggest social media platform, or the most profitable, Twitter did seem to level the playing field in a way other apps didn’t.

But as Twitter and other social networks grew, powerful people found that these apps could help them extend their power in new ways. Authoritarians discovered they could use them to crack down on dissent. Extremists learned they could stir up hateful mobs to drive women and people of color offline. Celebrities and influencers realized that the crazier you acted, the more attention you got, and dialed up their behavior accordingly. A foundational belief of social media’s pioneers — that simply giving people the tools to express themselves would create a fairer and more connected society — began to look hopelessly naïve.

And when Donald J. Trump rode a wave of retweets to the White House in 2016, and used his Twitter account as president to spread conspiracy theories, wage culture wars, undermine public health and threaten nuclear war, the idea that the app was a gift to the downtrodden became even harder to argue.

Since 2016, Twitter has tried to clean up its mess, putting into effect new rules on misinformation and hate speech and barring some high-profile trolls. Those changes made the platform safer and less chaotic, but they also alienated users who were uncomfortable with how powerful Twitter itself had become.

These users chafed at the company’s content moderation decisions, like the one made to permanently suspend Mr. Trump’s account after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. They accused the platform’s leaders of bowing to a censorious mob. And some users grew nostalgic for the messier, more freewheeling Twitter they’d loved.

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Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Forget about the endless drama, the bots, the abrupt reversals, the spectacle, the alleged risk to the Republic and all we hold dear. Here is the most important thing about Elon Musk’s buying Twitter: The moguls have been unleashed.

In the old days, when a tech tycoon wanted to buy something big, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods for Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus and on and on. These were corporate deals done for the bottom line, even if they might never have happened without a famous and forceful proprietor.

Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform.

It’s a difficult deal to evaluate even in an industry built on deals, because this one is so unusual. It came about whimsically, impulsively. But, even by the standards of Silicon Valley, where billions are casually offered for fledging operations — and even by the wallet of Mr. Musk, on most days the richest man in the world — $44 billion is quite a chunk of change.

the midterm elections’ most prominent campaign contributor, pumping tens of millions of dollars into right-wing congressional candidates. Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley and a historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the locus of power.

“In this new Gilded Age, we’re being battered by billionaires rather than the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”

bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce owns Time magazine. Pierre Omidyar of eBay developed a homegrown media empire.

Deals have been a feature of Silicon Valley as long as there has been a Silicon Valley. Often they fail, especially when the acquisition was made for technology that either quickly grew outdated or never really worked at all. At least one venerable company, Hewlett-Packard, followed that strategy and has practically faded away.

$70 billion-plus acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is pending, has garnered a fraction of the attention despite being No. 2.

said in April after sealing the deal. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”

He cared a little more when the subsequent plunge in the stock market meant that he was overpaying by a significant amount. Analysts estimated that Twitter was worth not $44 billion but $30 billion, or maybe even less. For a few months, Mr. Musk tried to get out of the deal.

This had the paradoxical effect of bringing the transaction down to earth for spectators. Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought? Mr. Musk’s buying Twitter, and then his refusal to buy Twitter, and then his being forced to buy Twitter after all — and everything playing out on Twitter — was weirdly relatable.

Inescapable, too. The apex, or perhaps the nadir, came this month when Mr. Musk introduced a perfume called Burnt Hair, described on its website as “the Essence of Repugnant Desire.”

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted on Oct. 12, garnering nearly 600,000 likes. This worked, apparently; the perfume is now marked “sold out” on its site. Did 30,000 people really pay $100 each for a bottle? Will this perfume actually be produced and sold? (It’s not supposed to be released until next year.) It’s hard to tell where the joke stops, which is perhaps the point.

Evan Spiegel.

“What was unique about Twitter was that no one actually controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in its entirety.”

He is relatively hopeful, however, that Mr. Musk will improve the site, somehow. That, in turn, will have its own consequences.

“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.”

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Elon Musk Seems to Answer to No One. Except for a Judge in Delaware.

Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick has become a very important person in the rambunctious life of Elon Musk.

The Delaware Chancery Court judge has given Mr. Musk until Friday to close his long-promised, $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter. If he doesn’t, Judge McCormick will preside over a trial in November that could end with Mr. Musk being forced to make good on the deal he made with Twitter in April.

The 43-year-old judge is also expected to preside over another case involving Mr. Musk in November. A Tesla shareholder accused him in a lawsuit of unjustly enriching himself with his compensation package while running the electric vehicle company, which is Mr. Musk’s main source of wealth. The package, which consisted entirely of a stock grant, is now worth around $50 billion based on Tesla’s share price.

Judge McCormick is also overseeing three other shareholder lawsuits against Mr. Musk, though it is not yet clear whether those will go to trial, too.

before it represented Mr. Musk. But, he said, “the deal will either close and then she will be a hero. Or not and Musk will look really bad.”

As a young girl, Judge McCormick played first base on the softball team and managed the high school football team. She has a long-held soft spot for the book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about a Black man in small-town Alabama who was wrongfully accused of sexual assault.

unsolicited bid worth more than $40 billion for the social network, saying he wanted to make Twitter a private company and allow people to speak more freely on the service.

She then worked as a staff attorney with the Community Legal Aid Society, where she represented the needy and victims of domestic violence. She moved to a corporate law role at the firm Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor in 2007, a mainstay in the Delaware legal circuit.

In 2018, she was nominated by John Carney, the governor of Delaware, to serve as vice chancellor on the state’s high court, the Delaware Chancery Court. In 2021, Gov. Carney nominated Ms. McCormick to become the first woman to lead the court.

More than 1.8 million businesses are incorporated in Delaware, including more than two thirds of Fortune 500 companies — and they all look to the court for guidance. When Twitter filed its lawsuit against Mr. Musk in July forcing him to close his acquisition, its case went to Delaware, where the company, like many others, is incorporated.

Judge McCormick, who has first dibs on any proceeding that comes before the court, chose herself of among a court of seven judges to oversee one of the most high profile corporate court battles in years.

At a hearing in September, as lawyers for Mr. Musk argued to delay the trial to take into account new claims from a whistle-blower, she poked at the billionaire’s decision to skip due diligence in his race to sign the deal in April. When Mr. Musk’s lawyer argued it would have been impossible to find out about the whistle-blower before the deal, she interjected, “We’ll never know, will we?” She added that “there was no due diligence.”

wrote in a ruling.

“She evidently was not putting up with any nonsense,” said Lawrence Hamermesh, a professor of law at Delaware Law School.

In October, after weeks of presiding over bruising back and forth arguments between the two sides, Judge McCormick granted Mr. Musk’s requests to put the trial on hold to give him more time to complete his financing for the acquisition. Judge McCormick granted him until Oct. 28 — a three-week delay.

“She had one eye on the clock,” said Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School, noting the two sides did not seem ready for a trial just two weeks away. “Another eye,” Mr. Quinn said, was “on potential appeals. She is looking forward saying, ‘Well, what if I ruled against Musk, and he appealed, and his appeal is that I pushed him — I rushed him toward the trial when he wanted to close the deal.’”

Judge McCormick is well-versed in trials involving deals with buyers that tried to walk away. As an associate at the law firm Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, she worked on cases involving deals that went awry when the stock market crashed in 2008. That included representing the chemical company Huntsman in 2008 when the private equity firm Apollo Global Management scuttled the deal it had struck to combine the chemical company with another it owned.

That deal, and others like it, paved the way for the kinds of contracts Twitter signed with Mr. Musk. Sellers learned how to prevent buyers from trying similar escape hatches. Companies increasingly structure deals with “specific performance” clauses allowing them to force a deal to close.

to follow through with its acquisition of a cake supplier after it argued that the pandemic had materially damaged the business by curbing demand for party cake.

Kohlberg contended it could not complete the deal because its debt financing had fallen apart. Judge McCormick did not buy that argument.

If Mr. Musk does not come through with Twitter’s money by Friday, that could ding his credibility in court, legal experts say. That could matter in November, when Judge McCormick is set to preside over a separate trial involving Mr. Musk and his compensation.

The case, filed in 2018, had originally been assigned to another judge on the Delaware Chancery Court, Joseph R. Slights III, before he retired in January. Judge McCormick picked up the case on Jan. 12, the same month Mr. Musk began to buy up shares of Twitter stock that ultimately led to his planned purchase of the company.

“It’s not ideal for him,” said Ann Lipton, a professor of corporate governance at Tulane Law School, of Mr. Musk’s multiple run-ins with Judge McCormick. “She’s uniquely low drama, which is the opposite of Musk. ”

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Why Am I Seeing That Political Ad? Check Your ‘Trump Resistance’ Score.

The advent of computer modeling helped automate voter targeting, making it more efficient.

In the 1960s, a market researcher in Los Angeles, Vincent Barabba, developed a computer program to help political campaigns decide which neighborhoods to target. The system overlaid voting precinct maps with details on individuals’ voting histories along with U.S. census data on household economics, ethnic makeup and family composition.

In 1966, political consultants used the system to help Ronald Reagan’s campaign for governor of California identify neighborhoods with potential swing voters, like middle-aged, white, male union members, and target them with ads.

Critics worried about the technology’s potential to influence voters, deriding it as a “sinister new development dreamt up by manipulative social scientists,” according to “Selling Ronald Reagan,” a book on the Hollywood actor’s political transformation.

By the early 2000s, campaigns had moved on to more advanced targeting methods.

For the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush in 2004, Republican consultants classified American voters into discrete buckets, like “Flag and Family Republicans” and “Religious Democrats.” Then they used the segmentation to target Republicans and swing voters living in towns that typically voted Democrat, said Michael Meyers, the president of TargetPoint Consulting, who worked on the Bush campaign.

In 2008, the Obama presidential campaign widely used individualized voter scores. Republicans soon beefed up their own voter-profiling and targeting operations.

A decade later, when Cambridge Analytica — a voter-profiling firm that covertly data-mined and scored millions of Facebook users — became front-page news, many national political campaigns were already using voter scores. Now, even local candidates use them.

This spring, the Government Accountability Office issued a report warning that the practice of consumer scoring lacked transparency and could cause harm. Although the report did not specifically examine voter scores, it urged Congress to consider enacting consumer protections around scoring.

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Who Gets the Last Word on Steve Jobs? He Might.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis meticulously curated the memory of her husband after he was assassinated, reimagining President John F. Kennedy as a fallen King Arthur in a modern-day Camelot.

Now some historians wonder if Laurene Powell Jobs is also trying to frame the legacy of her late husband, Steve Jobs, a complicated and transformational figure who was shadowed by his flaws as a father and belligerence as a boss.

Last month, Ms. Powell Jobs introduced the Steve Jobs Archive. It aspires to reinvent the personal archive much as Mr. Jobs, in his years running Apple, remade music with the iPod and communication with the iPhone.

Rather than offering up a repository of personal correspondence, notes and items for public research and inquiry, as other influential figures have done, Ms. Powell Jobs, who did not respond to requests for comments, said at a conference last month that the Steve Jobs Archive would be devoted to “ideas.” Those ideas are primarily Mr. Jobs’s philosophies about life and work.

Harvard Business School’s 25 greatest business leaders of the 20th century left behind personal archives that are open to the public in libraries or museums, including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Asa Candler, who built Coca-Cola.

Other iconic business founders such as Walt Disney, Sam Walton and Ray Kroc entrusted their papers to the companies they built, allowing those collections to become the cornerstone of corporate archives.

Walt Disney Company, make personal correspondence, notes, speeches and other items available to authors for research.

“We don’t censor,” said Becky Cline, director of the Walt Disney archives. “We just vet.”

The new Jobs archive debuted with a minimalist website containing eight pieces of video, audio and writing that express what the archive calls Mr. Jobs’s “driving motivations in his own words.” The items, three-quarters of which were already public, can be accessed by clicking through maxims made famous by Mr. Jobs, including “make something wonderful and put it out there” and “pursue different paths.”

The next steps for the archive are shrouded in the kind of mystery associated with the way Mr. Jobs ran Apple. About all that’s been publicly disclosed is that Ms. Powell Jobs hired a documentary filmmaker to gather hundreds of oral histories about Mr. Jobs from former colleagues. Where that material will be stored and who will have access to it has not been revealed.

She married Mr. Jobs in 1991, two years after meeting him as a graduate student at Stanford. Since his death, she has used her estimated $16 billion fortune to fund the Emerson Collective, a philanthropic and commercial operation that owns The Atlantic magazine and funds an organization trying to reduce gun violence in Chicago.

During his life, Mr. Jobs admired and encouraged historians to preserve the history of his Silicon Valley predecessors such as Robert Noyce, who co-founded the chip maker Intel. But he put little value on his own history, and Apple has seldom commemorated product anniversaries, saying it focuses on the future, not the past.

Stanford spent years cataloging items such as photos of a barefoot Mr. Jobs at work, advertising campaigns and an Apple II computer. That material can be reviewed by students and researchers interested in learning more about the company.

Silicon Valley leaders have a tradition of leaving their material with Stanford, which has collections of letters, slides and notes from William Hewlett, who founded Hewlett-Packard, and Andy Grove, the former chief executive of Intel.

Mr. Lowood said that he uses the Silicon Valley archives to teach students about the value of discovery. “Unlike a book, which is the gospel and all true, a mix of materials in a box introduces uncertainty,” he said.

After Mr. Jobs’ death in 2011, Mr. Isaacson, the author, published a biography of Mr. Jobs. Some at Apple complained that the book, a best seller, misrepresented Mr. Jobs and commercialized his death.

Mr. Isaacson declined to comment about those complaints.

Four years later, the book became the basis for a film. The 2015 movie, written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Michael Fassbender, focused on Mr. Jobs being ousted from Apple and denying paternity of his eldest daughter.

according to emails made public after a hack of Sony Pictures, which held rights to the film. She and others who were close to Mr. Jobs thought any movie based on the book would be inaccurate.

“I was outraged, and he was my friend,” said Mike Slade, a marketing executive who worked as an adviser to Mr. Jobs from 1998 to 2004. “I can’t imagine how outraged Laurene was.”

In November 2015, a month after the movie’s release, Ms. Powell Jobs had representatives register the Steve Jobs Archive as a limited liability company in Delaware and California. She later hired the documentary filmmaker, Davis Guggenheim, to gather oral histories about Mr. Jobs from former colleagues and friends. She also hired Ms. Berlin, who was Stanford’s project historian for its Apple archives, to be the Jobs Archive’s executive director.

Mr. Guggenheim gathered material about Mr. Jobs while also working on a Netflix documentary about Bill Gates, “Inside Bill’s Brain.” Mr. Slade, who worked for both Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gates, said he sat for an interview about one executive, stopped to change shirts and returned to discuss the other one.

Ms. Berlin assisted Ms. Powell Jobs in gathering material. They collected items such as audio of interviews done by reporters and early company records, including a 1976 document that Mr. Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, called their declaration of independence. It outlined what the company would stand for, said Regis McKenna, who unearthed the document in his personal collection gathered during his decades as a pioneer of Silicon Valley marketing and adviser to Mr. Jobs.

Ms. Powell Jobs also assembled a group of advisers to inform what the archive would be, including Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive; Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer; and Bob Iger, the former chief executive of Walt Disney and a former Apple board member.

Mr. Cook, Mr. Ive and Mr. Iger declined to comment.

Apple, which has its own corporate archive and archivist, is a contributor to the Jobs effort, said Ms. Berlin, who declined to say how she works with the company to gain access to material left by Mr. Jobs.

The archive’s resulting website opens with an email that Mr. Jobs sent himself at Apple. It reads like a journal entry, outlining all the things that he depends on others to provide, from the food he eats to the music he enjoys.

“I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being,” he wrote.

The email is followed by a previously undisclosed audio clip from a 1984 interview that Mr. Jobs did with Michael Moritz, the journalist turned venture capitalist at Sequoia. During it, Mr. Jobs says that refinement comes from mistakes, a platitude that captures how Apple used trial and error to develop devices.

“It was just lying in the drawer gathering dust,” Mr. Moritz said of the recording.

It’s clear to those who have contributed material that the archive is about safeguarding Mr. Jobs’s legacy. It’s a goal that many of them support.

“There’s so much distortion about who Steve was,” Mr. McKenna said. “There needed to be something more factual.”

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How Disinformation Splintered and Became More Intractable

On the morning of July 8, former President Donald J. Trump took to Truth Social, a social media platform he founded with people close to him, to claim that he had in fact won the 2020 presidential vote in Wisconsin, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Barely 8,000 people shared that missive on Truth Social, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of responses his posts on Facebook and Twitter had regularly generated before those services suspended his megaphones after the deadly riot on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021.

And yet Mr. Trump’s baseless claim pulsed through the public consciousness anyway. It jumped from his app to other social media platforms — not to mention podcasts, talk radio or television.

Within 48 hours of Mr. Trump’s post, more than one million people saw his claim on at least dozen other media. It appeared on Facebook and Twitter, from which he has been banished, but also YouTube, Gab, Parler and Telegram, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

gone mainstream among Republican Party members, driving state and county officials to impose new restrictions on casting ballots, often based on mere conspiracy theories percolating in right-wing media.

Voters must now sift through not only an ever-growing torrent of lies and falsehoods about candidates and their policies, but also information on when and where to vote. Officials appointed or elected in the name of fighting voter fraud have put themselves in the position to refuse to certify outcomes that are not to their liking.

a primary battleground in today’s fight against disinformation. A report last month by NewsGuard, an organization that tracks the problem online, showed that nearly 20 percent of videos presented as search results on TikTok contained false or misleading information on topics such as school shootings and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

continued to amplify “election denialism” in ways that undermined trust in the democratic system.

Another challenge is the proliferation of alternative platforms for those falsehoods and even more extreme views.

new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of prominent accounts on those seven platforms had previously been banished from others like Twitter and Facebook.

F.B.I. raid on Mar-a-Lago thrust his latest pronouncements into the eye of the political storm once again.

study of Truth Social by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media monitoring group, examined how the platform had become a home for some of the most fringe conspiracy theories. Mr. Trump, who began posting on the platform in April, has increasingly amplified content from QAnon, the online conspiracy theory.

He has shared posts from QAnon accounts more than 130 times. QAnon believers promote a vast and complex conspiracy that centers on Mr. Trump as a leader battling a cabal of Democratic Party pedophiles. Echoes of such views reverberated through Republican election campaigns across the country during this year’s primaries.

Ms. Jankowicz, the disinformation expert, said the nation’s social and political divisions had churned the waves of disinformation.

The controversies over how best to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic deepened distrust of government and medical experts, especially among conservatives. Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election led to, but did not end with, the Capitol Hill violence.

“They should have brought us together,” Ms. Jankowicz said, referring to the pandemic and the riots. “I thought perhaps they could be kind of this convening power, but they were not.”

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Peter Thiel, Major U.S. Political Donor, Is Said to Pursue Maltese Citizenship

A spokesman for Mr. Angermayer, who has based his family office and other business ventures in Malta, did not respond to requests for comment.

In early 2021, Thiel Capital also became a shareholder in a Malta entity through a byzantine series of developments. The deal involved Coru, a Mexican online financial advice start-up, which has a parent company incorporated in London.

Entities controlled by Mr. Thiel and Mr. Danzeisen, his husband, were among Coru’s biggest owners, corporate filings show. The start-up needed additional funding in late 2020, but its investors could not reach an agreement to put more cash in, said two former investors. The company went into administration, the equivalent of bankruptcy.

Around that time, Mr. Thiel, Mr. Danzeisen and several other Coru investors established a company in Malta called EUM Holdings Melite Ltd., Maltese records show. That company bought Coru’s shares out of administration for about $100,000, according to British records. The records do not detail EUM’s business activities.

Now Coru is owned by EUM. Its shareholders include Mr. Thiel, Mr. Danzeisen, Richard Li — a son of Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing — and a group with a former Nicaraguan government official and a scion of the Spanish family that made a fortune selling Lladró porcelain figurines.

Mr. Thiel began exploring Maltese citizenship around that time, said people familiar with the process. By late 2021, documents show, he was far along in the application process and retained an agency that fielded questions from the Maltese government about his businesses and political activities.

The questions included Mr. Thiel’s role with Palantir Technologies, a data analytics company he founded that works with governments and corporations, and his political activity supporting Mr. Trump.

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Elon Musk Suggests Buying Twitter at His Original Price

Elon Musk proposed a deal with Twitter on Monday evening that could bring to an end the acrimonious legal fight between the billionaire and the social media company.

The arrangement would allow Mr. Musk to acquire Twitter at $54.20 per share, the price he agreed to pay for the company in April, two people familiar with the proposal who were not authorized to speak publicly said.

The potential deal comes after months of disputes that have created existential challenges for Twitter, cratering its share price, demoralizing its employees and spooking the advertisers it relies on for revenue.

A deal at the original price would be a victory for Twitter, which struck an agreement with Mr. Musk to buy the company for $44 billion. Mr. Musk declared in July that he no longer intended to complete the acquisition because he believed Twitter’s service was overrun by spam.

Twitter sued Mr. Musk in July to force the completion of the acquisition, and was set for a showdown with the billionaire this month in a Delaware courtroom. The company argued in legal filings that Mr. Musk’s reasons for abandoning the deal were smoke screens, and suggested that he had simply hoped for a lower price after stock market declines had decreased his overall wealth.

Mr. Musk said Twitter had most likely undercounted the amount of spam on its platform, making the company less valuable than he had initially believed. He also cited whistle-blower claims from a former Twitter executive, who said the company had misled regulators about its security practices, as a reason to exit the deal.

Mr. Musk submitted a proposal to Twitter on Monday evening, a person familiar with the conversation said. The parties met in court on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. The offer was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

A deal could allow both sides to avoid a messy public trial, which most likely would have featured testimony from Mr. Musk and senior Twitter executives.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Mystery Solved: ‘Dateline’ Finds Path From TV to Podcast Stardom

Of course, true crime and podcasts go hand in hand. The Hulu comedy “Only Murders in the Building” is explicitly a parody of the ubiquitousness of the genre. And there are plenty of other podcasts on the charts that center on bloody mysteries, with titles like “Morbid,” “Crime Junkie” and “My Favorite Murder.”

Still, the “Dateline” podcasts are helping the genre reach a new audience. The median age of viewers of the Friday night edition of “Dateline” is 63, according to Nielsen. On Spotify, the median age of a “Dateline” podcast listener is 41, according to data from Chartable, which was supplied by NBC News.

The network declined to disclose revenue figures for the podcasts, but they appear to be helping the company’s bottom line. The “Dateline” series command an advertising rate on a par with the podcast version of the popular public radio show “Fresh Air,” according to Standard Media Index, which collects advertising data.

It has been quite a turn of events for a 30-year-old television show.

The show, which premiered in 1992 with Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley as co-anchors, began as a traditional TV newsmagazine — with three to five segments that typically included interviews, features and investigations.

In the 1990s, during network television’s newsmagazine craze, “Dateline” could occupy as much as five hours of NBC’s prime-time schedule each week. Over the past 20 years, the show has remained a mainstay of the NBC schedule, filling in gaps whenever called upon in addition to holding its usual Friday night slot.

“Those of us within the hallways of NBC News have always understood the value of ‘Dateline,’” said Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News. “Historically, to many regimes past, whenever a fall entertainment lineup would start to wobble, we would always get the call to fill those open slots with additional ‘Dateline’ hours on the broadcast network.”

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