Musk to take Twitter private, Paxlovid’s availability, Trump civil probe : NPR


Elon Musk says he desires to, quote, “unlock Twitter’s potential,” and now he can.


Musk is shopping for the social community for $44 billion, and he is taking the corporate personal. The Tesla CEO is the richest man on this planet, and he has repeatedly tweeted to his hundreds of thousands of followers what he plans to alter on the firm.

FADEL: NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn joins us to clarify what Musk plans to do with Twitter. Hello, Bobby.


FADEL: So earlier than we get to Musk’s imaginative and prescient for Twitter, let’s discuss why he needed to purchase the corporate within the first place.

ALLYN: Yeah, nicely, it is a coveted piece of web actual property, so it is a standing enhance to personal it, and Musk thinks he could make it higher. Now, Musk is already CEO of the world’s most beneficial automotive firm, Tesla, and, you understand, he runs a really profitable rocket ship firm, SpaceX. However in his spare time, he likes to play on Twitter, sending out jokes and memes and promotional stuff to his greater than 80 million followers. So he is an influence consumer of Twitter, proper? However, you understand, as a enterprise, Twitter has been struggling for some time. So Musk says he could make it a greater enterprise. And if shareholders and regulators approve, you understand, he’ll have an actual shot at it. So we’ll see what occurs there. In his assertion saying the acquisition of Twitter, Musk described it as being a digital city sq. that he thinks ought to have fewer guidelines. In the identical assertion, Musk stated that free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy.

FADEL: And lots of people have expressed concern about what that might imply – the implication, in fact, being that Twitter proper now shouldn’t be a welcome place at no cost speech. However is that truly true?

ALLYN: Yeah, I believe it is honest to say that Musk is exaggerating fairly a bit. There are guidelines on Twitter, proper? You possibly can’t harass individuals. You possibly can’t bully. You possibly can’t incite violence. You possibly can’t unfold misinformation about issues like COVID-19. However for essentially the most half, you understand, numerous edgy and poisonous and offensive materials is allowed on Twitter, however apparently not sufficient for Musk. So he desires to radically open the floodgates to all kinds of content material on Twitter. And he hasn’t particularly spelled out what he means, however he has stated, you understand, tweets which are type of within the grey zone of Twitter’s guidelines, so long as it is not unlawful, he says these tweets ought to be allowed on Twitter.

FADEL: So it sounds prefer it could possibly be attainable that issues like hate speech could be allowed on Twitter below Elon Musk’s imaginative and prescient of unfettered free speech. What else does he say he’ll do?

ALLYN: Yeah, he desires to open-source Twitter’s algorithm – that is the software program code that determines what goes viral – so, you understand, anybody can take a look at it. OK, that is one factor. One other proposal he is floated is to let individuals edit their tweets after they’re despatched, which is fairly controversial. You understand, on the one hand, you’ll be able to clear up typos after a tweet is distributed. I do know, personally, that might be a aid to me. However…


FADEL: I am stuffed with typos on a regular basis.

ALLYN: Precisely. However alternatively, you’ll be able to think about individuals going again and modifying tweets to cowl up, say, you understand, harassing somebody to make it appear to be it by no means occurred. One other Musk proposal that just about no person is towards is a crackdown on Twitter bots. These are the nameless accounts that may type of gang up on individuals and assault them en masse on the platform. It is fairly disagreeable. And I believe it is honest to say that there is a consumer consensus that fewer bots on Twitter is an effective factor.

FADEL: OK, however how about individuals who’ve been banned from Twitter, distinguished individuals like former President Trump? Would this imply he’d be allowed again?

ALLYN: Yeah, that is the query on everybody’s thoughts. Musk hasn’t publicly addressed whether or not Trump goes to come back again. Trump, for his half, instructed Fox Information that he has no plans to return, however we will see. I imply, you understand, from Trump on down, there could possibly be invites to those individuals who have been banned to come back again to the platform, however we simply should see. There was an all-hands assembly on Monday, and Twitter’s CEO was requested particularly about Trump – will he be coming again to Twitter? And the CEO stated, that’s now utterly as much as Elon Musk, as are so many issues about Twitter’s future proper now.

FADEL: NPR’s Bobby Allyn. Bobby, thanks.

ALLYN: Hey, thanks a lot.


FADEL: Right this moment the White Home is saying a brand new push to tell individuals about Pfizer’s life-saving antiviral drug.

MARTIN: Yeah, the tablet known as Paxlovid, and it has been proven to scale back the chance of COVID-19 hospitalization by as much as 90% – so extremely efficient – but tons of of hundreds of doses are sitting on cabinets simply unused. The administration desires to be sure that individuals learn about it, they usually’re attempting to encourage docs to prescribe it.

FADEL: NPR White Home correspondent Tamara Keith has the main points and joins us now. Hello, Tamara.


FADEL: OK, Tam, so if this tablet may save lives, why is it sitting on cabinets?

KEITH: A number of causes, however it all comes right down to this – really getting the drug is, as one well being care professional put it to me, a little bit of a rigmarole. It’s important to begin taking it inside 5 days of the onset of signs. So it’s a race to get a COVID take a look at, get somebody to prescribe it after which discover a pharmacy that carries it. It’s presently licensed for individuals 12 and up who’ve excessive danger for extreme COVID, however that might embrace being obese or having bronchial asthma or diabetes or hypertension. These are all danger elements. And a big share of the U.S. inhabitants has a kind of, however they might not notice it. Many docs have been reluctant to prescribe it. One administration official on the decision with reporters final evening defined that numerous docs are working from a shortage mindset as a result of again in December and January, it was scarce.


KEITH: However now there are many tablets to go round.

FADEL: OK, so then what’s the White Home saying it is doing to handle this disconnect?

KEITH: Schooling and outreach, not simply to potential sufferers but in addition to docs and different suppliers who may prescribe it. A whole lot of sufferers merely do not know Paxlovid exists, or their docs inform them that they do not qualify after they actually do. Paxlovid does have fairly just a few drug-drug interactions, which implies that to prescribe it, a health care provider typically has to puzzle by their affected person’s remedy listing. So, as an example, they could have to drag their affected person off of their ldl cholesterol remedy for 5 days whereas they’re taking Paxlovid.

The White Home COVID crew is offering docs with data to make it simpler to determine whether or not their sufferers are a great match for the drug. They usually’re additionally – the White Home – saying a brand new pharmacy program to get these tablets into much more retail pharmacies – 10,000 extra areas this week, with extra to observe. And yet another factor – they’re working to develop the Take a look at to Deal with program, getting assist from FEMA and dealing with states to arrange one-stop retailers the place individuals can get examined and get Paxlovid with much less of the rigmarole. Well being professionals I’ve spoken to say the truth that individuals do not learn about Paxlovid and are not taking it when it may maintain them out of the hospital is a failure. And at this time’s announcement is an acknowledgment from the White Home that simply procuring the tablets is not sufficient.

FADEL: Now, Congress is again this week, and the White Home nonetheless hasn’t gotten the $22 billion in extra COVID funding it requested final month. Has there been any motion on that?

KEITH: Not a lot. You would possibly keep in mind simply earlier than the spring recess, there was a bipartisan deal to fund lower than half of what the White Home needed, and it blew up. Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer says each events should come again to the desk and discover an settlement, however the timeline he gave was weeks reasonably than days.

FADEL: NPR White Home correspondent Tamara Keith. Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You are welcome.


FADEL: A New York choose is holding former President Donald Trump in contempt of court docket for failing to show over subpoenaed paperwork.

MARTIN: That is a part of an ongoing civil investigation by the New York lawyer normal into Trump’s enterprise dealings. The choose is fining the previous president $10,000 a day for not responding to a subpoena for paperwork and data associated to his enterprise empire.

FADEL: NPR’s Andrea Bernstein was within the courthouse yesterday. Hey, Andrea.


FADEL: Good morning. So, Andrea, $10,000 a day – that is some huge cash, at the least for most individuals. However possibly it is nothing in case you have a enterprise price billions? How large a deal is that this?

BERNSTEIN: Large. It’s a very attention-getting sum of money. So I’ve learn enterprise contracts for Trump’s motels, for instance, the place he made certain his firm was paid a reduce of the cash for the M&Ms and the beers bought at minibars in motels he was licensing.


BERNSTEIN: I’ve spoken to former staff who’ve needed to pony up for presents they thought their boss had given him. So, yeah, $10,000 a day – that’s large cash. And Donald Trump is somebody who actually doesn’t prefer to lose. Now, he and his firm have denied wrongdoing. They’ve accused the New York lawyer normal, Democrat Letitia James, of political motivations. What’s totally different now could be {that a} choose, a impartial arbiter, has agreed with the AG’s place that Trump shouldn’t be being forthcoming. Trump’s lawyer says she’s interesting, which suggests he probably will not have to start out paying instantly.

FADEL: So is a ruling like this uncommon?

BERNSTEIN: I’ve written a ebook about Trump’s companies, and I’ve hosted two podcasts that concern him. I am unable to consider any ruling like this one. That is somebody whose companies have been in court docket actually hundreds of instances. We spoke with Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Regulation Faculty professor and a former prosecutor, who instructed us it is very uncommon {that a} doc request like this one ends in a contempt quotation.

REBECCA ROIPHE: And particularly as a result of, you understand, that is actually a dropping declare. Like, why would you push it to the purpose the place you bought sanctioned?

BERNSTEIN: What she’s saying is you would possibly get a contempt quotation in case you, say, refuse to pay a positive or after a judgment after a trial, however most legal professionals do not let it come to this earlier than a case has even been filed as a result of, amongst different issues, they do not need to doubtlessly antagonize a choose. So that is actually uncommon.

FADEL: So that you stated most legal professionals would not let it come to this, and but right here they’re on this case. Andrea, how did it come to this?

BERNSTEIN: This can be a long-running investigation into whether or not the Trump Group lied to tax authorities and to lenders concerning the worth of its properties. And one of many issues that got here up in court docket yesterday is that Donald Trump has turned over no paperwork to the state lawyer normal in response to a subpoena from final 12 months and that the AG solely has 10 paperwork from him, and that is solely as a result of they bought them from his firm. Trump’s lawyer says the paperwork do not exist, however the choose instructed her that her submitting testifying to that was, quote, “woefully inadequate.”

FADEL: There was a second ruling yesterday involving the true property brokerage. What was that about?

BERNSTEIN: So that is so fascinating. The brokerage is Cushman & Wakefield, which is a significant agency, and an assistant lawyer normal, Austin Thompson, stood up in court docket and stated that two appraisers who had labored for the brokerage had, quote, “made misstatements on the Trump Group’s behest.” Translation – they’d allegedly fudged property values so the Trump Group may underpay its tax authorities and in addition misrepresent the sum of money it needed to lenders. And the choose stated Cushman & Wakefield needed to flip over large portions of paperwork, which means there’s much more proof of alleged illegal conduct that might come to the AG. And the dealer’s attorneys have not stated if they may attraction.

FADEL: NPR’s Andrea Bernstein. Thanks.


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