In a not so surprising turn of events, liberal watchdog Media Matters has announced the termination of several staff members. The decision to lay off at least a dozen employees was met with controversy as some blamed the owner of X, Elon Musk, for these cuts.

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The billionaire mogul had previously filed a defamation lawsuit against Media Matters in November, alleging that the organization had fabricated images showcasing advertisements from reputable companies alongside posts made by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

This legal action caught the attention of Republican Attorneys General Ken Paxton of Texas and Andrew Bailey of Missouri, who initiated federal investigations into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activities. The accusations centered around claims of data manipulation on the platform previously known as Twitter.

On Thursday, Media Matters’ President Angelo Carusone released a statement addressing the layoffs, stating, “We’re confronting a legal assault on multiple fronts, and given how rapidly the media landscape is shifting, we need to be extremely intentional about how we allocate resources in order to stay effective. Nobody does what Media Matters does.”

Former employees took to social media to express their shock and disappointment at the sudden dismissals. One staffer, Kat Abughazaleh, attributed the staff reductions to the opposition faced by Media Matters from “far-right billionaires,” specifically mentioning Elon Musk. Abughazaleh emphasized the organization’s effective work, which she believed unsettled those who opposed its mission.

While Media Matters did not provide an immediate response to inquiries, the recent layoffs reflect the tumultuous situation the organization finds itself in as it battles legal challenges and adapts to a rapidly evolving media landscape.

The lawsuit against Musk, filed in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, continues to unfold while Media Matters grapples with the aftermath of these recent developments. Carusone previously dismissed the merit of the lawsuit, highlighting the cautious approach major brands take when partnering with social media platforms.

Media Matters’ staff reductions further underscore the wider trend of layoffs across the industry, particularly affecting liberal outlets. Earlier this year, NowThis laid off a significant portion of its editorial team as part of a strategic effort to reassess resources and ensure long-term sustainability in the constantly evolving media landscape. Similarly, The Intercept recently terminated 15 employees, including its editor-in-chief, Roger Hodge. Additionally, The New York Post reported last month that the news site co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, facing financial challenges, is at risk of closure in the coming year.

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