Tech Barons Are the New Media Barons

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about a literal moonshot. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced the first private customer who is signed up for a trip around earth’s moon, possibly as early as 2023—and he’ll be bringing some surprising passengers. Meanwhile,the Justice Department is investigating Musk’s other company, Tesla, over an ill-advised tweet. Next, Will and April discuss a new Twitter feature that brings back the classic, reverse-chronological timeline.
The hosts are then joined by Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for the Washington Post and former public editor of the New York Times. They’ll talk to her about the trend of tech barons buying media companies. That’s what Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff did this past weekend with his $190 million purchase of Time Magazine. Sullivan knows abit about tech titans buying media companies--her employer, the Washington Post, was bought by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013, and she worked for Warren Buffett at the Buffalo News. We’ll talk to her about what this sale might mean for the future of Time, and the growing entanglements between big tech and journalism.

13:34 - Interview with Margaret Sullivan33:33 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Slate: Why Did the New York Review of Books Publish that Jian Ghomeshi Essay?
Engagdet: Why PayPal’s Crackdown on ASMR Creators Should Worry You
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play

Popout Listen on the new Podbay