A Moss-Covered Atlanta Media Connection to Trump’s Truth Social Gathers No Local Coverage.
An Atlanta media figure central to Donald Trump’s troubled Truth Social media company has been named in several national news articles since last October, but with no local follow-up or mention.
Wes Moss hosts a weekly finance show titled Money Matters on WSB radio and writes a financial column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s also a former contestant on The Apprentice and was an early supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential run, appearing as a supporter on CNN.
The New York Times reported last Oct. that Moss and another former Apprentice contestant had first pitched the idea of a Trump media company soon after the President’s banning from Twitter following his repeated false election claims culminated in the Jan. 6th insurrection.
“In January 2021, Mr. Litinsky, better known as Andy Dean, and Mr. Moss — both appeared in the second season of ‘The Apprentice,’ in 2004, and are now radio hosts — made their pitch to Mr. Trump to ‘create a conservative media powerhouse that will rival the liberal media and fight back against ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley,’ according to a description of their plan in a slide presentation reviewed by The Times.”
In Nov., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among others, called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the use of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company to quickly raise money for the venture.
Truth Social launched in February of 2022 amid technical problems and limited platforms.
In April, Reuters reported two tech executives with the company quit. The article also highlighted the effort to build a conservative, anti-cancel culture tech company down to vetting the politics of any engineers and employees. This limited its talent pool and hindered the rollout.
“Adams and Boozer worked at a level just below Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky, both former castmates on ‘The Apprentice,’ Trump’s hit reality TV show, according to a source familiar with the venture.
“Moss and Litinsky have been the ‘senior, day-to-day leadership’ running the company since it started last summer, the source said.”
“Reuters could not determine the specific job titles or responsibilities of Moss and Litinsky, neither of whom responded to requests for comment.”
“Neither Adams nor Boozer disclosed their work at Truth Social on their LinkedIn profiles, which list numerous other jobs and ventures from their past. The company did not publicly announce their hiring.”
Wes Moss’s own LinkedIn profile currently omits any mention of Truth Social or TMTG. It does include his Cox Radio show and past WXIA TV show.
A search of local news websites for articles about Truth Social that mention Moss came up empty.
Even CNN, which has covered Truth Social extensively, hasn’t mention Moss in its stories.
In June, Reuters published a more extensive investigation reporting that the other Apprentice alum had left the company.
“TMTG has not disclosed executive job titles for Moss and Litinsky. The May 16 filing identifies Moss as a director, but Reuters could not determine his current management role or level of involvement with the company. Moss did not respond to a request for comment.
“Litinsky left the company ‘months ago,’ according to a person familiar with the venture, without specifying his exact date or reason for departing. The exit of Litinsky, who now works as a media and technology consultant, has not been previously reported.”
Atlanta played a significant role.
“The development team worked at a WeWork co-working space in Atlanta. The TMTG staff was small and heavily reliant on outside contractors, according to two sources familiar with company operations. Reuters could not determine the size of the whole operation, but TMTG had about 40 full-time employees as of March 31, according to the May 16 regulatory filing from DWAC.”
On July 7, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that state business records showed several TMTG board members names, including Trump and Moss, were removed from the board weeks ahead of subpoenas from the SEC and a Manhattan grand jury.
On July 18, the NYT’s reported Moss had received a subpoena and that his role in the company remained unclear.
In the Reuters and Times reports, Moss did not reply to requests for comment.
A search of WSB Radio and the AJC’s websites for news stories about Trump Media and Truth Social find a few but none that mention Moss.
My own emails to both WSB Radio and the AJC asking if they could confirm Moss’s status at TMTG or provide a statement on his involvement were not returned.
Georgia’s connections to Trump investigations are an ongoing topic for Georgia political reporters.
The Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury investigation is the subject of the current season of the AJC’s True Crime podcast “The Breakdown.”
But Moss and the Atlanta ties to Trump Media are seeing little local scrutiny.
UPDATE On Sunday July 31, 2022
Wes Moss’s column was in today’s Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he hosted his radio show on WSB this morning.
The program took no live phone calls.
Moss repeatedly discussed this week’s debate on whether the U.S. economy is in a recession or not.
Fox News and other conservative sites are highlighting the traditional definition of two quarters of negative GDP which was confirmed this week.
The Biden administration and others argue employment numbers and other indicators complicate the picture and that the official determination is made by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Moss’s tone was cynical in describing the NBER as a small group of people sitting in Cambridge, Massachusetts wearing tweed and sipping bourbon in a room lined with books.
A Trumpian attempt at populist criticism of economic elites.
But Moss is a retirement financial planning guy who projects a family-friendly image. Trump’s bombastic populism runs counter to the smiling, uplifting stories of early retirement Moss pitches.
Handing Werther’s Originals to your grandkids vs. Trump’s rhetoric of American carnage.
Commercials included WSB’s chief news anchor Scott Slade doing several ads, including promos for Moss and Georgia Power.
Both Slade and Sean Hannity do ads for Mark Spain Real Estate.
There were also ads on behalf of the radio industry against a proposed performance royalty fee that would benefit “foreign record companies.”
In a Twitter thread last May tracing Trump media companies’ registrations, Sarasota Herald Tribune columnist Chris Anderson asked why Trump’s companies are in Georgia.
One possibility is the Wes Moss connection. And that early operations were being done in Atlanta according to the investigation by Reuters.
The Reuters reporting in particular raises interesting questions about the politics of efforts to make Atlanta a Tech Hub.
The usual, boosterish points given in Atlanta’s favor are its engineering schools, lower cost of living than California, and, on the progressive side, its diverse population and historically black colleges and institutions.
But conservatives point to Georgia’s low union density and pro-business culture.
Are right-wing tech and media players hoping to make metro Atlanta a base of operations in countering “woke” Big Tech?
In addition to conservative talk radio, which has been on WSB since the 1990s, Cox Media also had a digital conservative media outlet called Rare from 2013–2018.
Cox has long dominated Atlanta media. When the Atlanta Journal and Constitution were separate afternoon and morning papers, Cox could boast both a right and left-leaning editorial board.
The papers were combined into one edition in 2001, dropped political endorsements in 2009, and moved its headquarters from Atlanta to the northern suburbs in 2010.
It has begun efforts to engage Black audiences How The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reaching Black audiences through its Unapologetically ATL newsletter — Better News
While still seeking to reengage the right.
But what if the issue isn’t media bias but monopoly control stifling independence and transparency?
In a press release dated July 18th, the AJC announced the hiring of a new senior podcast producer from WSB radio. His credits included producing conservative talk shows hosted by Herman Cain and Erick Erickson and “freelance podcast producing in 2022, most notably working with AJC contributor Wes Moss.”
The above story on Rare’s closing from 2018 is from Axios, the non-partisan digital news organization famous for its succinct articles and email newsletters. In 2021 Cox Enterprises became a major investor in Axios and gained a seat on its board.
While Cox has been mum on Wes Moss’s ties to Trump Media, the effort to create MAGA media outlets conflicts with Cox Media’s current good relationship with Georgia’s Republican establishment figures like Gov. Brian Kemp.
In addition to Truth Social, rival conservative social media and tech companies are seeking to appeal to the MAGA audience.
In Georgia, outlets associated with Steve Bannon (no relation) have done so by openly attacking WSB radio from the right.