The social media site formerly known as Twitter, and currently known as X, has long been a cesspool of social ills. But ever since Elon Musk took the reins in 2022, two years after he officially moved to Texas, it has gotten a lot of attention for tolerating a surge in antisemitism, racism, misogyny, all manner of hate speech, and misinformation. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that on Monday morning, our very magazine got dragged into Musk’s gutter, via a bizarre, doctored image of Texas Monthly’s October 2013 cover. The real cover featured a portrait Texas Monthly commissioned of Greg Abbott sitting in his wheelchair in a clearing, a gun propped over his shoulder, under the headline “The Gov,” with an asterisk next to it leading to the words “barring an unlikely occurrence,” as he was heavily favored to win reelection the following month. On X, the faux magazine’s title, in a similar font to that of the genuine article, had been changed to “Israel Monthly,” and one rim of Abbott’s chair was decorated with a shiny chrome Star of David. 

The image was posted by the X account @lporiginalg, run by a right-wing troll who goes by the display name “I,Hypocrite,” with half a million followers. The account’s recent posts include antitrans and antigay memes and a post about repealing the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. In response to the fabricated magazine cover, a slew of users posted various antisemitic dog whistles, videos from Holocaust deniers, wheelchair jokes, and so on. So, Musk’s continued experiment in making X a haven for “free speech” is going swimmingly.

No, This Greg Abbott "Israel Monthly" Cover Isn't Real
Texas Monthly’s October 2013 cover.Photograph by LeAnn Mueller

To be clear: There is no magazine called Israel Monthly. The photograph of Abbott did not appear on such a magazine’s cover. Abbott’s wheelchair has standard rims, not the Star of David dripping in chrome. It is a bit baffling that this needs to be declared, but X’s algorithm surfaces comments from seemingly credulous users right to the top, with posts expressing sentiments such as “I thought this was fake when I first saw it” (it is fake!); “This could be parody or it could very well be real, and I have no idea which it is” (it’s parody! Or just a lie! You have the tools to obtain that information yourself; simply google “Is there a magazine called Israel Monthly”); and “No way this is real” (it’s not!!!). 

Thus far, the image has been viewed more than 160,000 times. X’s “Community Notes” feature currently hides a note indicating that the image has been doctored. Abbott and Musk appear to be pals, so perhaps the label will find its way to the visible side of the platform in the near future.