Thursday, July 12, 2018

CJR: "If you have an anti-Elon Musk take, you should probably publish it soon, because they are piling up" (TSLA)

From the Columbia Journalism Review:

Elon Musk’s predictable transition from hero to zero is almost complete
If you have an anti-Elon Musk take, you should probably publish it soon, because they are piling up. The latest was triggered by his attempt to help rescue a group of young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. A piece at Gizmodo said Musk’s attempt was a classic example of his empty promises, and made fun of the fact that no one wanted the mini-sub he developed. But the piece itself seems like a great example of something else: Namely, a desire to see the worst in Elon Musk, no matter what.
The weird difference between some of Musk’s famous vaporiffic moonshots and the kid-sized submarine is that Musk actually built the sub. But it’s nothing more than a useless stunt. Not only did Musk show up too late to help, he showed up with a tool that wasn’t even helpful.
A similar sentiment triggered dozens of scathing Twitter memes about the dumb and publicity-hungry billionaire showing up after something is all over with a stupid invention that isn’t even necessary. But at the end of the Gizmodo piece, an update notes that Musk posted on Twitter part of an email exchange he had with the man co-ordinating the rescue effort, in which the man encouraged Musk to hurry up developing the mini-sub. In other words, it wasn’t just some kind of fever dream a billionaire came up with in an attempt to spin up some positive PR.
Did this change anyone’s mind about Musk? Not appreciably. After his tweet explaining the email exchange, new pieces appeared taking shots at him for denigrating the former Thai governor, because he said in his email that the man was not an expert in cave rescues (which was accurate).

So how did Musk suddenly become the poster child for bad billionaires? Perhaps because familiarity tends to breed contempt, as the saying goes. Also, he at some point decided to go to war against the media for what he thought was biased coverage, and in doing so he seems to have turned a lot of the previously positive sentiment towards him into cynicism....MORE