Very Clever, Mr. Musk! (follow-on to yesterday’s post)

musk bannonYesterday, in my post, The Musk Special: Government-Privilege Two Ways, I pointed out how government policy, government subsidies, government-sponsored research and government regulation are crucial to Elon Musk’s Tesla empire, complete with examples of plummeting electric vehicle sales in markets where governments stopped fostering them.

This guy’s success is clearly dependent on government policy, and if government policy is the key to his success, what does he need on his side? (Hint: Binkley’s all over it! Just check out his reading list.) The answer is: PUBLIC OPINION!!! And what’s the key to public opinion? That’s an easy one. MEDIA! Sooooo……what did I read in the paper today???? Tesla took on two new directors and both happen to be media mega-wigs.

Tesla Names James Murdoch and Linda Johnson Rice to Board of Directors
Silicon Valley auto maker has faced criticism from investors about lack of independent directors

Tesla Inc., which has faced criticism from its investors about a lack of independent directors, named 21st Century Fox Inc. Chief Executive James Murdoch and Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice to its board.

Looks like the official story is that Tesla is doing this to improve the perceived integrity of the board. If so, they made an interesting choice! The rest of this article* reads like an apologia for James Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal in the UK as well as an ad for a kinder & gentler Fox News–no more racism or sexual harassment, promise! But hey, the Murdochs own The Journal–of course they’re going to take every opportunity to influence public opinion–that‘s my point!

(Another example–and a spectacular one–of The Journal blatantly serving the Murdochs’ personal interest, or at least their thirst for vengeance, was the way they went after Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos, a highly-hyped blood-testing company.

My husband was fascinated by the story–Holmes’ meteoric rise and her equally meteoric descent. He kept saying, “Man, The Journal has got it in for this chick–they are going after her!” I didn’t think much of that, and I’m not saying she didn’t deserve it, but I had to give my husband credit when I read in one of the later WSJ articles (after the damage was done and no one questioned the motive of the stories) that Rupert Murdoch was a major investor in Theranos and lost it all: $125 million.**

For Holmes, getting in bed with the Murdochs probably seemed like a good idea at the time. I suppose Travis Kalanick would say the same about letting Über get in bed with Google, but look what happened to him!)

*in the print version anyway–there’s other stuff online
**It wasn’t a total loss when The Journal started covering it, but it was clear by then that an arrogant Holmes would end up turfing it.

Update (7/22/17):
California Says Tesla Is Too Big to Fail
State Democrats can’t stop throwing taxpayer money at the electric vehicle wunderkind.

Update (9/2/17):
Elon Musk Wants to Save the World—At What Cost?
The life of one of the most driven innovators of our time is also a testament that outrageous success does not come without sacrifice.

Reminds me of this Forbes headline from 12/15/15:
Elon Musk Has A Plan To Save The World

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