Musk's David Faber Interview: "I'll Say What I Want And If The Consequence Is Losing Money, So Be It"

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 11:55 AM

Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk sat down for an hour-long candid, sprawling interview with CNBC's David Faber on Tuesday following Tesla’s 2023 annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas. Among many other things, Musk reflected on:

Accusations from the left over his tweets which have been criticized as lending credence to conspiracies about George Soros and a recent mass shooting event in Allen, Texas, insisting “I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it."

Clearly this displeased Musk's critics, who can't comprehend how someone who is hopes to receive major ad dollars (and thus be beholden to the largest US corporations via advertising channel) can speak his mind. In fact, according to Bethany McLean, "Elon Musk sounds like a spoiled child when he talks about free speech," adding that  "If you run a business that depends on advertisers you might have to think about it a little bit differently and Musk seems utterly unwilling to make that distinction." Translation: if you run a business that depends on advertisers, you can't say anything your advertisers disagree with. Which of course is another way of being subject to the censorship of the establishment, and why traditional media is always silent when certain interests - be it of generous advertisers like Pfizer, or the Deep State, or the Bidens, or the Clintons, etc - are in question.

Musk defended what Faber said was the spreading of "conspiracy theories" by countering that pointing out that so many of these "conspiracy theories have turned out to be true", and pointed to the Hunter Biden laptop suppression story, which was an example of "election interference."

Naturally, the question of Musk calling George Soros Magnito came up. An incongruous Faber asks where that tweet came from, to which Musk replies "that is my opinion." Faber then pressed: "why share it" if it could lead to less revenue/sales, and do your tweets "hurt the company"; Musk responds with a quote from the Princess Bride: "offer me money; offer me power. I don't care." The sad fact is that all of Musk's peers in the media world, who aren't independently wealthy and who do care about money (and power) will gladly be PR agents for their advertising sponsors, pretending to be independent media outlets.

How he has managed a takeover of Twitter so far and what lies ahead. Among other things, he said Twitter’s Community Notes feature has cost Twitter $40 million in business when two big clients reduced spending after their ads received community notes accusing them of false advertising. He also claimed that when the acquisition closed, Twitter had negative $3 billion in annual cash flow and $1 billion in the bank. “The analogy I was using was like being teleported into a plane that’s in a nosedive headed to the ground with the engines on fire and the controls don’t work….”

Musk said he voted for Biden but hinted he wasn’t happy with his choice, saying “I wish we could have just a normal human being as president.”

Asked if he believes the 2020 election was stolen, Musk said no, but countered that there certainly has been election fraud.

Musk even slammed the obvious CIA front Bellingcat. Discussing the recent Texas shooting, Musk said the shooter was "incorrectly described to be a white supremacist. The company that found this is Belingcat. Do you know what Belingcat is? A company that does Psyops."

Going back to twitter, and the historic layoffs there, Musk said that "Desperate times call for desperate measures," referring to the more than 6,000 job cuts. Remarkably, despite widespread calls that the end of Twitter is nigh as there is no way the company can survive with 80% of its workers fired, so far Twitter is leaner and faster than before, a testament to the epic employee bloat in Silicon Valley over the past decade.

His involvement in the early days of ChatGPT-developer OpenAI, saying that it exists only because he wanted a non-commercial alternative to Google’s growing dominance in AI. He expressed disappointment that the company has abandoned its non-profit roots. And he said he is no longer friends with Google co-founder Larry Page. “The final straw was Larry calling me a ‘species-ist’ for being pro-human consciousness instead of machine consciousness.”.

His personal views and habits when it comes to work and productivity. He said he takes only two or three days off per year, works seven days a week and gets six hours of sleep a night. He also said he believes it’s morally wrong for people in the “laptop class” to advocate for working from home when service workers, such as people who work in factories, still have to show up in person.

Tesla’s ability to weather rocky economic cycles. Musk said that the next 12 months will be difficult for Tesla from a macroeconomic perspective because of increased interest rates pinching consumer budgets. But he also said Tesla could take advantage of Tesla’s “real-time information on demand” for its cars to adjust pricing effectively.

Faber asked what would happen to the global economy if China makes a move to control Taiwan. “The Chinese economy and the rest of the global economy are like conjoined twins. It would be like trying to separate conjoined twins. That’s the severity of the situation. And it’s actually worse for a lot of other companies than it is for Tesla. I mean, I’m not sure where you’re going to get an iPhone, for example.”

Last but not least, there was a discussion of the Fed, which Musk believes is going to be too slow to lower interest rates when the economy slows, and that will hurt consumer demand. “You can think of raising the Fed rate as somewhat of a brake pedal on the economy, frankly,” Musk said. “It makes a lot of things more expensive. So if the car payment or your home mortgage is absorbing more of your monthly budget then you have less money to buy other things.”