May 26, 2018

"He is prone to unhinged Twitter eruptions. He can’t handle criticism. He scolds the news media for its purported dishonesty..."

"... and threatens to create a Soviet-like apparatus to keep tabs on it. He suckers people to fork over cash in exchange for promises he hasn’t kept. He’s a billionaire whose business flirts with bankruptcy. He’s sold himself as an establishment-crushing iconoclast when he’s really little more than an unusually accomplished B.S. artist. His legions of devotees are fanatics and, let’s face it, a bit stupid. I speak of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, the Donald Trump of Silicon Valley."

Writes Bret Stephens at the NYT.

103 comments:

Hagar said...

Well, Bret Stephens has found a home.

n.n said...

The Mexican influence at NYT and other special interests bent on disenfranchising Americans.

rhhardin said...

BS artist slung as an insult by a NYT opinion writer.

Oso Negro said...

Whatever Elon Musk is, he's a good one.

Curious George said...

What do you think will be bankrupt first....Tesla or the NYTs?

Gahrie said...

Elon is a greater man, who has accomplished more, than that hack Stephens can even imagine.

Gahrie said...

Every time a Tesla crashes it makes the headlines, while the hundreds of other cars that crashed that day get ignored. Every tax break that Tesla or their owners receive is highlighted and condemned, when the much bigger tax breaks and bailouts given to traditional car makers is ignored. Every government dollar SpaceX receives is treated as a sin, while the other aerospace companies are ignored.

It's no secret why he has contempt for the media.

brylun said...

Why even read Bret Stephens? He's unhinged.

Fernandinande said...

And all this time I thought Donald Trump was the Elon Musk of Washington.

Paco Wové said...

Oh noes! The tribe of journalists is under attack – must circle the wagons and fire back!

That said, I wouldn't touch a Tesla (or Tesla stock) with the proverbial ten-footer.

Bob Boyd said...

Bret who?

tim in vermont said...

I love how they utterly dismiss every concern of the people who voted for Trump by calling them stupid. If you are one of the economically blessed, who is well fixed with a cushy job at Google or the New York Times, America is already great!

Whatever you do, do not examine the Trump phenomenon in terms of economic class!

Quayle said...

Horse and Buggy industry member scolds a car maker.

Some things never change.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Brett Stephens is an example of a particularly despicable individual these days, the cucks licking the feet of the depraved and wicked Democrat party for a few pieces of silver.

tim in vermont said...

Tesla is a fine car for a clement climate, a moderate commute, and a gentle terrain. Can't see driving around Vermont in subzero weather unless you confine yourself to the Champlain Valley.

Wince said...

House conservative Bret Stevens is the NYT's Rumpelstiltskin, forever spinning the same straw into gold for the Gray Lady.

Clyde said...

Hyuk, hyuk, Hyuk. Isn't that New York feller plum clever?

Robert Cook said...

"I love how they utterly dismiss every concern of the people who voted for Trump by calling them stupid. If you are one of the economically blessed, who is well fixed with a cushy job at Google or the New York Times, America is already great!"

It's certainly not stupid to have voted for Trump just to say "NO!" to the horrid establishment Washington insider who was the other choice for those who wanted to vote for a major party candidate, (I voted third party, as usual). However, it is, if not "stupid," at least exceedingly naive or self-deceiving to believe Trump's rhetoric has any connection to any deep convictions on his part, or that he will work for the benefit of America's citizens instead of for its oligarchs.

tim in vermont said...

I actually considered one, BTW. A BMW 7 series is far more comfortable and can get you from South Florida to Boston on two 18 gallon tanks of gas. Not telling you how I know that, but America is already great and Trump better not fuck with the price of foreign cars!

tim in vermont said...

Thank you Robert!

Darrell said...

Was Bret Stevens wearing a wife-beater when he wrote that?

Gahrie said...

or that he will work for the benefit of America's citizens instead of for its oligarchs.

Those of us not mired in communist ideology recognize that he has already done so.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe Hillary and Bret Stephens could start a company together and show everybody how it's done.

Jupiter said...

Blogger Gahrie said...
"Every tax break that Tesla or their owners receive is highlighted and condemned, when the much bigger tax breaks and bailouts given to traditional car makers is ignored."

You are apparently unaware that Tesla gets a substantial amount of its income from the payments other car manufacturers make to it so that the government will allow them to sell pick-ups.

tim in vermont said...

However, it is, if not "stupid," at least exceedingly naive or self-deceiving to believe Trump's rhetoric has any connection to any deep convictions on his part, or t..."

One needs to make one's concerns known in a democracy, at a minimum, unless you flat out don't believe in democracy.

tim in vermont said...

When batteries get closer to gasoline as a means of storing energy, hobbyists will be retrofitting Teslas and will really have something.

Original Mike said...

Oh oh, now he’s gone and made Gahrie mad.

Gahrie said...

You are apparently unaware that Tesla gets a substantial amount of its income from the payments other car manufacturers make to it so that the government will allow them to sell pick-ups

If true, all the companies involved are merely taking advantage of incentives created by the government...which is precisely why the incentives were created in the first place. So Elon is evil for doing exactly what we wanted him to do?

I'm Full of Soup said...

I'm not an Elon Musk fan; he seems like PT Barnum to me and I don't support huge govt subsidies to help him sell very expensive virtue signalling electric cars. But men like Musk and Trump have produced many good products and ideas in their lives. Contrast that with pundits and pols like Stephens, Obama, George Bush, Hillary, David Brooks, etc.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Gahrie said...”Every time a Tesla crashes it makes the headlines, while the hundreds of other cars that crashed that day get ignored.”

Surely you understand why one is news and the other isn’t.

Charlie Currie said...

The man launched his f$%&ing sports car into space with the radio blaring like it's on a warm summer night's cruise, using a rocket his own company designed and built. That's a get out of jail card in my book.

Gahrie said...

Surely you understand why one is news and the other isn’t.

You mean the fact that Tesla crashes are actually rare events and crashes by other types of car are all too common?

All Elon (and I) are asking for is a little context. But it's easier and more fun to tear somebody down with inaccurate reporting.

Michael K said...

self-deceiving to believe Trump's rhetoric has any connection to any deep convictions on his part, or that he will work for the benefit of America's citizens instead of for its oligarchs.

Thank you, Cookie.

Nobody ever called me an Oligarch before.

I appreciate it.

Gahrie said...

The biggest problem Tesla faces today is an inability to meet customer demand for its product.

Original Mike said...

”You mean the fact that Tesla crashes are actually rare events and crashes by other types of car are all too common?”

No, I mean the fact that one is a self driving car and the others aren’t. But you knew that.

Sebastian said...

"it is, if not "stupid," at least exceedingly naive or self-deceiving to believe Trump's rhetoric has any connection to any deep convictions on his part, or that he will work for the benefit of America's citizens instead of for its oligarchs"

OK, I have described Trump as a bullshitter right here on this blog many times. I don't assume he has any "deep convictions" beyond effective self-promotion.

But--his policies have been roughly in line with his promises (though he caved to Congress on a few items), his decisions and appointments have leaned conservative pretty consistently, and his foreign policy shows a healthy regard for American power and self-interest (TPP excepted, in my view).

The new tax law, the sorta-kinda crackdown on illegal immigration, the economic Trump bump since the election, and so on, all "work for the benefit of America's citizens."

The actual oligarchs are all anti-MAGA.

David Begley said...

Short Tesla.

Gahrie said...

No, I mean the fact that one is a self driving car and the others aren’t. But you knew that.

Really? Tesla makes the only self driving car?

Gahrie said...

I wonder how many accidents are caused each year by people using cruise control?

Original Mike said...

”Really? Tesla makes the only self driving car?”

Oh, come on. All self-driving car crashes are news.

etbass said...

"Trump better not fuck with the price of foreign cars!"

The foreign cars I buy, Toyota and Honda, are Made in the USA.

Original Mike said...

”I wonder how many accidents are caused each year by people using cruise control?”

You can’t be this naive. Self-driving cars have the potential, for good or ill, to completely change our mobile society. We have very large decisions to make in the coming years. Of course their performance is news, in a way most of the drek that is foisted upon us by the media is not.

Gahrie said...

The press started highlighting Tesla crashes long before autonomous driving was available.

Luke Lea said...

Walter Russell Mead has some interesting observations about Trump's unique use of speech, which is not about communicating facts and ideas (the way it is with most people, including conventional politicians) so much as creating situations that he can use to advantage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPFMcnmyUg

PB said...

Bret is very flexible - he writes whatever his editors desire.

Original Mike said...

”The press started highlighting Tesla crashes long before autonomous driving was available.”

I started to type “I’ll take your word for it”, because I don’t know. But upon reflection, on this topic, I don’t. You have a strange crush on Musk. NTTAWWT.

Original Mike said...

Why would the press hate on Musk? He’s doing the Lord’s work combatting global warming. It doesn’t make sense.

Darkisland said...

Most BMWs sold in America are made in South Carolina

John Henry

Iowan2 said...

President Trump is not a politician. That drives politicians insane. Name one action that has harmed the USA,or violated the constitution. Obama legislated through regulation, ignores judicial orders, spied n political campaigns, and reporters. Entered into treaties without submitting the to congress, just to name a few.

Gahrie said...

You have a strange crush on Musk.

It's a fair cop.

He's very much my favorite African American, and if I was a woman I would conspire to have his children.

The man arrived here with empty pockets and huge dreams and changed the world.

Michael K said...

The only car I saw in Los Angeles in 2016 with a Trump bumper sticker was a Tesla.

Absolute immunity.

rcocean said...

Burt Stephens is the son of immigrants - and therefore superior to Trump. And he works at the New York Times and before that the WSJ and the Jerusalem Post.

Sometimes he's conservative, sometimes he's liberal.

But he's always better then you.

Phil 314 said...

Now Mr. Stephens, write the same piece without mentioning or alluding to Donald Trump.

Original Mike said...

”Most BMWs sold in America are made in South Carolina.”

Would they be free from Trump’s tariff?

We want to replace our 20 year old Saab and are thinking of the VW Alltrack (it’s one of the few cars we can find with a manual transmission). I don’t know where they’re made.

rcocean said...

Telsa attacks media, NYT attacks back.

Not surprised.

Tell me when Jennifer Rubin and George Will join in.

Darkisland said...

O Mike,

What level of autonomy do you have in mind? Level 3? 4? 5?

I see lots of applications for level 5 cars in cities. Probably dispatched like uber.

Lots for level 3, outside of cities. Maybe even level 4 with level 5 capabilites on interstates and the like.

Not dispatched, though. We're Americans. We don't like others telling us where we can and can't go and when.

John Henry

Original Mike said...

Musk is changing the launch industry. I expect that will be his legacy.

Original Mike said...

”O Mike,
What level of autonomy do you have in mind? Level 3? 4? 5?”


I’m sorry, John Henry, I don’t understand the question.

buwaya said...

Musk is a wild man, a fellow who makes things happen.
They aren't always going to work.

The failures, the ideas, the technology, the experienced peoole, are going to get picked up on by some other people who probably are going to make them work. Thats how Silicon valley worked in its day. Things that failed were fertilizer for things that succeeded.

Musk did indeed play the game of Democratic politics to get several sorts of political benefits for his enterprises, which is dirty pool, and he has had "interesting" friends on that side. If you like you could also rag on him for a rather Trumpian personal life. And his family life in South Africa is the stuff of soap operas. Musk will delight his biographers in every way. Not quite as much as John McAfee, perhaps, but he is still young.

SpaceX seems solid, it is succeeding, at least as far as taking the lead in market share in that business. In that its been a wild success. Its interesting too that Musk has isolated it from his other enterprises. If they go down SpaceX remains.

Darkisland said...

Phil,

It would be unconstitutional to put a tariff on a SC BMW.

Stupid, too.

John Henry

buwaya said...

The Elon Musk story will make a great novel, no matter how it turns out.

Darkisland said...

Level 1 is a basic car as most of us currently drive.

Level 5 is fully autonomous, no driver

2,3 and 4 are increasing levels of autonomy

John Henry

gilbar said...

Robert Cook
you are Really starting to irritate me; what with your (at least semi-) sensible comments.
Since i disagree with you; i'd appreciate it if you'd be more of an idiotic jackass like several of the left-wing (or LLR) people here.
You frequently say things that are coherent, and which i find myself (partly) listening too. Please Stop This RIGHT NOW!

Next time, before posting; ask yourself: What Would Inga Do?

Gahrie said...

If they go down SpaceX remains.

I believe SpaceX is still privately held.

Original Mike said...

Personally, I have no interest in an autonomous car. When I’m old and senile, sure, but not before then.

I also have serious doubts they will be ready on anything like the timeline their advocates are claiming. I’m 62, and I don’t expect they’ll really be an option for me in time.

Gahrie said...

I also have serious doubts they will be ready on anything like the timeline their advocates are claiming. I’m 62, and I don’t expect they’ll really be an option for me in time.

All the cars will be autonomous in our Martian retirement communities.

MD Greene said...

The NYT editorial pages canvass the broad range of opinions from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn.

Original Mike said...

“All the cars will be autonomous in our Martian retirement communities.”

Well, they’ll be starting from scratch.

Besides, Lord Musk will decree it.

Ray - SoCal said...

Tesla seems to have a major manufacturing issue, unfortunately.

Technology being deployed by Tesla is forcing the advance of the entire auto industry.

His solar company also seems to be having issues.

Lack of major improvements in Battery technology is a major issue with all electric cars, impacting recharge time and range.

SpaceX I can’t say enough good things about - Amazing what has been accomplished.

Driverless cars seem to have to many issues, both legal and technology, not to mention hacking. My guess another 10 years... I wish it was sooner.

Etienne said...

He made billions when NASA became staffed with Affirmative Action engineers.

walter said...

Blogger Original Mike said... Why would the press hate on Musk? He’s doing the Lord’s work combatting global warming.
--
Trump praised Musk. Their CAGW religion is Trumped by TDS

JaimeRoberto said...

"He scolds the media for its purported dishonesty."

He says that like it's a bad thing.

dbp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

Whatever problems there are with Tesla, Musk did this and I will never forget it.

Fred Drinkwater said...

To me, the most interesting thing about Tesla is the number of ex employees in the valley starting new companies. Like Apple, and Xerox PARC in the Elder Days.
Musk is supposed to be very difficult to work for, like Jobs.

Michael K said...

Blogger Etienne said...
He made billions when NASA became staffed with Affirmative Action engineers.


The outreach to Muslims helped, too.

Unknown said...

Next up. Musk and China and Russia and Alaska start tunneling, China being a superpower in tunneling and bridgebuilding, a hyperloop and more across the Bering strait to fulfill China’s dream of having a world encircling silk road. That’s already started. No end of GED jobs for a couple centuries, reengineering, rebuilding and replacing all the world's infrastructure, including today’s buildings. and mega complexes. Why? Every building agra-mega-farm, and factory will need its own stop on the road. Where every pseudo environmental law, delay inducing agency and special interest and grievance group, and regulation and court finding that would slow this work bought off or overridden for the greater good, ending airline and more polluting and inefficient transportation. To insure we can support 10x and growing current population of the earth. Because wealth is the sum of educated intellects applied over time to hard problems directed by a market, rewarded for success and merit divided by the cost of mobile energy. “So, we must do this for the Children” ™ and with ever increasing wealth a better quality of life than the elites because they are willing to get up early and work for it What we lose of nature we can replace even better than the original with VR, vision and tactile and smell-O-vision masks. Have a good day.

Original Mike said...

Blogger dbp said...”Whatever problems there are with Tesla, Musk did this and I will never forget it.”

I could watch that a thousand times.

Bay Area Guy said...

The New York Times sucks. And it tends to coopt its columnists - even previously good ones like Stephens - to suck too.

So, now I feel obliged to give Elon Musk more of a break.

chickelit said...

Musk opposes the same impulse in media that Trump opposes. That is his sin.

Wealthy men like Jeff Bezos and Carlos Slim — who produce nothing — have always looked to buy political influence in media. If you take that away or otherwise try and rebalance that equation of power, expect some push back from that media and the puppets who write for them.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Whatever. Whatever rough patches he's been a proven success in more than one disruptive technology industry. Stephens is suffering from needing to spread out his bashing away from the many corrupt conservatives these days - a target-rich environment if ever there was one. Steve Jobs had his ups and downs too.

Darkisland said...

Chicklit,

I think someone hijacked your account. You usually make sense.

Bezos produces "nothing" are you nuts?

Amazon is "nothing"?

Blue Origins is "nothing"?

Turning the wapo around is "nothing"? (early days and may still fail but there some hope)

Any of those would be a pretty spectacular accomplishment

All 3? And you call it "nothing"?

Shame on you.

John Henry

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Far be it from me to help someone as strange as you out John Henry, but chickelit unfortunately has placed politics above all else much of the time nowadays and is convinced that the most controversial right-winger of the day is always being unfairly maligned and must be assisted at every opportunity. Thus, chick's willingness to carry the water for Trump in his crusade against Bezos.

BTW, in all likelihood Bezos became the next in Trump's never-ending line-up of enemies by simply owning The Washington Post - a newspaper over which he exercises no editorial control, of course. But since when do relevant facts like that matter to Trump and the verbal vendettas he launches? It's like the guy Bluto going on about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor in Animal House. Trump's on a roll and chicken's here to help him - just like the rest of you.

Blue@9 said...

"His legions of devotees are fanatics and, let’s face it, a bit stupid."

Pretty fucking rich coming from a NYT reporter.

Darkisland said...

Thanks for your input, Squeamish.

John Henry

Jim at said...

The man launched his f$%&ing sports car into space with the radio blaring like it's on a warm summer night's cruise, using a rocket his own company designed and built. That's a get out of jail card in my book.

Yeah. I could do without Musk's cars, but that was just off-the-charts.

Gahrie said...

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/05/every-3-5-years-spacex-is-adding-a-decade-lead-on-competitors.html

TWW said...

'I speak of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, the Donald Trump of Silicon Valley.'


No Bret, you write of Elon Musk. Your words don't leap off the page into my ear; I have to read them.


Snarky? Your the wordsmith.

Unknown said...

Bret Stephens, The New York Times, Elon Musk. Which one are you going to believe? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Kevin said...

She they’re keeping Hillary and sending us Elon?

Trump is right. These people really don’t understand how trade works.

Tom said...

Have you driven a Model S? This man is no joke.

Be said...

It is only in wealthy areas, like ski resorts, where we see tesla recharging stations, here in New England.

Funny, back in France, Autolib's were the rage, and at at fraction of the cost of the (already subsidized) Teslas.

Cheap electric cars vs the subsidies to produce / market them? France has our ass, yet again.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Be,

Can you explain the point of battery cars?

What is their advantage over normal cars?

Why change something that works?

(I'm assuming you are a fan of battery cars. If not, apologies)

John Henry

Gahrie said...

Can you explain the point of battery cars?

4 door sedans that can go 0-60 in under 3 seconds with instant acceleration does it for me.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

40% of French electricity comes from nuclear.

John Henry

MikeR said...

Given that Musk has absolutely revolutionized several different industries, and is seriously trying to revolutionize several others, it's a little silly for small people to think they have a say.

Michael K said...

I'm OK with electric cars but it is bizarre that the people who support Musk and electric cars oppose nuclear power.

They lose all credibility with me just like the global warming types.

MikeR said...

SpaceX and its competition: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/05/every-3-5-years-spacex-is-adding-a-decade-lead-on-competitors.html

Bad Lieutenant said...

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...
Be,

Can you explain the point of battery cars?

What is their advantage over normal cars?


Transmissions delenda est! A motor in every wheel! Regenerative braking!

Not so much batteries per se. A hybrid with constant speed engine is OK.

Darkisland said...

Blogger Bad Lieutenant said...

Transmissions delenda est! A motor in every wheel! Regenerative braking!

Not so much batteries per se. A hybrid with constant speed engine is OK.


Yup. That I am fully on board with. How big would the constant speed engine need to be? Car engines are big because you need them for acceleration and hills. For steady speed cruising you might need 20-30HP to maintain the battery charge? Run it at its most efficient speed when the battery needs charging. Shut it off when it doesn't. Let the battery be big enough to handle the peak loads as needed.

Charge it at home if that is cheaper than running the engine. Drive 500 miles without stopping to recharge when you want.

I've long been in favor of using smaller, more precise, motors at the point of use so that power is transmitted via wires rather than mechanical linkages.

Yes, a motor on each wheel.

GMTA.

That's not what most people are talking about, though. They seem to think a purely battery car, like a Tesla, is a good thing. I think it is stupidity on stilts. Particularly outside cities.

John Henry

chickelit said...

@John Henry:

By "he produces nothing" I meant Bezos is just a big retailer. He doesn't make things, he just resells things. He's Titanic deck chairs with "free shipping" courtesy of tax payers. As I said before, American fascism is all the Amazon trucks running on time.

John henry said...

Amazon has a large robot makes a lot of industrial robots. Used to be called Kiva Robotics. Extremely innovative company.

Wikipedia says Amazon currently has 30m in use.

As for the post-office Amazon is building its own delivery service planes trucks drones.

Would you say fedex and ups produce nothing?

When it does and the po loses all that profitable volume, you will be crying about Amazon putting the po out of business

John Henry

Bill Peschel said...

"He scolds the news media for its purported dishonesty and threatens to create a Soviet-like apparatus to keep tabs on it."

Oh no! He threatens to keep track of what the media reports and when they lie / get it wrong.

Burn him!