Deconstructing: Deconstructed Podcast: Is Elon Musk a fraud?

Deconstructing: Deconstructed Podcast: Is Elon Musk a fraud?

Elon Musk is one of the great visionaries of our time; he is also an eccentric and polarizing figure whose actions may sometimes raise a few eyebrows, thereby attracting a lot of detractors. His recent spat with Alameda County and the pandemonium that ensued fits that general rule. So much so that Mehdi Hasan, a senior columnist for The Intercept and host of Deconstructed podcast show, aired a podcast about Elon Musk and his erratic behavior.

I’m a fan of Mehdi Hasan, I’ve been following him since 2013. However, I’m still trying to gather why he’s going after Musk and what was the purpose. 

Watch the video below for a recap. 

“Musk has been an absolute disaster, an embarrassment.” Mehdi Hasan.

Mr. Mehdi Hasan, hosted two visceral detractors of Elon Musk: California Assemblywoman Mrs. Lorena Gonzalez, and Tech and Labor reporter Mr. Jack Crosbie

Mr. Hasan proceeded to use the following terms to describe Musk:

  • A quote-unquote “BS merchant”
  • A “desperate attention-seeker”
  • A “man who extols the virtues of capitalism and the free market […], but also likes to grab taxpayer money”

Mr. Hasan also called out Musk on his comments on Twitter regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and has labeled followers and fans of the entrepreneur as an overzealous cult who will defend their “guru” at all times. 

“They [Tesla], were allowed to reopen…and that’s scary.” Lorena Gonzalez.

His first guest Mrs. Gonzalez who has previously made a very colorful remark in her description of Musk on Twitter, and apart from echoing Mr. Hasan’s sentiments, stated the following:

  • Tesla has received $5 billion in subsidies
  • The company disregards the safety of its workers and has engaged in union-busting practices
  • Musk’s companies were granted manufacturing and tax credits.

“They’re both billionaire snake-oil salesmen”. Jack Crosbie on Elon Musk and Donald Trump.

Mr. Hasan’s second guest, whom has also shared their opinions, went a bit further:

  • He argued that Elon Musk can be compared to Donald Trump in terms of projecting a certain image of themselves and the brand that they are selling.
  • Both men are good at making grandiose promises only to eventually renege on them later on. 
  • Musk only excels at being a salesman and is not a real-life version of Tony Stark.

Time to deconstruct Deconstructed:

Opinions are your own.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Nobody should be forced to like Elon Musk and his endeavors. Nor is Elon Musk a God that can do no wrong.  In hindsight, he was woefully wrong when he minimized the danger of COVID-19 on Twitter. At the time of that tweet however, the virus was nowhere near as widespread as it is today, and was not yet classified as a pandemic by the WHO. 

Subsidies are legal.

Secondly, there’s a subject that all three participants have relentlessly touched on: the subsidies. Newsflash: subsidies are inherently legal. Their benefits are considerable: Manufacturers increase their production output, therefore their supply, consumption grows, manufacturers can expand their businesses, which ultimately leads to the creation of more jobs, and more affordable prices of consumer goods. Economics 101.

Tesla is growing.

This is especially true regarding Tesla: the demand for Tesla cars is increasing and as well as turnover: in 2019 Tesla sold 367,500 cars in 2019, more than the two previous years combined. Through that increased output and sales figures, Tesla announced in November 2019 that they plan to open a factory in Berlin in the near future. This will increase the supply to meet the demand for new cars, which eventually leads to more affordable prices for Tesla cars and more jobs in the European market. Furthermore, since Tesla vehicles are all-electric, they do not consume gasoline and do not pollute the air with carbon dioxide, thereby contributing to a more sustainable environment which is critically needed in the era of Climate Change. 

Mrs. Gonzalez, Californians in general pride themselves on being progressive and environmentally-conscious. So why attack a company that is promoting at least the second point?

Additionally, all three participants have portrayed Elon Musk as a tyrannical charlatan who disregards the safety of his employees. However, they have neglected to mention three main points: Tesla published a blog on their website titled “Getting Back to Work” where they have listed out all extensive safety guidelines to reduce the threat of COVID-19

Elon Musk is indeed a good salesperson.

Moreover, Jack Crosbie and Mehdi Hasan gave Elon Musk a backhanded compliment in terms of being a good salesman that surrounds himself with smart people. We ask ourselves this question: how is that a sin? If you have a business and you want to make it profitable, you do so by surrounding yourself with incompetent fools? Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company, stated that he always strives to surround himself with people smarter than him and to make sure that they can work together. This isn’t even Economics 101. This is plain common sense! 

Some missed facts.

In conclusion, opinions vary from one person to the other, and freedom of speech is a fundamental right for anyone to have. But if you want to criticize someone who actually HAS done good things, make sure to point them out. Otherwise you are trying to push a certain narrative that fits with your train of thought whilst ignoring the other F word: FACTS!