Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — two billionaires vying with one another for the accolade of being the richest man on the planet — have long disliked one another.
This mutual dislike, as all such things do, frequently involves the throwing of sophomoric barbs at one another.
Quite often, this one-upmanship between Bezos and Musk has been an amusing thing for the public to behold. Recently, after the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, published a hit piece on Musk, we were treated to another such amusing instance.
And there’s no doubt that Musk ended up getting the better of this exchange.
WaPo Attacks Musk
The Washington Post published a story critical of Musk on February 23, 2021. The story was entitled “Elon Musk moved to Texas and embraced celebrity. Can Tesla run on Autopilot?” and had the following subheading: “Investors fear a world where Musk no longer leads the company. But his attention is already going elsewhere.”
The article, in short, accuses Musk of being an egomaniac who is ignoring his responsibility to his companies. It claims that there is a “cult of personality that has developed around him” and that this has begun to adversely affect the profitability and viability of both Tesla and Space X, the two companies Musk is in charge of.
It accuses Musk of only being concerned about his own fame and of letting his businesses fall by the wayside in his pursuit of popular adulation.
As “proof” of this, the article quotes a recent Tesla regulatory filing which states that, “We are highly dependent on the services of Elon Musk, our Chief Executive Officer and largest stockholder. Although Mr. Musk spends significant time with Tesla and is highly active in our management, he does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla.”
The insinuation here is that Musk is lazy and has a slavish, cult-like following.
Of course, it’s totally normal for a billionaire corporate CEO to have an extraordinarily busy work schedule loaded with many different kinds of responsibilities. The very same is true for Jeff Bezos, but the Washington Post would never dare to spin these things into criticisms of the Amazon founder.
Every company is “dependent” on the services of its CEO, especially if the CEO is competent. Apple was surely dependent on Steve Jobs, but it would be bizarre to use this fact to criticize him. Also, Musk runs two companies, Tesla and Space X. He, therefore, can’t devote all of his energy purely to Tesla. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this.
Musk Nukes WaPo From Orbit
Musk’s reply to these smears was as artful as it was terse. In response to the article, he simply said to the Washington Post, “Give my regards to your puppet master” — referring, of course, to Bezos.
In a mere seven words, Musk expressed WaPo’s hypocrisy and eviscerated the paper for it.