CNBC journalist David Faber found himself in an unexpectedly candid conversation with Tesla CEO and Twitter owner, Elon Musk. The interview highlights the problems with the news media and how it’s beholden to advertisers – with journalists so quick to subscribe to the idea that it’s normal for advertisers to have power over speech.
Musk’s bold proclamation – that he doesn’t censor his speech for advertisers – seemed to confuse Faber.
Musk told Faber, “I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.”
This statement is emblematic of Musk’s often controversial and unfiltered approach to communication, which has been a subject of criticism from news media over recent months.
Musk’s penchant for candidness was underlined when Musk likened liberal billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros to X-Men villain Magneto. “He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity,” Musk tweeted. The tweet caused a backlash in the press.
When confronted by Faber about these tweets, particularly at the alleged anti-Semitic undertones many have tried to attribute to the tweet, Musk responded, “I’m a pro-Semite, if anything.”
“I mean, you know, do your tweets hurt the company?” Faber asked. “Are there Tesla owners who say ‘I don’t agree with his political position because, and I know it because he shares so much of it,’ or their advertisers on Twitter that [upcoming Twitter CEO] Linda Yaccarino will come and say, ‘You gotta stop, man.’ Or you know, ‘I can’t get these ads because of some of the things you tweet,’” Faber pressed.
“There’s a scene in The Princess Bride – great movie – where he confronts the person who killed his father. And he says, ‘Offer me money, offer me power. I don’t care,’” Musk responded.
“I’ll say what I want to say. And if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it,” he added.