Elon Musk is spouting terrorist apologists, but he’s being foolish – even by his standards | Nuno Mendes

Taking the spirit of Twain’s “Truth is stranger than fiction” to new heights, does it matter who (or what) you punch in the nose? As for Elon Musk, the Twitter-spouting billionaire, there’s a new weapon in his company’s war cry arsenal: 9/11 trutherism.

Musk’s new caprice with Twitter came over the weekend when he attacked one of his critics for having the courage to name such a horrific terrorist attack after its perpetrators – and let us be absolutely clear here: these terrorists were not uninvolved, peaceful and well-behaved Muslims. They were a group of fanatic men who violently, methodically attacked our beloved nation of America, whom Americans call their “homeland”. Now who would ever defend the policies that led to that horrific day, and the brutal deaths of so many Americans and many more from around the world? Sadly, this self-righteous self-promoter did exactly that.

Amidst his daily abuse, the Tesla CEO has persistently been on a crusade against the Farhad Manjoo, a New York Times reporter who has accused Tesla’s self-driving system of botching its own safest tests. Musk has always denied the charges and, in a delirious response to the New York Times on Twitter, Musk wrote: “It’s not as if you yourself do any adequate reporting yourself. [Manjoo] had the opportunity, after criticizing the autopilot feature, to go out and get some real-world experience. Apparently, you preferred to post a ‘rejection of the autopilot system’ rather than a ‘rejection of actual findings’ … No space for deviation.”

‘Once a son of NYC, always a radical.’ Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alas, Musk has fallen in love with his own karma – with the poetic license that some politicians use to mask their true intentions and identities. He wants to be “a nation builder” and “a revitalization kind of person”, by the way. And if that seems overly idealistic and gushy to some, so be it. That’s his way of saying “good grief, I’m not a regular Joe like you.” He wants to save the world, which is why he supports rightwing nut jobs like, you guessed it, Donald Trump. The year is 2020.

The backlash to Musk’s trashing of fellow motorists for making a mistake in testing his technology shows what a loose cannon he’s being and how easily his mind can be triggered. Plus, there’s a feeling that Musk is slipping a bit of that Stepford a certain other kind of fool. Sure, there are radical Muslims – and yet he must have missed it.

Earlier this year, Musk was caught making light of a “Black Twitter uprising” over his sexist emails to a female worker at Tesla, commenting that he couldn’t manage a crowd of people who “weren’t cool”. This racist remark wasn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last Musk and co. make, because there’s nothing fascist about urging the people you work with not to be bossy. Sadly, none of this seemed to bother Musk’s extraordinary stance in the community at the time.

If you’re going to do that, you may as well go all the way. Musk is not going to get through a time when the US car industry is suffering from the factory shutdowns caused by Donald Trump’s tax cuts. His actions as a chief executive have not been good at all. Now he’s creating a competition for CEOs who get away with making sexist, racist or otherwise stupid remarks. I like to think he may actually enjoy the publicity he’s getting now by irritating the other side. He’s in his element.

My advice: don’t hurt anyone. Don’t make a scapegoat out of the real victims of evil – 9/11, the middle East, 1.5 million people who have been killed so far in Syria – and that’s what Musk’s doing.

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