Rudy Giuliani and Elon Musk Walk Into a Bear Trap
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Talking is hard, even if you do it for a living.
Rudy Giuliani, recently hired to lawyer for President Donald Trump, appeared on Sean Hannity’s Old-Timey Propaganda Hour last night and promptly talked his client into a fresh morass of legal and political jeopardy.
On the plus side, he generated billable hours for his fellow lawyers, who crafted CYA tweets for Trump this morning. But even those tweets raise troubling legal questions, warns Noah Feldman. He digs into the theories they and Giuliani espouse and finds “All this makes no sense, in law or in economic logic.”
Hours before Giuliani’s bombshell, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk did some freestyling of his own. On a conference call about his company’s quarterly results, he grew weary of Wall Street analysts’ “boring, bonehead” questions about such trivia as “cash flow” and “why can’t you make enough Teslas.” He cut them off, at one point suggesting you shouldn’t even buy Tesla stock if you worry about such foolishness. This promptly drove the electric-car maker into a fresh morass of financial jeopardy; its stock price dropped and its borrowing costs jumped.
Both men had one job – use words to make life easier for their client/company – and both failed. It’s almost enough to make you appreciate good spin.
Giuliani’s words were arguably more impactful, at best dinging the president’s already shaky credibility.
As for Tesla, it’s burning cash and will need to ask investors for more, Liam Denning argues. Musk made that harder, or at least more expensive. Musk, though, seems increasingly convinced that all those people calling him the real-world Tony Stark are onto something. You almost can’t blame him; as Liam notes in a follow-up, Tesla calls typically are useless celebrations of Musk’s genius.
But to paraphrase another guy who used words to spin his way through stuff like invading Iraq: No matter how big you are, even in the Donald Trump era, it still helps to be careful what you say.
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