Mike Isaac

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Elon Musk Talks About His Falling Out With the ZuckerPAC

IMGS8467-X2Tech stars may all be rooting for immigration reform, but not all are willing to go about it in the same way.

That’s what we saw last month when Tesla CEO Elon Musk left FWD.us, the political action group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and supported by a veritable who’s who of Silicon Valley.

The group seemed to be the idealistic bastion for technologists who wanted significant overhauls to U.S. immigration policy, but Musk, along with Yammer co-founder David Sacks, found the group’s methods distasteful.

So why the falling out, exactly? Musk broke it down for us in conversation with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the D: All Things Digital conference on Wednesday.

“Initially, I agreed to be a part of FWD.us because I agree with immigration reform,” Musk said. “But I think the methods that were employed — it was a little too Kissinger-esque, Realpolitik,” he said.

For anyone who isn’t familiar: Musk and Sacks departed FWD.us earlier this month after Zuckerberg’s PAC was found to be funding ads for senators and members of Congress who supported controversial environmental policies, like the Keystone Pipeline and Arctic drilling. Ostensibly, that ad support translated into getting votes to push the immigration reform bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee (which did indeed happen two weeks ago).

Elon Musk wasn’t down with that.

“I think we should try to make things happen for the right reason. We shouldn’t give in to the politics,” he said.

“If we give in to that, we’ll get the political system we deserve.”

Touche, Mr. Musk.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald