CEOs have started to pull from the Trump playbook: offend, muddle, but ultimately change little

It was a busy week of the information media strategists of powerful billionaires. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump all said troubling, offensive and, on occasion, factually incorrect things this week. Then hours later, tried to reach back in time and edit their statements, much like you would an errant Facebook post. All three either flatly denied they'd said what they said, or attempted to revise their statements in ways that failed to acknowledge that they'd been said in the first place.

Some of the original statements have been fiddled with so much they feel as though they happened years ago. But a recap: Musk baselessly called Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who helped rescue a group of boys from a cave in Thailand, a ” pedo” on Twitter. Zuckerberg told an interviewer that Holocaust deniers weren't” intentionally getting it wrong” and would not remove their posts from Facebook because such posts are” not trying to organize damage against person, or assaulting person “. Trump went against the clear findings of his own security agencies and said he didn't see any reason why Russia would have interfered in the US election.

Public figures do sometimes plausibly claim to misspeak under sustained pressure from a fiery interviewer, but none of the original comments were given under duress. Trump's came at likely his most keenly watched press conference since taking office, something he would have had months to prepare for. Musk's came in a series of tweets from his personal account. Merely Zuckerberg faced sustained questioning from an interviewer, Kara Swisher, in his appearance on the Recode Decode podcast.

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