By on May 31, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Oh, Elon. Elon, Elon, Elon.

As you, the reader, no doubt know, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been blasting the media – and financial analysts – for being critical of his company and/or its products. He was too annoyed to even answer questions from analysts during one recent earnings call – turning attention instead to a YouTube user who happens to be a Tesla investor and apparent fanboy. Musk gave him the floor for over 20 minutes.

Musk’s meltdown has continued since. Last week he stirred up shit on Twitter by suggesting that the media is lying and that he’ll create a media-rating service. He also may or may not have blown an anti-Semitic dog whistle (I don’t think that was his intent, but I can see why it was taken that way – especially given some of the nasty stuff that’s taken place on Twitter since, oh, lo about mid-2015 or so) in the process.

That’s just the short version.

There’s so much to unpack here – so much that I sat staring at a blank Word doc for 10 minutes, got up and paced around my place, sat down, stared some more, surfed the web a bit, and finally came back, still not knowing where to start.

I guess let’s start with the obvious, with the main conclusion that I formed a few days ago and that The Atlantic and others have also hit upon (twice, in The Atlantic’s case) – Elon Musk either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care about, how basic journalism works.

Put simply, journalists are not paid to promote Tesla or any other company. We work for our readers/listeners/audience, and we’re not here to cheerlead. That’s what a company’s PR department exists for. This also applies to analysts. They’re in search of the truth as well, albeit for a different audience – corporate clients or investors instead of the general public. There’s an overlap in skill set between journalists and analysts for a reason.

Some of us are charged with investigating corporate misbehavior or malfeasance. That’s why Reveal found that Tesla’s plant in California appeared to be an unsafe place to work.

Other journos are tasked with reporting any and all news relating to Tesla, whether it’s positive or negative from the company’s point of view. Others are asked to review the cars the company builds, and in the interest of serving car buyers, to be honest about what they find – again, regardless of whether it makes Tesla look good or bad.

It’s not that complicated. But whether because of thin skin, a desire to deflect attention away from his company’s failings and change the conversation to “Musk vs. the media,” a lack of understanding in what journalism’s role in society is, or a combination of all three, Musk has made it about himself and his reaction to media criticism. Not the cars.

Let’s start with Musk’s complaint that Tesla crashes make news and other car-related deaths don’t. First, that’s wrong – the media has reported on car-crash deaths extensively. Not just at the national level, but local news broadcasts always seem to mention a wreck or two. Second, and more to the point – when an Autopilot-equipped Tesla crashes, it makes news because the technology is new and relatively unproven. Musk or his fans often say the media is killing people by discouraging the development of autonomous cars, but I’d flip that around – if the misuse of the tech by misinformed drivers leads to fatal crashes, isn’t the tech already killing people? Not to mention that while it’s logical to assert that self-driving cars could someday reduce or eliminate car-related deaths, it’s not yet a given.

A couple weeks after that, Musk went crazy on Twitter following a piece from pro-Tesla site Electrek that quoted an analyst who dismissed concerns over negative headlines. Meanwhile, the Model 3 initially fell short of Consumer Reports’ coveted “Recommended” rating, thanks in part to a long stopping distance. The Model 3 did eventually earn the rating after another test, following over-the-air updates to the car.

Maybe it’s from all that sleeping on the factory floor, or the stress from not being able to meet promised production deadlines (sorry, Elon, but we warned you: Building cars and selling them in mass quantities is freakin’ hard), but Musk went deep into tweetstorm city.

What Musk is doing is classic deflection and discrediting – straight from the playbook of you-know-who. And it works, to an extent, because the media, like any human-run institution, occasionally has failures. Some are honest mistakes (remember the misidentification of the Boston Marathon bomber by a newspaper prioritizing speed over accuracy?) and some are scandals caused by the doings of high-profile journalists (see: Williams, Brian or Blair, Jayson). Failures of both kinds hurt the credibility of all of us, because outsiders like to paint with a broad brush. This applies to all professions, of course – we’ve all stereotyped lawyers as shady and sleazy when only a small percentage are.

One of the first things you learn in J-school is how important credibility is, and one of the second things you learn is how easy it is for it to be lost – sometimes through the actions of other journalists and no fault of your own. People like Musk know it’s easy to pick apart the credibility of those of us who report honestly on Tesla – he can look at high-profile examples of journalistic malfeasance or mistakes and say “see?!”

I know someone who lives on the other coast who also does the same thing.

Add in hyper-partisan media on both sides of the aisle (some of those outlets play quite loose with facts) and actual “fake news” hoaxes (ahem, Pizzagate), plus the fact that most of us probably didn’t sit through a journalism 101 class growing up, and you have a media consumer that can easily be led to believe that the media is lying or beholden to powerful anti-Tesla (or anti-EV) corporate interests, when in fact all the media is doing is reporting truthfully on Tesla. It just happens to be a truth Musk doesn’t like, one that could even hurt the bottom line, so instead of looking inward, as he should, Musk lashes out.

Finally, Musk is unique among big-name business figures in that he’s built a cult-like following, at least among a percentage of his supporters (just like – yeah, you get it). Some of these people are automatically going to take his word over the verifiable and objective facts, and that’s that. I don’t see Mary Barra or Sergio Marchionne getting the same treatment any time soon.

I should note here that despite my oblique references to the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania in D.C., I don’t fully agree with Bret Stephens’ assertion in the paper of record that Musk is Silicon Valley’s Trump. Stephens has some fair and accurate points, but he also misses the mark on some, as explained here. More to the point, his thesis is a bit of an oversimplification – Musk and Donny J. may react to negative press coverage the same way (Trump has even said that he attempts to discredit the press in order to get his supporters to believe him), but there are huge differences between the two.

One thing that is the same, though, is that both men used the same press they vilify to reach their current positions. The press gave Trump’s campaign a lot of coverage, not because it wanted him to win, but because the campaign had a carnival atmosphere, and that coverage may have helped him win. Similarly, Musk and Tesla have gotten a lot of positive press over the years, and that probably hasn’t hurt Tesla’s attempts to sell cars.

Thing is, and I’ve said this before, a lot of us in this industry actually want to see Tesla succeed. That doesn’t mean we’ll cheerlead for the company or hold back on reporting negative news – we have to do our jobs. But reporting truths that happen to be negative or being honest about a car’s failings isn’t the same as rooting for failure/against success. This applies to other parts of the journalism world, as the current sports editor of the college newspaper I once toiled for explains here, in reference to my alma mater’s failures on the hardwood.

I assure you, Elon, if you’re reading this, that I don’t hate your company. I am not being paid under the table by other automakers or Big Oil to write negatively about Tesla. Nor am I under some corporate mandate to be mean to Tesla. I just am obligated to report on your company honestly. So is my staff and most of the other journalists covering Tesla (I concede there could be a journo or two with a hidden agenda, but the only one I’ve seen so far is actually probably on your side).

Also, dude, you don’t need to create a site to rate the media. It’s not because we can’t take the heat (although I suspect crowd-sourcing it will lead to a lot of inaccuracies. Irony!) but because Snopes and Politifact already exist, and while their primary objective isn’t to rate media accuracy, they do so when warranted. Sorry, that “need” has been filled already.

Elon, we in the media aren’t afraid to have our credibility rated by a third-party site, but we are concerned that a site like your planned “Pravda” could be misused to create more misinformation, or to unfairly impugn the credibility of legitimate outlets that are doing honest work. All it takes is an army of trolls to downvote a credible story that they don’t like, and just like that, more misinformation has been spread.

Mr. Musk, let me school you on two more aspects of journalism. You’re actually partly right when you say that we are under pressure to get clicks. Just how TV news needs ratings, or newspapers need a combination of newsstand sales/advertising/subscriptions. Why, it’s almost as if most of the media is a for-profit business!

Except for Reveal, which is a non-profit. Guess not everyone out there is looking to profit off Tesla’s faults.

Sarcasm aside, just because we need clicks doesn’t mean we do sloppy work, push an agenda, or play loose with facts. Quality journalism and the need to have an audience read our work isn’t mutually exclusive. You can have a snappy headline that gets clicks that is also factually accurate and refers to a true story. You can work to get clicks and remain objective and unbiased. Furthermore, there’s a separation between advertising and editorial at any outlet worth its salt.

Second, while you’re correct in saying that most media outlets are corporate owned, most journalists and editors aren’t beholden to report what the owner wants – editorial and ownership rarely interact. A basic truth of journalism is that editors and reporters are usually not interfered with from above. Sure, we at TTAC have occasionally been asked to run some (clearly marked) advertorial content, and our bosses may give us some very general, very broad guidance on the site’s direction and tone, but generally speaking, we’re on our own to find the content mix that works best for our true masters – the readers. And that’s how it is at virtually every trustworthy media outlet.

I suppose maybe you’re confused because there are some outlets that have been criticized for too much corporate control over editorial? That can happen – there are exceptions to every rule. Google “Sheldon Adelson” and “Las Vegas Review-Journal” sometime. Or Fox News. Or Breitbart. Then remember that those outlets are outliers.

Oh yeah, another thing – stop using sites run by (alleged) sex cults to back up your points.

Look, Elon, if you want good press, build good cars, and take accountability when you fall short. It’s not that hard.

And maybe delete your account. At least for a bit. You can always come back – perhaps once you hit the next production deadline.

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43 Comments on “One More Media Take On Elon Musk’s Media Meltdown...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    I have never seen an article on TTAC with so much butt hurt, i certainly can’t take anyone serious that thinks snopes or politfact are actual fact checking sites and not politically aligned to a certain party.

    Big difference between an extreme divorced lefty and his cat running snopes than there is for crowd sourced examples of inaccuracies in journalism to call out terrible journalists suggested by Musk. Not even close

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      I agree. There were a lot of laugh lines in this article. The writer obviously has a higher than average opinion of journalists.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Unlike you, he’s actually works as one. So did I, and I never had a work experience that demanded more fairness, accuracy and accountability. Starting with the first time you misspell the name of some city official, you learn that your word is your bond, brand and all you’ve got to sell. Nothing else I’ve done so demanded that I give credit to opposing views, either. You show no signs of any such experience.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          I will tell you sometime about me misspelling an interview subject’s name throughout a front-page profile on him when I was in college. He was a big wig at the university. I got chewed out over that one and learned my lesson.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      No butt hurt. I can take criticism, comes with the job. Y’all do it to all of us every day, and I’m thankful — it means you read, you care, and it makes us better. You guys even catch mistakes sometimes, and that’s appreciated.

      People misunderstand the media pushback as us being whiny. It isn’t. We care about holding companies to account, and when someone with the popularity of Musk is trying to discredit the media to distract from his company’s own failings — failings that could conceivably negatively affect car buyers and investors — that’s bothersome. It’s our job to call them out on that behavior.

      All we’re doing is simply saying to Musk that instead of blaming the messenger, he should have his own house in order before lashing out.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Nice piece, valid points. Williams, Brian is still employed, as is Ross, Brian. These guys are like football coaches, it’s as if there isn’t anyone waiting for a job, they keep the same old names in circulation. I’m a ‘Cuse fan but I’d love to see DePaul get back to where they were when Ray Meyer and Mark Aguirre were household names. Man, I’m old.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    lol at this article. I got no beef with Musk. He is a creator. Perhaps genius level. I don’t think normal people (like author of this article) get it. Dude creates business after business. Try doing that once in your life. Instead of just being critical.

    In this day and age, when we wonder about American exceptionalism, here is a man that brings it in every way, and beats every one. But yeah, let’s nit pick on a few accidents. Or how he treats the entitled journalists. Or how some of his products in early stages may not be as fully baked.

    Fact is, he made electric vehicles a thing. While Germans, Japan, and big old American three just pay lip service. Not even talking about every other business he has created. Give the man his due.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      Musk has a lot of problems, but his hating on journalists isn’t one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I get that he’s done a lot in his still-young life. Props to him. SpaceX is pretty cool.

      But I take issue with your other points. He’s helped EVs, yes, but the market is still minuscule and Nissan and a few other OEMs have also sold EVs to varying degrees of “success.” Furthermore, when a CEO like Musk makes outlandish promises in a public forum and fails to deliver, after customers have put money down, that’s news. When a new tech (or misuse of same) is possibly the reason for crashes, that’s news. When a plant (for any automaker, not just Tesla) has safety problems, it’s news.

      Thing is, those of us in the industry aren’t surprised that Tesla’s had growing pains. That’s standard. Musk made it newsworthy when made promises he wouldn’t keep.

      I give the man credit, he’s smart and has accomplished a ton, and he’s still young. But he doesn’t seem to understand that when you draw a lot of attention to yourself, it won’t all be positive. Our job is to report honestly, and that means both the good and bad. Not just the good.

      Edited to fix a typo.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Musk fanbois are legion. They display the kind of blind loyalty usually reserved for South American soccer fans. Musk made electric cars a thing? Risible. Al Gore invented the internet too. Good grief.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Boy, did this one take a wrong turn rather quickly. However, with that being said, I knew it would. As soon as I finished reading the article I knew the comments will be all over the place.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    I got as far in the article as (journalists) “We work for our readers/listeners/audience.”

  • avatar
    ajla

    I doubt anyone will accuse me of being a Tesla cheerleader, and I’ve been commenting here for over a decade, but I can’t say that I’ve ever found TTAC’s coverage of Tesla to be especially objective.

    From Farago to Healey TTAC has always stuck the knife deep when it comes to Tesla. This site had an entire series called “Tesla Death Watch” and nearly every “news” article posted about them for the past several months has been dripping with snark and attempts to sway the reader to an anti-Tesla/Musk stance.

    I don’t know if it is agenda-driven, corporate-driven, click-driven, a personal thing or what but acting like the overall automotive press (not just TTAC) has been “just the facts” when it comes to Tesla is disingenuous.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      They also had quite a Buick Death Watch recently too.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I’m not sure where I’ve stuck the knives in Tesla. Last time I wrote about the company, I partially defended it from unfair attacks (although I also went after the blind loyalty of partisans).

      We’ve been known for snark, as I hope you know. I can tell you there is no anti-Tesla agenda of any kind, the company has just made headlines that don’t make it look good lately.

      It’s that simple.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    A couple of points here.
    The CR Talking Cars #52 and Musk tweets I have found(there could be relevant ones I missed) don’t seem to merit this degree of angst.
    TTAC has previously posted articles that call out other auto jounalists, and that seemed to be OK.
    Also, TTAC calls out carmakers when called for; what’s wrong with calling out journalists when called for? I’m not saying his comments are correct, but I see some double standards here and a lot of thin skin.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Oh, we’ll call out auto journos. See the linked piece about Lambert. I just find Musk way, way off base and the relevant tweets are linked.

      • 0 avatar
        hpycamper

        I clicked on the links and found very little that was directly attributable to Musk himself, and nothing particulaly inflammatory from him. Is the issue his proposal for a website that judges jounalists? Could be good or bad depending on how it is moderated.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          To me, the inflammatory tweets include the initial retweet of Electrek and the first couple ones he followed that with. I roll my eyes at the fact-checking site thing — it’s actually been done, I’ve seen a few sites out there, they just don’t really make news.

        • 0 avatar
          Malforus

          Esquire had a good rundown of what Musk directly did: https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/a20895958/elon-musk-pravda-twitter/

          The upshot is there are credible accusations of safety issues in his production line and he himself has responded poorly to questions about why he has turned on the Media he indulged so intimately for years.

          Judging journalists by public moderation is a dicey scenario since public popularity contests are bad at fact checking (see also twitter polls of reality).

          There is too much to game in a popularity contest of the truth.

          • 0 avatar
            hpycamper

            Clicked on the link and read the article. Very little directly attributable to what Musk said or wrote. Nothing indicative of a meltdown or war on journalists. Mostly journalists referencing other people’s thoughts or other jounalists.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I was really hoping TTAC would stay out of this dumpster fire, unlike a competing auto-“journo” website.

    One point of clarification I think I need to take this article seriously is that “We” is used several times throughout the article. Sometimes it is referred to as “We Journalists” and other times not. Point of question:

    “Sarcasm aside, just because we need clicks doesn’t mean we do sloppy work, push an agenda, or play loose with facts.”

    We as in “TTAC” or we as in “all media”? The reason that this is important is that point blank, there are many in the media that are journalists or so-called journalists who do sloppy work, push agendas, and play loose with the facts just for the sake of clicks.

    While you and yours at TTAC don’t do this, I don’t think one man or one group can speak for the entire case of journalists. If anything, what passes today as in journalism isn’t much more than a hack behind a screen tweeting or blogging, getting millions of clicks. Most, if not all of the media content today, isn’t even driven by real journalists. Simply put, the media and credible journalists as you speak of are two different entities, and to some degree, must be separated. I think what much what the media does is indefensible. That may or may not include real journalism.

    I really think Jack’s piece over on his site is really, in my mind, how car journalists should be looking at this.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      It was the royal we, the editorial….

      Movie references aside, I was speaking only for TTAC but most journalists I know work under the same guiding principles.

      • 0 avatar
        Ugliest1

        Well, you were wrong to not make it clear “we” was talking about “you” or only “TTAC”. It comes across like you’re defending the entire journalistic (and quasi-journalistic) world. I don’t think Musk had TTAC or principled journalism (assuming that still exists) in his sights at all, even though @ajla and @DanielJ were very correct in pointing out recent TTAC articles for the authors seeming to have a burr in their individual jockstraps with the over-snarkiness. Musk is looking at “so-called journalists who do sloppy work, push [hidden] agendas, and play loose with the facts”, AND those writers and magazines/sites that actively lie and misrepresent facts in efforts to actually take the company down. If you haven’t noticed those falsification articles, just go onto financial-related websites where the hate is real, and compare article statements against actual facts. If you’re being honest, you’ll spot the difference.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          Like I said, I can only speak for TTAC, but most journalists who are worth their salt also work the same way, at least in theory. So I guess I was defending TTAC for sure and the larger profession for the most part. Sorry if the wording was awkward, but I thought I was clear.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    If you were hoping to maintain the veneer of objectivity you could have at least chosen examples of bias from more than one side. For that matter if you were hoping to perpetuate the falsehood that journalists are anything other than constitutionally protected shills for whatever their side happens to be then you could have chosen better examples than Breitbart and Foxnews.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I didn’t choose those sites for partisan reasons, they both are just well-documented for having had interference from their owners.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        I’m someone who has a job. Unlike actors, journalists, and teachers my job does not have an intrinsic platform to foist my value and my values on the world. I just do my job. Actors, journalists, and teachers have an inflated sense of their worth because they have a captive audience who not only is more or less forced to watch them do their job, but is also forced to listen to them talk about their job.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Trump has received relentlessly negative mainstream media coverage since the day he announced he was running, and his fans love that he fights back against the unfair treatment. Musk has received mostly fawning media coverage throughout his career, but some cracks have emerged after 10+ years of massively missing launch deadlines, quality glitches, crashing cars, and losing money at Tesla. The extensive and mostly positive media coverage has also allowed him to not spend any money on advertising, which gives him a big cost advantage over other automakers, and also makes his mostly positive coverage doubly impressive since Tesla covering journalists aren’t under any pressure to protect media revenue sources. Now Elon is getting some negative stories and his stock prices are hurting, and he is lashing back at coverage of events that are of his own making. I imagine it is very hard for someone that has always been the golden boy to take some negative coverage, especially when most of the coverage is not fake news, and in that respect Elon should more fairly be compared to the losing 2016 Presidential candidate, who is still blaming the media for her loss even though they spent almost the entire campaign covering up her entirely self-inflicted sins.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Reasonable thought, but unlike the losing candidate clearly Musk is highly intelligent despite being overly optimistic. Stands to reason that Musk sees how little trust Americans have in journalists and knows that going against them will bring a much larger number of people into his camp than he stands to lose. Besides the ones he stands to lose are the older consumers that still trust cable news and print media, or otherwise use social media to form opinions. People that are not early adopters of new technology or are less likely to try change. In other words, people with little education which usually translates to individuals without the resources to purchase his products.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Here’s an unreported fact: The “deadline-missing” Model 3 comprises 31% of all BEV sales YTD in the US, and “inept” Tesla dominates the BEV market YTD at 63% share.

    These numbers will likely swing more heavily in Tesla’s favor by year’s end.

    Blood always attracts more sharks than sugar does, and so blood is the favored dish offered by journalists – whether it’s about cars, politics, celebrities, health, or business.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Pretty impressive, except for the part of losing several thousand bucks per unit sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      How long will Burger King last if every hamburger meal it sold made a loss of only $2? This is how Tesla is at the moment.

      I even believe if (ever) Tesla meets production targets his vehicles will still be loss makers.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if large recalls are made with the Model 3. Patches are cheaper to fix than mechanical components.

      Another issue I’d bet Tesla is confronting are how many different chassis batch number vehicles are there within the Model 3? If Tesla has many Model 3s with modified and upgraded components this is a cost to Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m not defending their P/L problem, nor the quality issues. I bailed on my Model 3 out of concern for quality, among other reasons.

        My point is this: Tesla is now the solid leader in volume and revenue in the EV segment. But only the dramatic, negative stories make the news – just like any other thing.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I have some experience with journalists. I’m married to one; my sister is married to one, and I’ve been interviewed by various examples over the years as I’m a subject matter expert. Journalists are trained how to form a sentence; how to conjugate a verb, how to write, etc. but they generally don’t know the first thing about the subject they are writing about.

    If you are an automotive “journalist” who’s never designed any component of a car, worked on an auto assembly line, or worked in the auto industry in any capacity, then you have no business writing about cars, even if you can properly conjugate a verb.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I disagree with this a bit (and yes, I did work in the industry, in the dealer world, briefly). I’ve worked with automotive journalists who didn’t come from an automotive background and they learned everything they need to know to be good at the job. It’s true that sometimes journalists are assigned to cover topics they know little about, but that’s the nature of the beast — you learn what you don’t know.

  • avatar
    bultaco

    OK, another TTAC article that blathers on forever about basically nothing. Let’s boil it down. The current war on journalism is a bullshit distraction created by moronic politicians who pander to stupid people. Musk is a weird guy with a thin skin who is protective of his business when it is criticized by the media. The media bashing and distrust created by moronic politicians and perpetuated by dumb people has seeped into the public consciousness to a degree that even smart people like Elon Musk use it when criticized in the press. Musk’s company makes fully electric cars that are actually aspirational and wanted by the public. Dorky BMW i3s, Chevy Bolts, etc., not so much. Tesla made electric cars desirable and “cool” to many members of the public almost singlehandedly; they’re a common sight now. Lots of people hate Musk and Tesla for reasons wholly unrelated to the company’s business model, products, labor relations, and management. Tesla is an American auto company which makes cars in America that people actually want and actually purchase. The cars aren’t perfect but they’re very good, and the company tries to make them better with the passage of time. The company has existed for less than 20 years. The US big three have existed for 100 years and only a few of their products are aspirational or class leaders. No kid dreams of owning a Caddy or Lincoln when he grows up, I’m afraid. There. That about sums up the article and some of the comments.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    You don’t want to see Tesla fail, or any business for that matter. I also believe Tesla is easily interchangeable with Musk. So, when you hear “Tesla” mention the first thing you think of is Musk. Then the next thing you recall are the recent accidents, missed production targets, duty of care to his workers regarding safety, etc.

    This isn’t ideal.

    I do believe part of Tesla’s problems is the way in which Musk presents himself as a holier than holy person. You can understand his desire to see his business be a success rather than the loss maker it currently is. You can empathise with his defensive manners on Twitter and other media.

    The big but is, he must keep much of this emotion within the golden circle of management and not allow the public to see his frustration.

    Elon has created the view of Tesla himself. He was the one making all the calls from dates and production numbers, to all these fantastic new vehicles, from prime movers to super halo sports cars to deflect attention away from the negative aspects of Elon’s own errors.

    Tesla is not perfect and Tesla will only ever be as good as Musk. I believe Musk is a visionary with some great ideas, but he isn’t an industrialist and little clue on how to be one.

    Maybe Elon should of stood back and gave a bit of slack to the educated ones in industry. Even though Tesla is selling the most EVs in the US he’s running at a huge loss.

    The vehicles he sells have in the past been based on generous handouts.

    With future reduced handouts how will Tesla perform, especially with the production woes Tesla faces.

    I believe the media overall have been fair with Musk, even that Consumer group.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Forced to choose among journalists, Elon Musk, or pretty much any “fact-checking” website I think I would go with the lasagna.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Well, at least it’s just the CEO of an indie automaker who believes the press only exists to promote his product and policies, and that anyone who crosses him are lying traitors. Imagine if the country was run by someone like that! XD

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    This is an excellent article.

    I wouldn’t say that historically (or even recently) TTAC’s coverage of Tesla has been completely objective, though; while factual, in tone it has displayed an unmistakable schadenfreude. That isn’t surprising or even inappropriate though: this site isn’t an objective newspaper, it’s a fan blog for an industry that is feeling threatened and defensive in the face of changes exemplified by Musk and Tesla. I figure it evens out the cheerleading from other blogs e.g. Elektrek.

    Speaking of which. Any good journalist knows to follow the money, and in evaluating possible conflicts of interest, any news consumer can do the same. Elektrek has something to gain from Tesla’s success: referral dollars and Tesla stock value for the site’s operators. TTAC has something to gain by Tesla’s troubles: a better competitive position for other automakers who unlike Tesla advertise on TTAC. This sort of thing should never affect coverage in a perfect world, but not all owners are equally hands-off, and not all bias is conscious.


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  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States