The 1 Troubling Aspect of Elon Musk Raging at the Media
It’s entertaining seeing a media darling raging at those who love him so. But there’s something not quite right.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Elon Musk is unhappy.
I know this because I follow him on Twitter and his tweets today are coursing with something that looks like rage.
Tesla's CEO seems to believe that the media are writing unfairly about his cars, including the Model 3.
The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them https://t.co/Ay2DwCOMkr-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Oh, this doesn't bother me so much.
As it happens, friends of mine bought a Model 3 recently. They love it, save for the first five minutes of embarrassment when they realized they'd never test-driven it and had no idea how to switch it on.
Still, some members of the media are concerned, for example, that the thing Tesla calls Autopilot isn't really an autopilot and lulls drivers into a false sense of auto-relaxation which might lead to auto-mishap.
Musk, though, thinks the media auto-overplays accidents involving his cars.
It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage https://t.co/6gD8MzD6VU-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2018
This has now led him toward threatening to create a site that examines journalists' truthiness.
Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda ...-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Yes, Pravda already exists, but I doubt it will sue. I fear, though, a Russian person in a bedroom somewhere might get upset and, well, you know, start messing with Teslas from afar.
But this isn't what bothers me either.
Nor is it even his accusation that because Tesla doesn't do paid advertising -- in the conventional sense -- it's likely to get poor media coverage when compared to, say, conventional car companies that advertise seemingly all the time, everywhere, until they really do sound like the car dealers so many try to avoid.
Problem is journos are under constant pressure to get max clicks & earn advertising dollars or get fired. Tricky situation, as Tesla doesn't advertise, but fossil fuel companies & gas/diesel car companies are among world's biggest advertisers.-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
This does seems strange. Tesla really doesn't have to advertise because Musk and the fascinating nature of cars garner so much free publicity.
I can think of few business or tech personas who receive more favorable fawning that does Musk. And sometimes, with good reason.
He's engaging, forward-looking, even occasionally witty.
The fact that he's suddenly railing against his fawners still doesn't bother me too much.
No, what bothers me is the logic in another of Musk's Wednesday tweets, the one that represents the core of his ire.
In it, Musk bristles about being compared with a certain president who's not fond of being subject to negative media appraisal.
Thought you'd say that. Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks "You're just like Trump!" Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more. You lost your credibility a long time ago.-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
My eyebrows did commit a strange shivering motion here.
You see, if no one believes the media anymore, why should Musk worry about what the media writes?
And, well, there you have it. Just a bit of auto-suggestion.