Elon Musk Trades Jabs With ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ Big Media: ‘You Lost Your Credibility a Long Time Ago’

Anti-media rant comes after reports that Tesla failed to disclose serious injuries in mandatory filings

Last Updated: May 23, 2018 @ 2:13 PM

Elon Musk exchanged Twitter barbs with journalists on Wednesday, slamming “big media” for what he called a “holier than thou hypocrisy” and saying the public has lost its trust in reporters who only publish enough to “sugarcoat lies.”

Musk’s anti-media rant came in response to a Reveal News article about Tesla’s failure to disclose some of the company’s most serious injuries on mandatory reports. Musk has denied accusations in the story, saying the negative statements made by former employees in the article were part of a “disinformation” campaign to promote unionization in his company.

“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,” Musk wrote.

Tesla, has been under scrutiny by the federal government following a series of accidents involving its vehicles. In March, a Tesla Model X driver died after hitting a highway divider in California while in autopilot mode. Federal agents are also investigating a May accident involving a Model S that hit burst into flames in Florida, killing two teenagers, after the car hit a concrete wall.

During his Twitter tirade Wednesday, Musk threatened 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,” adding that he was thinking of calling it “Pravda” — also the name of a Russian newspaper known for peddling government propaganda.

The tweets caught the ire of some journalists who pushed back on Musk’s claims.

“This is the sort of spectacularly bad take you write when you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about but want to sound like you do,” tweeted Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThreeEight.

“Go spend time in an actual newsroom or get to know some journalists @elonmusk. I think you’ll find they have some biases but they’re mostly implicit ones derived from their cultural context whereas most journalists would be horrified at writing something to please an advertiser,” Silver added in a separate tweet.

“Musk continues his slow transformation into a media-baiting Trump figure screaming irrationally about fake news. Hope it works out for you dude!,” the Verge’s Andy Jayhawk shot back.

To which Musk answered: “Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like [President] 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.”

Dana Hull, a tech reporter covering Tesla for Bloomberg tweeted: “It’s not like journalists who cover Tesla wake up every morning, pour coffee and think hmmm, what ‘negative’ story can I write today. But your comms strategy has largely been all defense, no offense.”

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