Elon Musk blasts lying 'big media,' is labeled a 'Trump figure screaming irrationally about fake news'

Elon Musk attacked “big media” today while linking to an article critical of the recent media coverage of his car company Tesla. Journalists on Twitter took exception to that with some comparing Musk to President Trump and others suggesting he sounded like an authoritarian.

The article Musk linked to reads in part:

The media has been having a field day with Tesla crashes and Model 3 delays lately, which has affected the company’s stock.

Now Baird is out with a new note claiming that those reports are ‘increasingly immaterial’ and that the stock could rally as the market gets over it.

Musk’s attack on the media didn’t go down well with this writer for The Verge who, minutes later, suggested Musk was transforming into President Trump:

Musk punched back and offered his own that’s-how-you-got-Trump analysis of the media:

Another Twitter user suggested Musk sounded like an authoritarian:


Again, Musk didn’t back down:

Musk then went on to spell out his solution: A site to track the credibility of media figures:

He even has a catchy name in mind:

A reporter for left-leaning news site ProPublica then attacked Musk as ignorant:

Reveal is a non-profit that published a story critical of Tesla’s safety record last month. That doesn’t seem to have been the focus of Musk’s initial statement about the media but the site is acting as if this is all about them. Musk attacked them as rich kids from Berkeley:

He added:

He also put up a poll on whether or not to launch this new media venture:

A reporter for the Economist notes that Musk already seems to have taken steps toward creating his “Pravda” media-rating site:

So there you go. What does all of this mean? Here’s one take:


Actually, it does sound like Musk might have some interesting things to say about media bias and there are clearly lots of media people who don’t like him saying it. So he really would be a good fit in some ways with the so-called IDW.

On the other hand, I’m not sure his idea for a media-rating website is a good one. Here’s why: There’s a pretty solid social science basis for saying that partisans on both sides of the aisle are more likely to take pains to undercut arguments they disagree with while giving a pass to arguments they agree with. It’s called cultural cognition. So it’s not hard to predict what would happen if you put up a media-rating site. People on the right would go after left-leaning sites and people on the left would go after right-leaning sites.

Musk’s own Twitter rant, and the responses he’s received shows why his idea probably won’t work. He believes his company is being treated unfairly by journalists looking for clicks. Lots of journalists take exception to him saying so. If all of those people go to a website to produce a rating of articles on this topic, what is the result? Well, it depends entirely on whether Musk’s supporters or opponents show up in greater numbers. Those numbers could shift back and forth as the partisans on a particular issue show up to disagree with their opponents. People might decide to support the credibility rating of sites attacking Musk’s companies simply because he’s rich and they hate capitalism (or whatever) not because the articles attacking him are fair or accurate.

The problem with the idea of a rating-site like the one Musk proposes is that there is no privileged position from which to issue a judgment on what is absolutely fair. In the end, everyone can become a partisan and his site would just be a new forum for the partisan battle. He might as well just put up a poll on Twitter: Is this article fair to Tesla? The results will be just as conclusive.

That said, a lot of Americans on both sides agree that the media doesn’t do a great job anymore (if it ever did). Distrust in the media is a growth industy so now might be a good time to get in on it.

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Jazz Shaw 9:21 AM on February 08, 2023