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Home / Business / Why are NYTimes and other big media companies getting Tesla and electric vehicles so wrong?

Why are NYTimes and other big media companies getting Tesla and electric vehicles so wrong?


Published on June 27, 2019 |
by Zachary Shahan

27. June 2019 by Zachary Shahan

Among the people who closely follow Tesla, the biggest topic of the past week seems to have been biased and misleading by Tesla and electric vehicles or cleantech in general from the main media.

This is a particularly difficult topic at the present time. Independent world-class investigative journalism is a fundamental pillar of a democratic society. Journalists of the New York Times of the Washington Post and elsewhere have done an outstanding job and deserve much more praise and honor than they received from the public for their political coverage. It seems that Michael Flynn, who posed a serious national security threat to the US, would not even have been dismissed by top media without investigative journalism. In fact, dozens of corrupt, anti-democratic, and harmful acts by the Donald Trump administration would not have been made public (at least not for those who follow suit) if there had not been a truly admirable journalism.

To decide whether we have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. "(Thomas Jefferson, 19659007) Reporters Can Be Extremely Useful and Highlight Important Truths to the Public When they engage in a topic, they research it thoroughly, have good sources, and have sufficient resources and support to teach them at different levels Secure message organization.

Sadly, though Tesla is a hot topic and gets into the discussion Many headlines seem to say that most, if not all, of the key ingredients are missing from the people in the big media involved in understanding and reporting on Tesla. Why?

One hypothesis that many people come across is that it's all about the ad money. Car companies and oil companies are not showing ads, Tesla is not, and the media are therefore at least a little inclined to write nice things about the former and attack the latter. Apart from a few rare cases * (and possibly automotive media) I do not buy this theory. I still believe that the sponsorship / advertising arms of major media companies and editorial areas of these companies are separate. Journalists usually do not think about the sponsors, and even if they do, they care more about their journalistic integrity than about spiking up a sponsor. and that the editors are very concerned about the integrity of their jobs and their role in society.

So, where is that for us? I will suggest a few reasons for the problem. I think it's a combination of all these things. I can be wrong, but no matter what the reason, I believe that a proposed solution will ultimately be an important one that will help, no matter what the cause.

Poor Information: First of all, we must be honest with smear campaigns outside of the media. These are not theories. Some of them have been documented, others are obvious. There are very large industries that are threatened by Tesla and the entire cleantech industry. There is the oil industry. There are automakers and car dealers. There are large utilities that are threatened by solar roofs. All of these industries have a history of misleading messaging campaigns, and there's ample evidence that they've formed a large, disjointed Tesla smear campaign together. Throw in very vocal often false and influential Tesla short sellers and you have a whole wide world of anti-Tesla propaganda. Look to the left, you can find it; look right, you can find it; If you look, you can find it.

It's not hard to see how this massive misinformation leads journalists astray, lures them, and convinces them to spit out Tesla hits. (I think I should reiterate that this is actually a lot of separate efforts with the same overall goal – slow growth of Tesla / Cleantech .It's not a large and centrally organized smear campaign this organic decentralization makes it more effective.)

As an example, a Tesla fan and investor recently set out to search all 484 articles of an extremely anti-Tesla reporter in the LA Times , He tried to find out where the reporter's "hostility" to Tesla came from. Quotes his analysis:

  • In late 2016, Russ Mitchell published his first interview with Bob Lutz:
  • In April 2017, the tone of Russ Mitchell's Tesla articles changed dramatically when the following article was published in a summary of the TSLAQ short film thesis :
  • The next 2+ years are a flood of almost exclusively negative articles about Tesla by Russ Mitchell: well over 90% of the headlines are negative.
  • Note that he recently released his Short Seller thesis on April 24, he wrote an article on a random model on April 20, S / X recall:

Bob Lutz is a household name in the auto industry. You may think he is a legend, or you may think he made mistakes for mistakes, but he has clearly risen to one of the highest positions in the car world. If you do not know much about manufacturing automobiles, the auto industry, or automakers' finances, I think it's very easy to swallow what Lutz has served to make it very useful and have your fundamental view of Tesla Business made.

One notable point that is probably glossed over here when it comes to this topic is that Tesla is a nuisance. Tesla disturbs the car industry. "Well, duh," you might think. But let it rest for a minute. Tesla bothers the auto industry because traditional automakers did not take it seriously, did not understand his vision, the consumer appetite for Tesla and Tesla-like electric vehicles did not understand, did not understand how an electric startup could work in the 21st century grow large scale, did not understand the current software potential and did not possess the state of mind or the experience of an entrepreneur / startup. "Well, you are." Yes, duh, but if you're a reporter for a large media company tasked with reporting on the young Tesla, what's your job? You'll need to turn to "industry experts," find out about Tesla, and report on an intelligent story (or 100 of them) that translates that expertise into a common language. But since most experts in the traditional auto industry "do not understand", they will tell you a terribly misleading story (or 100) .

Well, if you return to 2013, 2014, or 2015, it's easy to see in retrospect how wrong they were. These people were often very confident in their opinion of Tesla, as they were sure that Tesla would soon be a brief footnote in the diesel trash can of history. They were dramatically wrong but were cited and also used as unquoted sources at the highest levels of auto-business journalism. They were considered the wise people who really knew about about Tesla and Tesla's bleak future, though they did not. Go back to Bob Lutz and just browse, because I kind of love him, through our Lutz archives, to see how weirdly wrong every time he talked about Tesla.

I have occasionally been invited to major technical discussions regarding Tesla for the past few years. Years ago, and on the last phone call a couple of months ago, auto industry experts made a relatively small handful of claims about why Tesla was doomed to fail, and if I did not know the company and the market myself, it would be easy to mislead them with their arguments , Tesla has been facing an "obvious demand cliff" or a "demand plateau" since the start of my coverage of Tesla in 2012, experts say, who know the limits of consumer demand for electric vehicles ("1% of the market maximum, at most 3%) %, certainly not more than 5% … "). The obsession of Tesla's lack of profits is more of a scratch – the company wants to put every inch of money into faster growth, with its overall goal being to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and transport. Critics, however, believe that Tesla should continue to do so, above all, make profits and pay dividends. The company experienced truly shocking growth and demonstrated the strong potential of its approach to the industry. However, the critics continue to miss the mountain by focusing on the pebbles on the ground. The point is, if big media journalists have shaped (and do) their Tesla world view of auto industry and energy industry experts, they are just as lost as the industries that bother Tesla.

Finance is another important issue here. Technical journalists, transportation journalists and "hey, this company is hot" journalists are not necessarily financial professionals. Again, it can come to many bad information, if you turn to the experts. For one thing, it has to do with what is the most abbreviated stock on the US Stock Exchange. There are many people who are financially motivated to lower the stock price of Tesla . This is also legal. You can do reporters with all sorts of creepy nonsense and have no consequences. Even without lying, you can make Tesla's story with a little manipulation and omission of facts / contexts very shaky. Why would not you do that? As it turns out, Tesla short sellers are very vocal and try to influence the media discussion. Some of them have a close relationship with reporters from the New York Times, the LA Times, Business Insiders, and so on. Apart from the short sellers, you have several Wall Street analysts covering Tesla because they cover cars. Like the issue I've described above with executives in the auto industry, these auto analysts on Wall Street find it hard to understand the business and incorporate it into the normal spreadsheets and context of the car companies they're dealing with. It is a unique company that is difficult to understand and analyze. Diving into a world of old, big and established car companies is causing confusion. In the past few years, there have been many cases where these analysts were completely wrong, and yet they continue to be trusted sources of insight into Tesla, a business that many of them do not understand at all.

The next point to talk about advancing the discussion on this topic is a confirmation bias that, however, refers to all the problems that I am presenting.

Narrative hole: Yeah, I'll say that hard on Tesla. If you have a company that enters into hundreds of thousands of reservations for a product worth over $ 35,000 within a few weeks – years before its production – there is a tremendous thirst for news about your business. Tesla rarely releases new blogs or press releases. If reporters are to create the news themselves, they will look elsewhere. The news came from Tesla, when it became clear that the Model 3 was a big deal, but Tesla had no strict strategy to run the narrative frequently through the company. This could have happened with shallow and profound interventions in technology, staff, mission, product improvement, etc., but the approach was far too limited and incoherent.

Yes, there is Elon's Twitter feed. I'm a big fan of Elon's Twitter feed, and I was long before tweeting CleanTechnica stories a lot. I think he is a great communicator, funny and really brilliant. Elon's Twitter feed is a goldmine for absurd news. He's sometimes a Monty Python character (useful or not for Tesla, that's damn good conversation). He is sometimes a flame-throwing troll. He sometimes appears as a student with an existential crisis. (Great, in my opinion, we should all have regular existential crises, but this can be twisted for Tesla.) Journalists often have a higher respect for the purpose of their careers, but they also know that their job is to entertain and eyeballs bring in. Many a non-Tesla Elon tweet can be used to write an interesting, eye-catching, and controversial article that is a big deal for eyeballs and not a good look for Tesla. I do not think it's right (wait until I get to the section "Fundamental Lack of Context"), but it's also to be expected, especially if Tesla does not do much else to form the narrative and more reportable stories about it to stimulate oneself.

Prejudice to the Realms: Some reporters will not like that. I do not like it. I was hesitant to address this. But I think it's important. Firstly, because the wealth gap in the United States has become extremely large, secondly, because many super-rich can play the system to get richer, while others get poorer, and partly because some rich are so crappy. "Fewer people," and partly because reporters are not in the highest economic level of society (to put it well), many people in the world of journalism have a bias towards rich people. I'm not looking for specific reporters here, but I think that bias is part of the culture of the journalistic world.

No doubt, Elon Musk is a rich mother of shit. The guy is a business genius, extremely intelligent, and has an unusually high risk appetite – risks that often pay off. I do not know any other person who has been so consistent in founding disruptive startups. In the entrepreneurial world of the US, it's a good thing to have failed in a startup – because it means you've learned something and matured, and everyone does. Well, not everyone – Elon does not seem to have a problem with winning one after the other.

Whether wealth is earned or not, many people are angry that Elon is so rich. They are annoyed that someone who is so eccentric, stupid, and sometimes recklessly critical of respected people or norms is a billionaire. That puts a target on the back. I am a progressive. I think the inequality of wealth is one of the three biggest crises in the country. I know that some people in "my tribe" go that step further and equate "billionaire" with "villain" by nature. Often, this is not even a hidden trend in an industry where you "plague the powerful"

If some reporters claim that Elon is a "cheater" or is running a "Ponzi program," of course, they will start to present their big, bright Pulitzer prizes to defeat him. It's easy for people in the industry to find that Tesla is a house of cards, damn the obvious physical and market-related evidence.

Lack of depth in Tesla and the industry: Name A reporter for a major media company focused 100% on Tesla. I do not know any and I can imagine that I would have to rummage through our Pravduh About Tesla archives for a while to possibly find such a reporter. In general, reporters are widely scattered and thinly scattered. It is expected to cover many topics, many companies and a relatively low hourly rate. That should not leave much time to dive into the deep history, the finances or the customer base of Tesla.

This industry has crippled, crippled, crippled and crippled. Thanks to the internet, simple blogging templates, Facebook and Twitter, "publishing" has been democratised, easy and free. So much free content lowers the value of published content, which means that reporters and editors continue to spread, are less specialized, are responsible for more tasks (eg, for social media), and less in content Able to dive deeply and patiently into a single story or theme. Combine that with the things I've discussed above (especially in the first section), and you've got one or two Tesla and Cleantech reporters who do not yet understand Tesla or Cleantech very well, but still know enough to harm you cause. (A bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.)

Backlash to criticism: Elon Musk made a big boo boo last year. (To be fair, I believe that CleanTechnica did that, too.) As someone obsessively obsessed with politics, I am deeply concerned about political attacks on the media, facts, truth useful investigations and on the foundations of democracy. Put simply, the US is repeatedly exposed to blunt attacks by a very boring object / person. Unfortunately, in the face of Elon was actually on the verge of illegitimate and slanderous media coverage, throwing some harsh media criticism with his Hulk-like Twitter arms, and I'm sure many journalists and editors are deeply offended. The timing could not have been worse. I do not believe that Elon pays much attention to the political stories of the day or the week, so I think that this was a case in which he had no idea how bad this would be and how much it would lead to a long-term backlash could. I think that the backlash is now an integral part of reporting in the Tesla media. (And again, I think we've kindled the flames a bit with our reports on Pravduh About Tesla, one reason why we hired them.)

Anti-Silicon Valley Bias: Silicon Valley has changed our lives , Imagining a world in which Silicon Valley did not exist is a wild exercise to imagine an alternate universe, from Apple to Facebook to Google to Microsoft. No company is perfect, and the tremendous influence and power of Silicon Valley companies has made the problems of some of these companies particularly visible and controversial. The entire culture of Silicon Valley has peculiarities and character weaknesses, which are now well established even for people who have never set foot there.

However, like the prejudices of the anti-wealthy discussed above, the criticisms sometimes go too far and become crippling, counterproductive prejudices. In fact, I know some people whose entire career seems to be focused on the uninterrupted criticism of Silicon Valley companies, and the media as a whole has "evolved" towards a solid anti-tech, anti-Silicon Valley orientation. That translates to the Tesla coverage. Some of the same critical Apple, Facebook, and Google experts are being invited on TV talk shows or in newspaper reports to throw darts and hand grenades at Tesla. The whole thing is far too predictable and annoying through and through. Many Progressives and Conservatives have compiled most of what they know or know about Tesla from this kind of commentary. It is unfortunate because it is very influential and usually wrong.

Incorrect tendency to demolish everything: I said above that it is common in the media to believe that your job is to burden the powerful. The actual quote is: "The job of the newspaper is to comfort those affected and comfort the impaired." However, I do not think that this is the job of a newspaper or the media. I think the main task of the media is to help the public to get the fullest possible picture of reality. Both democracy and a free market economy rely on the ideal of the whole, perfect truth in the hands and mind of all. The closer we get to it, the more rational and efficient democracy and business are supposed to be.

In many cases, there is a lack of important information or entire narratives that are lacking in public awareness, because rich and powerful people benefit from their suppression. This is a big problem and so many press representatives are sticking to this maxim: "Impair the convenience" and make it a central pillar of their work. However, this is a very inadequate industry mission and leads to its own externalities or market failures if it is followed too closely.

There are many good stories, many constructive narratives, many "puff pieces" that are excluded from the main media cause. Frankly, it's still shocking for me – despite what I've written above – that more reporters and editors in the mainstream media do not think it's worth highlighting the American success story and climate change story Tesla has written. So much is being said in the US about losing jobs in the manufacturing sector, there is so much concern about the global heating crisis, there is such a dramatic health epidemic due to the pollution in that country, and yet big media believe it's not worth it To raise awareness American public: Tesla is an important production success story that has created tens of thousands of jobs and rapidly reduced emissions from the transport sector. This is an absolutely vital task on the to-do list to avoid socially harmful climate disorders. Instead, they find it noteworthy to mention that Elon Musk takes a short and apparently unnatural shot of grass in a popular podcast from a vocal pothead. Instead, they run seemingly billions of heavy hits and look forward to Twitter on the price erosion of Tesla's stock. What?

Basic Lack of Context: This is a kind of repetition of things that I have already said, but it covers different topics. Time and again, I see the problem with the mass media coverage of Tesla and Cleantech as a whole, that the story lacks an important context. This is all about the full meaning of an e-mail sent by Elon to employees to explain Tesla's role in combating climate change. This includes negatively misleading reporting on Tesla's financial data, as well as detrimentally unbalanced reporting on security-related issues (vehicle fires, Tesla autopilot, etc.). This includes reporting on executive retirement at Tesla without placing it in the context of career changes at other car makers or Silicon Valley technology companies.

I do not really understand the root of this problem. All I know is that it's something permanent, and it drives me crazy.

As a general example, a Tesla fan has recently noted the following about Tesla short sellers (and the same goes for much of the media): "Ironically, Tesla shorts, who keep talking about Tesla's deception, ignore it the actual cases of fraud committed by old gas car manufacturers such as VW, Mercedes, Nissan and so on. In fact, the executives of these companies are actually in jail. "

The Editorial Process: In the mainstream media, there are many more restrictive goals for the word count than in conventional, freestyle-based and popular blogs such as CleanTechnica , Layers of editorial process, hack an original story up and down and manipulate the headlines (by people and computers) to try to make you hell.

An example of this is allegedly the profoundly misleading article that was recently published in the journal New York Times about a drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Los Angeles in an electric vehicle. I have heard of someone who allegedly contacted the author and found that useful information (including about Tesla) was in the original, but then removed by the publisher. Also, the headline was written by another person and was a misleading clickbaity heading that did not reflect the meaning of the story. This happens with many articles certainly in different way. (Still, there seem to be major issues with the article.)

Affirmation bias: Once we have formed some conviction, we tend to find arguments that support that conviction and ignore reasons for it doubt it. We are very talented in rationalizing beliefs, including wrong ones. This is not limited to any level of intelligence or education – very intelligent and educated people can do a great job of rationalizing false beliefs.

There is absolutely no doubt – many people are mistaken about Tesla. There are millions of Tesla bulls / fans and also a ton of Tesla bears / critics. One of these large groups has some fundamental errors in the analysis of Tesla. Confirmation bias is strong on both sides.

Some people have certainly turned their attention to Tesla, even though they had a bearish view for a long time. (For example, we reported on a longtime Tesla short seller who turned into a Tesla-Long and listed 4 of my Tesla sales charts as justification, and we recently reported that Bob Lutz's story about Tesla In most cases, however, we learn something about Tesla, formulate a general opinion, reinforce this opinion with our bias bias, and may even get into some bad Twitter flame wars about the company. But even if we are the right people, this is the most effective way to deal with the conflict.

What to do, what to do?

As with almost all good ideas, this is not mine. Some years ago, one of our readers suggested launching a letter campaign and encouraging our readers to write letters (e-mails) to local newspapers and major national newspapers to better communicate the history of cleantech solar energy, wind energy, electric cars and energy storage. I thought that was a great idea, but we never got around to it.

I think it's time to get this started. We need to surprise newspapers and television news with a more complete, accurate account of cleantech.

As you can see, if you're reading this article or if you read us frequently, I think Tesla is a critical company / topic to focus on. It is by far the leader in the electric vehicle market and continues to drive the entire auto industry faster into the transition to electric vehicles than without the company. Tesla is also a major solar company on the roof and a stationary energy storage company. It covers the majority of cleantech companies and is the market leader in each of these industries.

In addition, Tesla makes far more misinformation and cuts than any cleantech company – or any company I know. The result is that people are massively misinformed about Tesla and their perceptions need to be corrected.

Wenn Sie uns bei der Formulierung und Koordinierung einer solchen Kampagne helfen möchten, schreiben Sie uns eine Nachricht. Andernfalls kann heute jeder unabhängig loslegen.

* Hinweis: Trotz meiner Vermutungen gab es einige wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen, die zu dem Schluss kamen, dass Werbung die Reichweite der Werbefirmen beeinflusst.


  1. Einige Umweltschützer sind in Bezug auf Tesla punkig
  2. Von Broder bis zum 2018 Tesla Short Seller Storm bis heute – Was für eine lange, seltsame Reise es gewesen ist

Tags: Elon Musk, Pravduh, Pravduh Über Tesla, Tesla, Tesla Finanzen, Tesla Medien, Tesla Leerverkäufer

Über den Autor

Zachary Shahan Zach versucht, der Gesellschaft zu helfen, sich selbst (und anderen Spezies) zu helfen. Die meiste Zeit verbringt er hier als Direktor und Chefredakteur auf CleanTechnica . Er ist auch Präsident von Important Media und Direktor / Gründer von EV Obsession und Solar Love . Zach ist weltweit als Experte für Elektrofahrzeuge, Solarenergie und Energiespeicher anerkannt. Er hat auf Konferenzen in Indien, den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten, der Ukraine, Polen, Deutschland, den Niederlanden, den USA und Kanada über Cleantech berichtet.

Zach hält langfristige Beteiligungen an TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG und ABB – nach Jahren, in denen er sich mit Solar- und Elektrofahrzeugen befasst hat, hat er einfach großes Vertrauen in diese speziellen Unternehmen und fühlt sich als gute Cleantech-Unternehmen, in die er investieren kann Er bietet keine professionelle Anlageberatung an und ist nicht dafür verantwortlich, dass Sie Geld verlieren. Springen Sie also nicht zu Schlussfolgerungen.

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