back to article As Tesla hits speed bump after speed bump, Elon Musk loses his mind in anti-media rant

Elon Musk is having a bad week. Early reviews of the delayed Model 3 Tesla have been far from glowing; the company is dealing with a big production backlog; he has been accused of threatening workers who want to unionize; there was yet another autopilot crash; and then of course there remains the question of whether his entire …

  1. choleric

    unexpected honesty

    I was about to click through to post some snark about how journalism doesn't "work", but I think you have it covered in that set of bullet points at the end there. No further questions, your honour.

    If you're on a mission like Musk is then the empty vanity of modern media is inevitably frustrating. If you're just interested in what's new for some giggles then who cares whether it's right.

    There's much more to this than the spectacular confrontation. "The meeja" have a case to answer, as well as Musk.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: unexpected honesty

      But Musk is right that journalists have lost the respect of the public.

      But having said that, then why does he even care what they write? I don't. There is very little in the media that I would give the time of day to, they have lied and lied and pushed agendas, generally undermined themselves, and now everything they do has to come with a pinch of salt.

      Look at two examples in the UK, Daily Mail and Guardian. Two polar opposites in view but absolutely equivalent in their gutter level. Depending to which direction a person is gullible, they support one and deride the other. When in fact both are nothing but rags.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: unexpected honesty

        Given the major stories each one has broken and the work that went into producing each one, the Grauniad and the Heil aren't exactly equivalent...

        You can also argue the public has lost respect of the journalists given some of opinion pieces and straight made-up bollocks that is passed off as news.

        1. wowfood

          Re: unexpected honesty

          I don't think it's entirely down to the journos anyway, I think often it's the editors above. I'm gradually seeing an increase in certain publications pushing a certain viewpoint.

          Is it news? Often yes, but the news part is covered in one paragraph hidden half way down, the rest is opinion piece and whatever the publications agenda is. Some sites are pro right wing, others pro left wing, some are pro windows, some are pro linux. And as internet advertising algorithms have grown better at finding content we like, we start getting fed more and more content of that vein of thought, leading to a kind of bubble where all the news we see conforms with our existing opinions on things.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: unexpected honesty

          Given the major stories each one has broken and the work that went into producing each one, the Grauniad and the Heil aren't exactly equivalent...

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/guardian_use_me_as_a_mouthpiece/

          Oh yes they are. They're two sides of the same coin, which is why I read neither. The funny part is though, that groaners refuse to see it.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: unexpected honesty

            You take one story (which is dubious anyway - no DRM is secure if you are handed the keys to decode the content) and use it to compare the guardian to the mail?

            There are many wishy-washy "right-on" guardian articles that you could have used to better promote your agenda, but either way, the guardian is nothing like that manipulative jingoistic bigotted and hypocritical rag.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: unexpected honesty

        "But Musk is right that journalists have lost the respect of the public."

        It's really odd, that kind of remark often comes up. Can one point me to some specific date for that mythical Golden Age when people did in fact respect journalists more than now?

        Because reading about journalism from the 20th or 19th century, I see much of exactly the same as now, no better, no worse: fake news bought by politicos to advance themselves, rich men trying to influence what's published, get-rich-quick scams in the ads, and so on. And it seems that back then, with several editions a day, the printed press was much more like the web is today..

        Human nature doesn't change that fast.

        1. MichaelGordon

          Re: unexpected honesty

          It's really odd, that kind of remark often comes up. Can one point me to some specific date for that mythical Golden Age when people did in fact respect journalists more than now?

          True - the phrase "yellow journalism" was coined in the 1890s to describe the sensationalisation of news.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: unexpected honesty

            What has changed for the worst is the concentration of ownership (influence) of the press in both the UK and the USA, but not only.

            There was an article in ElReg, that I did not read, but assume claimed that a company with a clean and decent loo probably is so too.

            I would rate news sites in a similar way, from the comments section, the Guardian is the winner there.

        2. cavac

          Re: unexpected honesty

          "It's really odd, that kind of remark often comes up. Can one point me to some specific date for that mythical Golden Age when people did in fact respect journalists more than now?"

          It ended on March 6, 1981 at the end of that days CBS Evening News.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5tdqojA26E

        3. sprograms

          Re: unexpected honesty

          Some things have actually changed dramatically. For example, the growth of NGOs and Foundations has been stunning, and these insidiously drive the politics of journalists by providing various "opportunities" and grants. The leadership of many of the largest foundations (A.W.Mellon, Ford, Carnegie, and Pew Charitable Trusts, for examples) has changed since the founders' policies....and changed in one direction, due to the nature of people who seek a career in Foundation work.

          As for journalists not forming one entity? No. But they do increasingly resemble a large school of fish being worked into a ball by a small army of sharks and dolphins.

      3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

        Re: unexpected honesty

        Oh, I wouldn't say the Guardian is that bad. It's just terribly uneven.

        There's some excellent journalism on there, backed by facts, that questions things - you know, real journalism, rather than trying to sell papers.

        Unfortunately there are also opinion pieces, articles that push some of the Guardian's preferred worldviews, and forgetting that there's a world outside London and the upper middle class (a little irritating seeing as it originated in Manchester).

        To be fair I think that most of the broadsheets have articles where you can occasionally learn something, if suitably checked and filtered. The Mail, on the other hand, I have less confidence in anything other than a paper to maintain people's Daily Hate.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: unexpected honesty

          at the end of the day though he could walk away from the lot and still be a billionnaire. Its the poor saps who work in the factory that I feel sorry for (when it all implodes). They are just making a living.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: unexpected honesty

            at the end of the day though he could walk away from the lot and still be a billionnaire.

            That may not be the case though. Much of Musk's wealth is on paper, ie the value of the stock in Tesla, Space-X etc. He's invested some of his own money, but also borrowed heavily against the value of that stock to the tune of $6-800m. That runs the risk of the dreaded margin call, where stock price drops below a point where the ability to repay becomes too risky. Then lenders call in the loans, and you have to find cash to repay. Which could mean being forced to sell your stake in the company, which is price affecting as well as creating a loss of control. It's risky business because although it means the person has a lot of skin in the game, there may be a temptation to pump the stock to avoid personal bankruptcy. Or worse, as WorldCom investors and employees discovered. And because Musk has diversified himself into other ventures, those could end up at risk as well.

            Its the poor saps who work in the factory that I feel sorry for (when it all implodes). They are just making a living.

            Yup. But it's not just the direct employees. When companies like this implode, there's always a ripple effect. So after a slow burn, Tesla's stock price followed a Falcon trajectory. Large and small investors piled in as a growth stock. If it crashes and burns, they lose money. And they may be banks, but also pension funds and individuals. Then there's the bonds, which are usually institutional investments, but there are a lot of those trading well below par. And there's the people who've put down deposits, expecting a Model 3. Those may not be secured creditors. Or just people who've got a Tesla, and won't get warranty or charging.

            So when large companies fail, there tends to be a ripple effect that's often not pretty. So when the .Com bubble burst, it took down venerable companies like Nortel.

            And the media plays a part. Yes, there's a lot of criticism. Some justified, some perhaps not. Musk has been a great showman and used the media to promote Tesla, but isn't good at taking criticism. I don't always agree with Kieran's posts, but I do agree with his points on journalism. I expect journalists to be as impartial as they can be, and understand subjective vs objective reporting. Questioning cash burn rates is ojective, saying the new Roadster's a pretty car is subjective. But one of Musk's tweets pointed out Tesla doesn't advertise. While the media runs lots of positive stories, it doesn't need to.. But if the media's not impartial, it becomes an extension of Tesla's marketing. And companies will use this against journalists, ie say nice things about us or you won't get access to our PR machine. Hello, Apple?

      4. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: unexpected honesty

        But Musk is right that journalists have lost the respect of the public.

        Yes, he is. The Millie Dowler debacle finished any possible claim to being a respectable or serious profession that journalism may once have held. Journalists rank somewhere between MPs and Lawyers in terms of respect or trust, and the only thing lower than those is Estate Agent.

        1. Paul Floyd

          Re: unexpected honesty

          What about bankers?

      5. Milton

        Re: unexpected honesty

        "Look at two examples in the UK, Daily Mail and Guardian. Two polar opposites in view but absolutely equivalent in their gutter level."

        The tiny difference between the Mail and the Guardian—and before you panic, no, I don't actually expect you to understand this complex concept—is that the former publishes a great many provable lies and wild exaggerations, which are regularly, frequently and routinely fact-checked and debunked. The latter occasionally makes mistakes, which it publcily corrects. It does not, like the Mail, tell obvious, silly, childish lies to a mouth-breathing audience.

        The other noticeable difference, which again you shouldn't trouble yourself considering, is that the Mail encourages hatred, racism, misogyny, intolerance and blame; whereas the Guardian speaks for inclusivity, freedom, equality, openness and understanding.

        Those two insignificant details aside, you're right, they're just the same.

        To an imbecile.

        1. Cederic Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: unexpected honesty

          the Mail encourages hatred, racism, misogyny, intolerance and blame; whereas the Guardian speaks for inclusivity, freedom, equality, openness and understanding

          I've read far too many anti-white and anti-male articles on the Guardian's website to believe that one for a moment.

          1. perlcat

            Re: unexpected honesty

            Frankly, they're both journalistic train wrecks, with idiotic sensationalism, opinion masquerading as fact, and carefully selected outrage at carefully selected and maintained targets. The main reason to read either is to go to the comment pages and emit/observe snark. Sadly, they're still better than the garbage we have in the States.

      6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: unexpected honesty

        @werdsmith - Actually only some journalists and news outlets have lost the trust of the public. Many have tired to report stories as accurately and fairly as possible. Most people are smart enough to differentiate between the those that are actually doing journalism and those who are shilling for whomever.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: unexpected honesty

      It's worth pointing out how much Musk's businesses benefit from the largely free and glowing PR he gets. Both Tesla and Space X are doing great things but so are a lot of other companies in their area. I for one would like to hear more about the Rutherford engines.

      The old saying is never get into bed with the press. It was as important in the days of Beaverbrook, Hearst, Twain and others as it is now.

      That Tesla is in financial trouble is no secret – the deal with SolarCity should never have gone ahead – and not the media's fault.

  2. FlippingGerman

    Taking it personally?

    It seems the author may be doing just so.

    That said, the article is a good one, and makes a point that too many seem to forget: "the media" is seen as some shadowy group of people who conspire to do evil.

    Also, Twitter is not a good place to hang out for peace of mind. Alfie wouldn't approve. Those who regularly use it seem to think that those they encounter there reflect the broader population, which to me does not seem to be the case, for both the left who encounter the right, and vice versa, along with those who dislike being labelled as either.

    Much as I admire Musk, he has an alarming tendency to get annoyed about things and then start a new company to fix the problem. I'm not sure this is a good idea.

    1. Don MacVittie

      Re: Taking it personally?

      As long as things like Listserv are kept firmly in mind when claims of the media not being a shadowy group out to do evil, I pretty much agree.

      But this publication's inane perpetual ramblings about both Trump and Brexit - whether relevant to the article or not - show that at least to some extent the hive mind is real, so previous cabal attempts must be held firmly in sight.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: inane perpetual ramblings about both Trump and Brexit

        When sensible people see stupidity it's their duty to point it out.

        1. 2Nick3

          Re: inane perpetual ramblings about both Trump and Brexit

          "When sensible people see stupidity it's their duty to point it out."

          But in an article about how Win10 won't update if you have a certain model of Intel or Toshiba SSD in the machine? It's not relevant to the topic, adds nothing to the information being conveyed by the piece, and can be alienating to ~50% of the population (in this case US votes for Trump and UK votes for Brexit). And if you alienate people often enough they leave, which does impact your add revenues.

          I think there needs to be a corollary to Godwin's Law (as commonly understood, at least) that bringing Trump or Brexit unnecessarily into a discussion means it is over and your position is void.

      2. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Taking it personally?

        How do you work your way from 'some journalists who write for a particular publication don't like Trump' to 'hive mind'? I mean, seriously: how?

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Taking it personally?

      Alfie wouldn't approve.

      "Seems to me if they ain't got you one way they got you another. So what's the answer? That's what I keep asking myself. What's it all about?"

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    "learn when to put your head down and shut the fuck up."

    *Spit take laughing jag*

    You owe me a new keyboard! Thumbs up for a brilliant line I shall find reasons to quote!

    Cheers & enjoy a pint! =-D

  4. ratfox Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Technically, the media is plural

    The singular is medium. Look, if people can annoy me by saying that "data" is plural, I see no reason to hold back myself.

    1. Geoffrey W
      Headmaster

      Re: Technically, the media is plural

      Correct. So, how is the word media being used incorrectly in this article? Is there anything that implies the media is a single thing?

      1. Trilkhai

        Re: Technically, the media is plural

        @Geoffrey W — It's from this line about halfway through the article:

        And then they start imagining that because "the media" is a singular term that it somehow holds and works together as a coherent whole.

        1. Geoffrey W

          Re: Technically, the media is plural

          But surely the point being made by that article quote is the same as the point made by the commentard I responded too - That people critical of the media tend to talk about it as if it were a singular well organised entity, whereas its a multi faceted collection of entities and not at all organised as a singular entity.

          The OP implied that the article said the media was a singular entity, but the opposite of that is true.

          Kieren McCarthy seems to attract a lot of knee jerk responses; unfairly I feel.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Technically, the media is plural

            Let me FTFY:

            "Kieren McCarthy seems to attract a lot of knee jerk[s] responses"

          2. Nugry Horace

            Re: Technically, the media is plural

            The point, I think, is that if people (like the author of the article) write 'media is' that reinforces the impression of the media as a single homogeneous entity. If they were to write the technically correct 'media are' that would give the opposite impression.

      2. SuccessCase

        Re: Technically, the media is plural

        @Geoffrey W. You, kind of, answered your own question in your second sentence, seemingly without noticing!

        “Is there anything that implies the media is a single thing?”

        Ratfox is, it seems, a grammar pedant while you, it seems, are not. I’ll leave it up to you two to decide which it is best to be.

    2. a pressbutton

      Re: The future...

      Clearly ratfox does not work for a newspaper

      Esp the grauniad

    3. PNGuinn
      Trollface

      Re: Technically, the media is plural

      Look, if people can annoy me by saying that "data" is plural, I can annoy them by suggesting that data are plural.

  5. quxinot Silver badge

    Can't have it both ways, guys.

    You can't say "[all] journalists do [x,y,z]" and follow that with "the media is not a coherent whole".

    More importantly, real journalism is being crowded out by movements (directed or undirected) found on various social media. Which means that non-journalists are having more say that winds up in the media--the media is not just what journalists write/say anymore.

    Seems like most of the time, the proper media winds up just reporting on the actions of people online, anymore. For example, this article.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

      ...but don't forget that there are, and have been since I was old enough to notice, news outlets that simply take stories off newswire services like Reuters, Associated Press, UPI, etc, and print them.

      Back in the late '70s that was where almost all the foreign news on BBC radio came from: at that time their test of whether a story was true was "has it been reported by more than one newswire". I have no idea whether this is still the case.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

      The point is journos do X, Y, Z, but they don't function as one coherent centrally managed mass. I do not get my daily orders from some overarching media overlord who oversees hundreds of titles.

      In the same way that, say, processor chip designers do X, Y, Z, but work for different bosses and companies with different goals and projects and products.

      C.

      1. JLV

        Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

        Quite true, but claiming that journos are never influenced by ad revenue aspects stretches my credulity quite a bit.

        Witness Fox News and their squirming over cancelled ad campaigns when some of their presenters wander off reservation more than usual.

        That said, Musk might do well to ponder on not imitating the orange buffoon's Twitter use.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

          Quite true, but claiming that journos are never influenced by ad revenue aspects stretches my credulity quite a bit.

          I'm on pair with this. We are fortunate that El Reg journos, writers and editors are not under constant pressure to get max clicks. But

          You could never guess what happen NEXT!

          The photos they DIDN'T want you to see!

          Nanny demands the DEATH PENALTY for the killers!

          It doesn't take half a sec to stare at dailymail.co.uk and the likes with misleading words and fake information just to get one extra viewer to click on the article for the ads. It has a name called click-bait.

          If they are not pressured to increase ads click, then there is no point in putting misleading and fake information just like a simple malware research Backdoors in D-Link’s backyard, simple and detailed with information.

          But those ads supported website are driven by it, so at least a number of journos/writers/editors out there are directly or indirectly pressuring themselves to increase ads clicks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

        You don't need to literally be reporting to the same boss to end up functioning as one coherent mass. You exist in the same culture as the rest of the journalists and hold most of the same preconceived notions. You probably even read the same books and live in the same type of coastal cities as most of the people in your industry.

        You *naturally* adopt the same opinions as the rest of the corporate media class.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: anonymous coward

          "You *naturally* adopt the same opinions as the rest of the corporate media class."

          Well, you're kinda going off road here because this is The Register, and we certainly aren't corporate media. We're fiercely independent still.

          I, for one, read PDF manuals of computer architecture. If anything, I should be reading more normal books, no wonder I'm struggling to be articulate recently. I live in a US coastal city, but then again, roughly 47% of Americans live in a county with a coastal shoreline - and 8 in 10 live in a city - so banging on about coastal cities as if it makes you some kind of 1% elite is a bit weird.

          Your comment makes me sad, sad to see how warped a view people have of journalists on the whole. As if there is a strange cult or sinister plot to manipulate the masses, when in reality quite a few journalists are incapable of organizing themselves and fail to possess the ability to be managed.

          Of course, there are the Murdochs and the Fox Newses and the Daily Mails of the world, and titles on the left can be rather ridiculous, too, but they are not the only outlets available for consumption. There are thousands of writers, editors, producers, directors, and, er, talent, as they call it on telly and radio, who just want to share the truth and shut down lies.

          How badly has the media industry fucked up to sow this level of distrust, I do wonder. Have we dropped the ball too many times, or are people looking for something to blame, or a combination of both, or something else. I don't know. I certainly know that journos get things wrong, like all humans, too many titles rely on access (cough, cough, Wired) - I'm not trying to paint us, as an industry, as perfect. Just perhaps not quite as malevolent as some assume.

          Above all, I implore you to read Kieren's bulletpoint list. It's a pretty honest description of how normal journos - esp those here - operate.

          C.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: anonymous coward

            Diodesign - "How badly has the media industry fucked up to sow this level of distrust, I do wonder". I suspect that the problem, as is so often the case, Facebook.

            Most people don't read newspapers anymore. they receive single-serving articles that reflect their own beliefs and hence can be unchallenged and biased in the extreme. Ignoring the issue of this creating a demand for such material, people then share it friends and family, not all of who share that bias.

            I think we have all seen the effect - we've had a shared article from that slightly racist uncle or that naively utopian niece that is shockingly biased against our own expectations, and conclude that there is media out there that is corrosive and wrong (even as we happily consume equally biased media that fits out own beliefs).

            Anyway, the drip-feed experience is to assume that the world is full of scurrilous reporters feeding poison to everyone else except you.

            Things were different when it was just papers, because people understood that the small set of different papers occupied different positions overall on the political spectrum. Now there are so many outlets accessible to you (whether you know it or not) that you may only ever discover their existence through some repugnant opinion piece that lands in your news feed, never to be seen again.

            Mud sticks, and there's a lot being scattered about.

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: anonymous coward

            I, for one, read PDF manuals of computer architecture. If anything, I should be reading more normal books, no wonder I'm struggling to be articulate recently.

            No, please carry on reading the technical stuff, so I don't have to. Which is why I love the Register. So as Kieran says..

            Journalism is about what is happening now. As in today. If something happened literally yesterday, a news editor will question whether it is worth a story. This creates a distorted sense of what is real

            Which I guess is an especial challenge for tech reporting when combined with the 'velocity of news'. Case in point being Meltdown/Spectre. I'm no processor architecture guru, but do like chips. So I want to understand the implications and risks.. Which is a non-trivial task to translate something very complex into something a simple fibre guy can understand.. And the MSM have even less chance of understanding seeing as most of them don't really have tech/science reporters with the industry knowledge.. Which means they may rely on picking up the phone to the affected company's PR people and getting the official denial, not the kind of reporting we get here.

            And I thank you for that. Plus my fellow travellers who can educated and entertain in the comments as well!

            1. PNGuinn
              Unhappy

              @ Kieran and Jellied Eel

              "So as Kieran says..

              Journalism is about what is happening now. As in today. If something happened literally yesterday, a news editor will question whether it is worth a story. This creates a distorted sense of what is real"

              Which is a large part of the problem. More and more we want our drip feed of sensation, and we want it now. We're not really interested, don't want to think and are easily bored. We get the "journalism" we want. Shallow, ill thought out puff pieces. Don't think, move along now, nothing to see here.

              Sometimes a story "gets legs" and the press go on and on ... and tell us very little. When that Malaysian airliner disappeared it was headline news for days, to very little newsworthy effect.

              El Reg kept sthum for a couple of weeks, then produced a well researched piece on the subject. That provoked a flurry of commentardery - I had no idea how many pilots were on here - and a very illuminating discussion.

              I'm afraid that just wouldn't happen today in the mass media.

              I'm in the uk. The Hawaiian volcano made the news briefly. Old news. No followup, If I want to know, I've got to search myself. Sad.

              If Journalism and the press don't take a lead to raise standards, who will? Who will pay?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: anonymous coward

            @diodesign

            "Have we dropped the ball too many times"

            Everytime you author a clickbait headline you have fucked up.

          4. Alistair
            Windows

            Re: anonymous coward

            I'm one to bash Keiran on one or two points, mostly because I see the disparity between the corporatism, populism, and libertarian-ism that is flying about these days, and I personally suspect that Keiran is willing to give the proponents of the whole lot of these 'religions' far too much credit

            I'm willing to agree that *real* journalists do want to follow the list that Kieran has laid out, and likely most do. There are unfortunately more than just the journalists on the front lines involved, and there are political filters at the corporate level, as well as very clearly biased entities out there. Sadly the largest and most widespread media entities that exist are polarized. I find that it is more often the smaller, tighter media organizations that are likely to have a broader, more open view of the situation and a tendency to stand more solidly on the facts than on opinions or political perspective.

            El Reg and its pitbulls are as far as I can tell, and happily in my view, unfettered by bias at the management level.

            Musk's rant has a place in (a) modern view of the 'infotainment' world. We *do* have clickbait websites out there who are *solely* in the business for the ad revenue they can generate, and who *do* use aggressive and attention grabbing headlines to suck in the clicks, frequently exaggerating one end of the issue over the facts. And yes, sadly, some of the larger international corporate media *own* these sites, and I believe are happy to use them to both bolster their ad revenue and to bolster the particular 'bent' to which they subscribe.

            The *speed* of information is also partly to blame, with any 'event' the time taken to research facts versus initial impressions or off the cuff, or top of head assessments is now seen to impinge upon revenue generation, and thus is less effectively done, as in a couple of cases I can recall, venerable new outlets grabbing tidbits off wikipedia that were later found to be less than accurate.

            My concern is of course that rational thinking, that is the ability to *discern* where the news is being *managed* to cater to a specific perspective or political spectrum, appears to be less and less prevalent in the overall population, and this is resulting in the situation that ended up with Trump and Hillary being the candidates in the last election in the United states. And the raging *mess* that we have here in my province coming up in June. The literal polarization of the population(s) being reported to appears to be the grander goal of these over large international corporate news media.

            Still, I will read many sources. I will try to strip down to raw facts what I read, and I will compare reporting from sources with opposing views and *try* to discern truth. It is far from a simple job to be truly informed these days. The internet, sadly, has made it *harder* in some cases to see real truth when there is so much room for spin.

            1. perlcat

              Re: anonymous coward

              I think that I can answer the question "how badly have we fucked up". I have a sibling that went through journalism school in the 80's. At the time, there were three main TV news networks in the US, and their reports were basically viewed as gospel. I won't go into why that was, but the journos I knew at the time were all about the ethics of journalism, how they stood up to the powerful for Truth and Justice, with a capital 'T' and 'J'. I found that absurd even then, as Juvenal's phrase "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" has remained relevant for a long time. They could be forgiven, as the young are often guilty of enthusiasm.

              Even into Desert Storm with CNN, there was a lot of faith in journalism that was as unwarranted as that in the Big Three networks' product. There has always been bias in news -- the only real barrier to setting up a news outlet was cash. It doesn't even have to be a conscious bias -- for example, a journalist may put a lot more effort into digging up dirt on political adversaries than they will for their friends. This reinforces itself until all credibility is as lost as that on a product trial that says Microsoft is the best in an independent study that is hosted on a MS--owned domain.

              People tend to believe things in print simply because they were in print. Now that we live in a communication age, where the barrier to publishing your bastard brainchildren is an opinion and the motivation to post it, there are a lot more competing sources for information. Not only that, there are enough relatively (say that with a straight face...) respected opinions/sources that this bias, conscious or unconscious, is exposed.

              There has been numerous examples of academic journalism fraud, where the lower barrier has meant that garbage has made it into the pages of formerly respected publications. Remember cold fusion? In fact, editors are human, too. They want to see their employer succeed, and may make questionable decisions to favor the sensational, especially if they think that they need to act in a hurry to be on top of things.

              People see this, and then when they go to a publication and find their political ox has been gored, assume that means a prejudice against their politics. They may even do some investigation, but it's investigation on the flawed premise called confirmation bias. A truly fair publication will wind up goring everybody's ox from time to time, but they'll lose readership in so doing.

              We live in a different age now. Journalists have been exposed as human beings with opinions and biases of their own. The only thing I find shameful about that is that they are not open about it. There's a lot to be said for listening to other people's opinions, and as long as you understand the source, you can make useful assumptions about their content. I see a lot of people bagging on purportedly liberal and conservative outlets like the Guardian and Daily Mail; however, I don't think that either of them is as monolithic in their politics as believed.

              In the DM's situation, I see it more of a tendency towards sensationalism than solid fact-mongering, and coupled with a hilariously poor editing and quality control (honestly, they must be paid by the word to go through the clickbait so we don't have to), provides more of an entertainment product than what used to be referred to as "hard hitting" journalism. When the article veers left, the cons complain, and when the article veers right, the libs complain. Me, I'm just there to wind people up, so I consider my entertainment dollar well-spent.

              People say that Fox is bad, and others say that CNN is also bad -- I just see them as two competing mutual masturbation societies, each operating in their own little bubble of opinion. Both are laughably incompetent, and both pretend to be the last bastion of journalism, holding back the howling mobs of ignorance and prejudice. Respecting one or the other says more about your politics than it does about their competence.

          5. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: anonymous coward

            "How badly has the media industry fucked up to sow this level of distrust, I do wonder. "

            I don't like Trump, but some recent examples?

            1. Trump throws the entire contents of the box of fishfood into the pond. heavily criticized by the media, causing offense to the Japanese, etc. Unedited video showing how the Japanese PM did it first, Trump copied him

            2. Trumps reported as calling immigrants "animals". Unedited video shows the discussion was about the gang MS13, not immigrants generally.

            3. Trump criticized for calling out both sides at the Charlotteville rallies. A week later, most US news outlets seem to agree with him and were, by then, calling out both sides. I guess the video of the Antiffa guy using an aerosol can as a flamethrower must have been seen by most reporters by then?

            4. Media criticizing folk who try to point out Clinton's health is no better than Trumps, how Trump has to hold on to the railing when exiting an aircraft. But folk see her faint, spit mucus into her water at a rally, couch through many meetings, trip getting into the aeroplane. etc.

            5. Media calling any criticism of Clinton as misogynistic, forgetting than Republic women remember how the media and press behaved during Sarah Palin's bid for VP.

            6. media gleefully reporting politicians criticizing Trump over the Embassy move, while video evidence exists of Clinton, Bush and Obama promising to move it.

            7. Video of Clinton, Schumer and Obama all extolling the virtues of border protection, all available on Youtube.

            This was all the big US media, but dutiful taken up by outlets like the BBC and others in the rest of the world. Shit, that reflects badly on all media.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

        "I do not get my daily orders from some overarching media overlord who oversees hundreds of titles."

        If he's not doing the job, perhaps it's time to pension off that vulture on the masthead, then.

      4. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

        But I thought the media were actually the illuminati!

      5. D.U.B

        Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

        I have to disagree with you here.

        While I truly enjoy your articles and truly believe you and The Vulture do not bow down to Corporate Overlords, it would seem you may be an exception to the MainStream rule:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fHfgU8oMSo

      6. PNGuinn
        Happy

        @ C

        Two small points regarding this august publication:

        1. There's a certain stubborn doggedness on the part of el reg not just to "bite the hand that feeds IT" but to sink its claws in and to rip the flesh off to get to the bone when necessary.

        2. The same applies to the commentards. We have the privilege of having some extremely intelligent and knowledgeable folks on here, who aren't afraid to rip a journo's piece to shreds if necessary. Doing that doesn't mean being nasty or ripping into the poor guy himself, and sometimes folks do go too far.

        The end result is that we can often get a wide ranging discussion started which is both illuminating and instructive. Real journalism needs to be accurate and thought provoking, and the writer of the piece needs to be accountable and challengable by the readers.

        That puts considerable responsibility on the publication, the journo(s) AND the readership.

        Oh, and a good sense of humour helps.

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Can't have it both ways, guys.

      You can't say "[all] journalists do [x,y,z]" and follow that with "the media is not a coherent whole".

      Why not? Staff on the Guardian and the Mail work in very similar way but produce completely different results.

  6. JohnFen Silver badge

    I respect them more than Musk

    "media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them,"

    There is a ton of legitimate criticism that can be leveled at the media, particularly the news media after the major corporations bought most of it out, but even so... I respect the media more than I respect Musk. Or Congress. Or the current administration.

    But that's still not a lot.

  7. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    look at the great log in youir own eye ..

    You do know that's pretty much how the rest of the world sees journalists / media etc., don't you ?

    They're only no longer at the bottom of the pile because politicians, estate agents and lawyers have been doing their damnedest to get lower.

    We do remember the occasional journalist who did something useful so there's kind of a hope that you'll beat down the Daily Wail element and drag yourselves up by your bootstraps.

    But get on with it, k ?

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: look at the great log in youir own eye ..

      Trouble is, journalists are being replaced by the self editing mass of people on the internet who can say pretty much whatever comes into their heads whenever it comes into their heads without fear of rejection by an editor. The internet population is the real nadir of all the classes of people you mention. I still trust real journalists more than I trust, well, you lot, despite the many demonstrable faults of real journalists.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: look at the great log in youir own eye ..

        > "Trouble is, journalists are being replaced by the self editing mass of people on the internet who can say pretty much whatever comes into their heads whenever it comes into their heads without fear of rejection by an editor."

        I take exception to the word "replaced." It appears to me that many (most?) journalists (formerly known as reporters) are not so much being replaced by the unwashed masses as they are joining those masses. Further, I see this as a correction to normal for the journo biz, not an aberration.

        The aberration was the several decades preceding the current period, when journos actually had pretenses to being "fair" and "unbiased." Well, some of them did, and a majority of the public seemed to buy into that notion too. It was a strange time indeed.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: You do know that's pretty much how the rest of the world sees journalists / media etc.

      No, I don't know that. All I "know" from this is that there's a few people on here claiming that. Do you have any real data to back your statement up?

  8. Brian Miller

    Let the experiment begin!

    So Musk plans to set up a website to rate the media on the web. Hey, go for it! Everybody just needs another button to click on the web!

    Now, will they have read the article before rating it?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Let the experiment begin!

      Well, bots don't read... so there's what will so be hitting his site to rate per the bot herder.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Let the experiment begin!

      "Now, will they have read the article before rating it"

      I admit to only skimming it...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

    But is that really what would be best for Model 3 production?

    1. 404

      Re: People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

      The beatings will continue until morale improves...

    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

      What would be best for Model 3 production would be to sell the company to a real auto maker.

      I've said from day 1 that Tesla was a long shot. Designing an electric car is the easy part. It's mass producing a car profitably that is the hard part. The big auto makers have had over a century of experience at fine tuning manufacturing, production processes and logistics, you don't just replicate that overnight.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

        "The big auto makers have had over a century of experience at fine tuning manufacturing, production processes and logistics, you don't just replicate that overnight."

        Defeatism. Why not? Poach the right people.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Poach the right people.

          I know American labour laws favour the management, but can they really get away with boiling the Union Reps?

        2. tfb Silver badge

          Re: People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

          Well, empirically Tesla looks like an example of why not. Whatever they're doing is clearly wrong, especially as a pure electric vehicle has far fewer moving parts than an internal-combustion one and should this be much easier to mass-produce.

        3. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: People are saying he should stop tweeting and go back to work on the assembly line

          @anonymous boring coward

          Defeatism? No, just realism. I know enough about automobile manufacture to know that I don't know enough.

          Musk was just too naïve to understand the extent of the task he'd set for Tesla. If he had tried to become a niche supercar maker, then that would have been fine. If you're charging $500k+ for a car then it's ok to only turn out a dozen cars a day, in fact it's preferable as it adds to the exclusivity. But mass producing "cheap" cars with consistent quality at predictable production rates is a whole different kettle of fish.

  10. Florida1920
    Holmes

    Vulture Central leads the way!

    Here at El Reg we've been voting on content for years. Nothing new about that. Lately, the media have been voting against Tesla. Boo-hoo. If Elon doesn't address the self-driving issues, shareholders and car shoppers will be voting with their wallets.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Vulture Central leads the way!

      However, the votes are generally cast based on the bias of the voter as opposed to the truthfulness of the comment. A (not blatantly) factually incorrect post extolling the virtues of Linux on El Reg will probably get more upvotes than it deserves. Same story for Brexit, Trump, SpaceX or Tesla - it feels like people don't vote on facts but on sentiment.

      If Musk can make his Journalist rating website immune to this, then I will acknowledge him as the second coming of Christ as he would have worked a bona fide miracle.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget critics..

    "He hates unions, journalists, regulators, accountability and, apparently, the color yellow"

    Many critics are also often met with a little bit of disdain I think, especially if they start asking specific questions. Which I think is plain out weird at times.

    I mean... I can definitely respect the fact that Musk is a "do'er", he actually tries to get stuff going and no one can deny that. But at the same time I also think its fair to say that many of his ideas aren't exactly original but have been tried in the past before. I mean... take the idea for the rocket which can also land itself: there was already an actual working concept around in the 90's.

    I get the impression that he also doesn't really enjoy getting reminded of those facts either.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget critics..

      I mean... take the idea for the rocket which can also land itself: there was already an actual working concept around in the 90's.

      Indeed, and there is a huge opportunity cost to retaining enough fuel to land the first stages. NASA and the Russkis aren't stupid - they could and would have done it years ago if it made economic sense.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget critics..

        "NASA and the Russkis aren't stupid - they could and would have done it years ago if it made economic sense."

        No, because they are used to dipping into that bottomless public purse.

        You don't think a private company is re-using rockets because it's economically advantageous? What other possible reason could there be?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some truth and some fiction

    Anyone who has been online for more than a week should be familiar with websites that routinely post fraudulent, salacious, inflammatory type stories to gain page hit count and thus advert revenue. Some websites ban members if they mention this dirty industry fact, (FUD and similar). So while Musk is having a bad year with model 3 production issues, autopilot deaths and resulting lawsuits, cash flow issues, investor alienation, etc., etc. he is correct that some media publish FUD for financial profit. There are websites that constantly attack president Trump for financial profit while routinely posting false or misleading information. These media are disgraceful and they have lost any credibility they may have once had.

    In Tesla's case the truth may be stranger than fiction with Musk reportedly halting production to "reorganize" production, engineering, suppliers, management, etc. to remove the "barnacles" as Elon refers to Tesla's suppliers. Model 3 was suppose to sell in the $35K range and turn Tesla into a profitable company by Q4 of 2018. Now Musk is saying that Tesla needs to sell $78K model 3's first to prevent death of the company as he continues to claim Tesla won't need to go back to the well for more cash as they burn through billions per quarter.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Some truth and some fiction

      "Model 3 was suppose to sell in the $35K range and turn Tesla into a profitable company by Q4 of 2018. Now Musk is saying that Tesla needs to sell $78K model 3's first to prevent death of the company"

      his product selection is a little too "boutique" (i.e. limited selections, targeting high income earners) and even a minor failure hits the bank account pretty hard.

      Unionization isn't really "the problem". The "big 3" automakers have had unions for DECADES.

      I think the problem with Tesla motors is the business model itself. They're selling cars that only rich people can afford, based on the premise that electric is better than gasoline, while facing battery capacity disappointment and, *ahem*, a move towards GETTING RID OF SUBSIDIES FOR ELECTRIC CARS.

      as an example, THIS article from last December says that Germany dropped all subsidies for Tesla vehicles. And there's the whole "tax reform" movement. I suspect people are pretty tired of "subsidizing the rich" with their tax money, going towards cars that ONLY the rich can afford...

      And so this directly affects the marketplace. And the Model 3 is no longer "the people's car" it was being promised to be. And so NOW you get a high tech "new, shiny" cool-factor car that has half the range of a gasoline powered car, and can't live up to advertised expectations.

      It's not the fault of the press that this happened. I think it was just a series of bad decisions, and the release of technology a *bit* too early (the self-driving part, anyway).

      Anyway I don't hope Musk fails or anything. Reality just is what it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some truth and some fiction

        Hallelujah! The first Bob post I have been able to upvote! Is someone else using your account?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some truth and some fiction

        Well said Bob.

        I admire what Tesla is trying to do but... (yes, there is one isn't there)

        The Model 3 is not the car that will change the world that the Teslarti think it will be.

        It will be successful within bounds.

        - It is a Sedan. Not the car for the mass market in Europe.

        - It is a low end Luxury (sic) car, not the 'people's' car that many make out that it is.

        As such, it is too expensive for the majority of people, the Astra, Focus and the like.

        Oh, and don't ding the wing. One Model 3 owner did that in New York. It cost $6,000 (approx) to fix.

        That is one reason why Tesla's are in the SuperCar range when it comes to Insurance.

        Finally, the level of Fanboiism shown by Tesla Fans makes that Apple Fans look like kittens.

        I saw a good name for them earlier this week. TOWIT, The only way is Tesla

        These people worship the ground that St Elon walks on.

        Before anyone thinks that I don't like EV's, I drive a 2016 Nissan Leaf.

  13. Nate Amsden

    not sure what news musk sees

    I see news on car accidents every day. As does anyone who watches local news.

    Course it doesn't make tech news sites since there isn't a tech angle to it.

    I don't use twitter either so I guess if not for el reg his rants would be as unknown to me as local car accidents are to him.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Media has gone to pot.

    Big Media can no longer be trusted given the fact that due to their sheer size carry a lot of running cost. In order to cover those costs, they need to make all the revenue they can via advertising. Now, when it comes to ads, you need to get those in front of as many eyes as you can, so in order to do this you sensationalize and drop in as much click-bait as you can.

    There is also the fact that media moguls seem to have a certain political bias. Gone are the days of the pluck reporter and his photographer hitting the streets following the cops trying to get a big exclusive. Gone is the in-depth research, reporting on the truth no matter where it lies, then only to send it off and have the whole thing fact-checked then printed. Now days, some stupid rumor on Social Media is enough to set off a whole media shit-storm.

    The media should be legislated to provide a balanced coverage of issues, and to declare where a potential conflict of interest may occur in an article due to dealings between the media company and the target of the story. Also, given the nature of internet content, online news should be required to cite their sources given the propensity of the media to pick and choose quotes or parts thereof in order to fit their agenda.

  15. Oengus

    Pravda

    Wasn't Pravda the propaganda newspaper of the Russian communist party?

    With Musk running the "new" Pravda I can see it being heavily censored and become a propaganda tool for Musk and his cronies just like the Russian version.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: Pravda

      I think the name Pravda is used satirically, and attempts to imply that the Main Stream Media is akin to Pravda, not Mr Musk and his capitalist chums. Unfettered, unregulated, un-unionized, society saving, capitalism is the God of the current digital age. They can do no wrong. Until they do wrong.

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Pravda

      "...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,"

      I expect you know that "Pravda" literally translates to "Truth" in English. My instinctive reaction is "whose truth". A media company that is regulated and can be sued, or unattributal votes and "analysis" on the Interwebs?

      Musk may be right that there's a global conspiracy against him and Tesla. Look how they've suppressed all coverage for his product (and spaceship) launches! Er, wait...No, we normally call that paranoia or PR

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ponzi

    that is all.

  17. Blockchain commentard
    Facepalm

    As Oscar Wilde said

    "There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about."

    but then he never had a Twitter account !!!!

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    I've looked over coverage of Musk and I've *never* seen a tough interview. Ever.

    He's done a lot of media "events" but nothing by any interviewer that's been well informed about the financial side of the business or even slightly critical.

    Any actual questioning has been very low key and soft.

    Anyone who thinks it's just the man himself is delusional. He has a hell of a support staff and a very good PR booking team. But ideal hands are the Twitter users workshop.

    One general point. Some people have enjoyed phenomenal success in their lives. The smarter one know at least part of this is down to shear dumb luck (including just coming out of the right womb). The real challenge is what happens when things don't go their way and they have to admit to themselves that this time they failed.

    In the long run that's what separates the "Masters of the Universe" from "Master of the Cardboard Box."

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I've looked over coverage of Musk and I've *never* seen a tough interview. Ever.

      But we've all seen press conference where a journalist gets to ask a question and they come up with the most stupid inane question that is already answered. It's no wonder these people get pissed off with them.

  19. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Did His Muskiness forget to take his dose of lithium, again?

  20. Carneades

    Hmm...

    Surprisingly heavyweight and even deep for the Reg. Wonder if anything will change...anywhere...ever...at all?

    1. SundogUK Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Hmm...

      Seriously? A journalist attacks someone for attacking journalists and this is 'heavyweight'?

  21. RobertLongshaft

    He's right though isn't he?

    Nobody trust the old media anymore. Indeed if the joke broadcaster the BBC told me it was raining I would need to look outside to confirm.

    First we had the lies about Iraq in 2003 - had you forgotten about Saddam's SCUDs laden with chemical weapons which could be launched in 12 minutes and hit the UK? Yes the BBC published that story.

    Had you forgotten how the mainstream media, lied, falsified and distracted the public about the 2008 economic crash? It wasn't corrupt financial corporations which caused the crash but the general public taking out risk loans you see....

    More recently have you forgotten the fake chemical weapons attacks in Sryia? Or how about the Sailsbury incident, where the mainstream media were able to tell us who did it, with what within 24 hours? The OPCW still doesn't know exactly what the substance used was but our good friends in the media knew it and had the blame squarely pointed at the Russians quick as a flash.

    All the evidence is clear, the mainstream media has lost all objectivity. It is now nothing more than the propaganda arm of big business, corrupt governments and tyrannical despots (aka the Globalists).

    Nobody trusts the media and rightly so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How's the media supposed to know when government officials are lying to them? If the government says "our intelligence says that Iraq has WMDs" that's news. They can't independently verify something like that, so should they not report it because they can't see the WMDs or call Saddam and get his confirmation? The consumer of the media has to bear some responsibility for knowing what things do and don't come with the ability for independent confirmation.

      The media is self-correcting however - when they find out the WMD story is full of holes, they report it. When they find it was all based on one informant, who had reason not to be trusted, they report it. Too late for the war that got started, but if a government is going to lie to the world to start a war, the media refusing to report what they say because they can't verify it or say "well you've lied to us before so we are going to assume everything you say is a lie" isn't going to stop them.

      1. RobertLongshaft

        "How's the media supposed to know when government officials are lying to them? "

        Stupid post of the year award goes to....

        There used to be a thing called investigative journalism and most journalist longed to do it. To investigate politicians, big business and other public figures, to expose their lies and deception and to give the public full disclosure.

        Now all journos do is trot our the verbal diarrhoea which is dictated to them. That's not journalism and they are not journalists.

        It's journalists and the mainstream media who carry all the blame for not doing their jobs properly - not government, not the general public and certainly not the cronies who provide them with their "stories".

        This is why the mainstream media is dying and that is not my opinion its statistical fact!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'investigative journalism'

          So please explain how the even the finest investigative journalism in the world could have determined that the Iraq WMD story was untrue. Are they supposed to break into CIA HQ to determine the source of the WMD story, then investigate him and determine he's not credible?

          Some things simply can't be investigated, the information on the WMD story was supposedly extremely closely held (I guess it is obvious why in hindsight) so getting someone with actual knowledge of it to talk even off the record would have been extremely unlikely. Again, I ask, if you can't get confirmation of it are you supposed to not report the news of what government officials said? They didn't report it as a fact "confirmed by multiple sources" as they often do when they can get confirmation, they reported it as "this is what the Bush administration is saying".

          This idea is like saying the news should ignore Trump's tweets when the veracity of his statements can't be proven. Such as Trump jumping to the conclusion that the Obama administration planted a 'spy' in his campaign, because the FBI had an informant talking to Russian collusion suspects during the campaign. Had they ignored his tweets as unconfirmed rumors, yesterday's unprecedented meeting would have been rather hard to explain in context.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        "How's the media supposed to know when government officials are lying to them?"

        Because they are moving their mouths?

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      WMD

      @RobertLongshaft

      We seem to recall the WMD story differently, I recall the coverage being reported as 'ministers claim', 'a published dossier states' etc, not that 'The BBC has discovered evidence of WMD'.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "More recently have you forgotten the fake chemical weapons attacks in Sryia? Or how about the Sailsbury incident, where the mainstream media were able to tell us who did it, with what within 24 hours? "

      I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories just because MSM is lazy.

      About BBC though, they are certainly not a balanced observer regarding Brexit. The don't do any thinking at all on the subject, and basically is hushing it down and sweeping all the massive issues under the carpet. Worst kind of government stoogees. Useless.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      All the evidence is clear, the mainstream media has lost all objectivity

      There have been tremendous changes in news reporting over the past couple of decades. This is not one of them.

      The most significant of those changes is that amateur reporting (mostly blogging, though that term is so nebulous it doesn't really help to specify it) has hollowed out the economics of news reporting to such an extent that most (not all) professional news organizations have come to depend on it as their primary feed, displacing staff legwork and wire services. Amateur reporting is pathetically easy to manipulate; it has essentially no editorial control whatsoever and the incentives are completely against research, confirmation, and in-depth investigation. Its deficiencies then infect the higher-tier vehicles that rely on it.

      Ryan Holiday - who is after all a professional media manipulator - explains the process with extensive supporting evidence in Trust Me, I'm Lying. Numerous other treatments and studies are readily available.

      Musk doesn't understand the news media either. But then he pretty much lives in his own world, so that's really not surprising.

      Kieren's points in the article are well-taken.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter is a bad thing to have available during a meltdown

    Normally those having a meltdown will just scream at the walls, or those unfortunate enough to be nearby. Or maybe pick up the phone and call someone to talk them off the ledge.

    Now you can have your tantrum in front of millions. I wonder if when he comes to his senses he will delete these, or maybe just delete his Twitter entirely to prevent himself from doing this again. He certainly hasn't been doing his public persona any favors the last month or two - perhaps the issues at Tesla may be more serious than suspected and he knows his public image can never recover from its bankruptcy. I guess one option is to blame that bankruptcy on the media's negative stories...

  23. Mike 125

    All the best, Elon.

    Agreed.

    This was kind of inevitable. 'Socmed' is a universal amplifier of the worst aspects of human evolutionary inheritance. To say it is not a force for good is a dramatic understatement.

    But it's a shame people don't recognise the absolute need for a PR advisor/ handler, before the whole thing goes public. Do the ranting down the pub with a mate.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: All the best, Elon.

      "But it's a shame people don't recognise the absolute need for a PR advisor/ handler"

      Tesla has lost lots of PR people over time. Not sure if there are any left who could handle him if needed.

      In one case Elon tried the PR job for two weeks and decided he's just as good at it:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/05/book_review_elon_musk_how_the_billionaire_ceo_of_spacex_and_tesla_is_shaping_our_future_by_ashlee_vance/?page=2

  24. HmmmYes

    Ah well. Hes still got his hairs - or whoevers it was.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like Musk's reality distortion field is getting perturbed by a normalisation ray resulting in a large emotive force being released.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "..reality distortion field..perturbed by a normalisation ray..large emotive force..released."

      Reverse the polarity?

  26. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    This sort of tantrum by Musk isn't new. Remember when a New York journalist borrowed a Model S and reported range problems, after being advised by a Tesla customer service advisor to warm the batteries with a quick charge before setting of in freezing conditions? Musk threw a total eppy, ranted about "big oil shills" and sacked the customer service advisor.

  27. LucasNorth

    He is right about the press coverage for Tesla accidents though.

  28. StuntMisanthrope

    Trumps Paradox - All journalism is lies

    Get's a bit complicated after that and I've got stuff to do. #heytherepoppickers #yellowsmymiddlename

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. handleoclast

    Just say no

    Just say no to ranting on Twatter after taking your favourite recreational chemical. Especially if that chemical can result in paranoia.

    What would be really scary is if Musk was ranting away without the "benefits" of chemical reality augmentation.

  31. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Further proof that..

    ..the very rich are not like you or I. (unless of course you're reading this and you've very rich. In which case you'e probably a troll, or this is an anthropology experiment for you)

    I don't know if journalists have more, less, or about the same integrity as they used to. I'd like to say somewhat less these days, but of course it depends on the individual person, and I strongly suspect that everything and everyone has sucked since the beginning of time, and everything these days just gets more exposure.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Further proof that..

      unless of course you're reading this and you've very rich

      Very rich relative to whom?

      My wife and I are in the top 1% for household income in both the states where we own houses. (We are nowhere near the top 0.1%, of course, thanks to income concentration.) That makes us pretty rich for those states, and very rich compared to a majority of the world's population. Hell, the mere fact that I control 2 ac-ft/year of irrigation water (~ 2.5 Ml/yr, if I've entered the info into units correctly) would make me ridiculously wealthy in many parts of the world. (And I don't farm. In fact, I don't even use the vast majority of that water - I leave it in the system for the farmers.)

      Of course, F. Scott presumably meant his sort of "very rich" - the "oh, we never use the Newport mansion these days; the place has become so common" sort. I know a few of those, and I suppose they are a bit different.

      Anyway, on to your actual point: I believe few, if any, of the problems with journalism today are due to any change in the average or total "integrity" of the profession (if such a thing could be meaningfully measured). They're economic. It is simply no longer feasible for any but a few niche organizations to provide quality journalism, with proper research, investigation, writing, and editing.

      1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

        @Michael Wojcik

        " It is simply no longer feasible for any but a few niche organizations to provide quality journalism, with proper research, investigation, writing, and editing."

        You make an intriguing point. Assuming that journalistic quality has decreased, say, since 30-40 years ago, and it is no longer feasible for any but some niche organizations to provide accurate, well-researched stories, I'm curious as to why you think this is? Surely the mass-market media has enough money and resources to do their homework. Why would they choose not to do so? What sets the niche organizations apart? If not money, could it be that elusive integrity? Is integrity less feasible these days? Or simply not as important? Surely the niches are not making even a fraction of the revenue as the giants, for the most part.

        1. handleoclast

          Re: @Michael Wojcik

          Surely the mass-market media has enough money and resources to do their homework.

          Nope. Margins are tight, especially for quality media (with lower sales) so journos got the push. Look at the history of any of the quality titles and you'll see the number of journos has declined greatly.

          The mass-market media may have the resources to employ a few more journos to allow some sort of quality work but the market they sell to doesn't need (or, worse, want) such stuff. They want their preconceptions, however wrong they may be, to be confirmed. You don't need to do any research to claim that global warming isn't happening, or that the sun shines out of Trump's arse, etc. In fact, research and integrity are very bad things for mass-market media because they might end up having to tell their readers things they don't want to hear and those readers will then switch to some other title.

  32. Keefwivanef

    Never mind the bollocks.

    What about the SNAP OFF SUSPENSIONS and WHOMPY WHEELS?

    http://teslabears.club/t/tesla-suspension-fatal-flaw-entire-fleet-should-be-grounded/370/14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/136377865@N05/sets/72157658490111523/

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Looks like they need to do a recall and replace some suspension components with redesigned parts.

  33. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  34. Matthew Taylor

    The media marketplace

    The media does not need to be organised by a cabal into operating in a particular way - it will self-organise. In the internet age, news is an efficient, liquid market, with thousands of providers available, all of whom have (mostly) the same information. So how to differentiate oneself? Sensationalism. The rewards for making mountains out of molehills are clear, so, even if certain scrupulous publications resist, many others will not, and soon this elevated sensationalism becomes the new normal. Then, even more sensationalism is required to stand out from the crowd, and the exaggerations escalate, feeding off each other.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "So how to differentiate oneself?"

      Exclusives tend to do the trick, to be honest. Reporting true and useful information before anyone else, that sort of material gets read and shared a hell of a lot more than SCREAMING DRAMA.

      C.

  35. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Musk has a point.

    Media is mainly moaning, and complaining. Not doing anything much constructive. Sometimes it's a good thing, and sometimes not.

    But I think Musk also is overly sensitive and protective of his babies (car especially). An overworked genius, in a hurry to get to Mars before he is too old.

    He is not unlike Jobs, who had rather killed off the income bringing Apple II, than having it around representing the past, and put all effort into developing better things. These genii expect people to invest in them getting it right, and not worry about current finances too much.

  36. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    The color yellow

    So long as it's not the flavor yellow that he hates. That would be going too far.

    Presumably Musk hates yellow because it clashes with his white cat and the black rock of his volcano-interior lair.

  37. ProgrammerForHire

    Ignoring Musk and all the controversy , I find his idea to be very good. Shit media should be put to shame

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Media has nothing to Answer for??

    So its all Musk and the Media has nothing to answer for? C'mon man are you just looking for a way to retort? Insinuating Musk doesn't live on the same planet as the rest of us? Its very difficult to go on the internet and get an account for some actual news which is credible.. And yes this site "The register" only survives because of traffic "clicks" so.. Why let the truth or relevant news get in the way of "clicks"!!

  39. cdilla

    Personally I largely agree with Mr Musk with regards his opinions of the portions of media he is referring to.

    Individual hacks may or may not care about or have a relationship with every company or person they do stories on, but many do have axes to grind, and many more do care about what their boss thinks of them, and who doubts they have agendas?

    Even with the "fiercely independant" new sources, the name under the tag line has to be taken into account when deciding how much salt to take along with the info in the article.

  40. benomena

    Public perception of Tesla matters

    I agree Elon's a bit off the rails these days, but...

    Over a million people die every year from car crashes. Automation has the potential to drastically reduce that, but not if a skewed public perception of the technology fucks it all up. That's why it's significant that many journalists jump at the chance to write about an accident involving Autopilot (often with a whiff of Luddism). If these articles must exist because they're "newsworthy," at least include a reminder that this technology has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives a year.

  41. wolfetone Silver badge

    I was listening to the Gareth Jones on Speed podcast yesterday, and someone on there said how their friend works for a company who buys cars, tears them down to see how it works then sells on the designs to other manufacturers.

    His friend reckons the mechanics of the car is a shit show, but the batteries are fantastic. He reckoned they have the best load balancing of any battery tech of any manufacturer on that car.

  42. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    1st rule of Journalism. "If it bleeds, it leads."

    And that has never changed.

    How many times have you seen a headline that read "Medical staff did amazing jobs saving lives" rather than "Ten car pileup carnage" ?

    Obviously as (some parts of) the world have become safer that's down to 1 car and one person.

    Meanwhile the list of US school mass shootings will continue to rise without a murmur. It was 312 by mid 2017, What did it get to in the end?

  43. Howard Hanek
    Happy

    Speed Bumps?

    Six feet high while you're going a 100 perhaps - speed bumps. The Model 3 was seen approaching Mars.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CON Man

    As he was before he got hair plugs and bought into PayPal and Tesla...and got into over 4 Billion in Government subsidies for his other project. Barnum would be proud.

    1. Keefwivanef

      Re: CON Man

      They drilled too deep with the hair plugs.

      Lobotomy.

      Derpy derp derp.

  45. SarkyGit

    Just read all this, then....

    I suppose a "speak of the devil" occurrence

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-india-44255267/the-underground-lair-that-turned-out-to-be-a-loo

  46. frobnicate
    Trollface

    Another bullet point

    (anent "It's you that then takes it personally.", etc.): whatever you publish, find somebody who managed to learn the grammar. No hurt feelings, it's just a bit of news and advice!

  47. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    "Occasionally smaller, struggling or unethical publications will try to make reporters conform to the commercial side of their work" – and it has literally never worked out.

    Oh I don't know that it's never worked out, The Telegraph is still going. As they're not small and not struggling, I suppose that leaves only box number three? Backstory for those that missed it.

  48. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out."

    -- Winston Churchill

  49. EntArch2Cloud

    No doubt, Elon has been quite frustrated lately but being "anti-media" is quite in vogue these days. Yes, there was a time when the "media" could be trusted. That time is long since past, now it's just a bunch of partisan hacks spewing their opinions which nobody cares about in the first place.

    Oh, yes, The Register is "media" but as a technical trade publication, I have seen no media bias here.

    Val

  50. Paper

    The title to this article should read...

    The title should read "A completely click baity article in response to being criticised for making click baity articles!"

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