Journalists Freak Out over Elon Musk’s Call for Media Accountability

Dan Neil and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk attend Tribeca Talks After The Movie: 'Revenge of the Electric Car' during the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival at the SVA Theater on April 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images)
Dario Cantatore/Getty

Journalists and establishment news outlets had a collective freakout after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk criticized the media and called for further press accountability.

After calling the state of modern news outlets “bleak,” Musk said, “something needs to be done to improve public trust in media.” He also pitched the idea of a website where members of the public could “rate” journalists, editors, and publications.

During an argument with NBC News Reporter Ben Collins, Musk also declared, “You’re missing the point & living in a bubble of self-righteous sanctimony. The public doesn’t trust you. This was true *before* the last election & only got worse. Don’t believe me? Run your own poll…”

The SpaceX CEO also criticized “free press” arguments by responding, “Who do you think *owns* the press? Hello,” which reporters then attempted to paint as an anti-semitic attack.

BBC writer Erin Biba responded to Musk’s call for media accountability by preparing a story about female journalists allegedly “harassed” by Musk fans, while Vice News reporter William Turton accused Musk of “starting rich people gamergate.”

Foreign Policy Executive Editor Sharon Weinberger also attempted to discredit Musk by claiming he had requested the ability “to review all articles prior to publication” after she visited a SpaceX facility, prompting Musk to reply, “Disclosing classified US missile technology to hostile nations would violate ITAR law & land you in jail. I didn’t review it, but my team did. Obviously nobody cared about what your article said. Please.”

In an article, BuzzFeed Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith claimed Musk’s criticism of the media shows “how little the tech barons shaping the new ways we live and consume information understand about journalism.”

Vice News writer Eve Peyser, Independent Journal Review Editor Josh Billinson, and BuzzFeed UK Editor-In-Chief Janine Gibson all praised the article

The New York Times, Newsweek, Slate, and Gizmodo also published negative articles about Musk following his tweets.

Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, has been plagued with problems and bad press recently, including bets against the company by investors, shareholder dissatisfaction, and problems with the new Tesla Model 3. If Musk wants to draw attention away from problems at his company, the mainstream media are playing right into his hands.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.

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