CNN is feeling miffed and jilted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is tilting away from liberal orthodoxy and instead pointing his cannons at the media and their penchant for sensationalizing news.
Musk has been on a tear recently, tweeting withering criticisms at reporters and editors he believes are dishonestly badmouthing his companies. His criticisms are taking on a decidedly Trump-like feel, according to CNN tech reporter Dylan Byers.
“The Tesla founder is ramping up his efforts to undermine the media in the wake of critical coverage of his company,” Byers wrote Friday in an article highlighting Musk’s tweets. “In doing so, he is showing himself to be a thin-skinned bully who isn’t as smart as we had thought or hoped.”
Byers went on to note several ways in which he believes Musk is supposedly “humiliating himself.” He argues, for instance, that the tech billionaire is “using his vast power and influence to undermine journalists simply because he’s miffed by negative coverage.”
Byers ended his missive with a slight jab and a shallow piece of advice for Musk: “[Y]ou don’t get to be a modern-day P.T. Barnum and then cry and whine when the journalists who helped fuel your rise to stardom finally start peeking behind the curtain.”
CNN’s criticisms comes as Musk continues his Twitter rampage. “Why are certain journalists (editors especially) so concerned about the public rating their credibility?” he said in a May 24 tweet. “All they do all day is rate others, ostensibly on behalf of the same public for which they have contempt.”
He went further throughout the day.
“Thought you’d say that,” Musk said in response to a tweet from Verge reporter Andrew Hawkins, who argued the Silicon Valley giant is turning into President Donald Trump. “Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like Trump!’ Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more. You lost your credibility a long time ago.”
The bad blood between Musk and the media can be traced back to an unusual Tesla earnings call the CEO conducted in April. He engaged in a highly unusual and combative tit-for-tat with reporters on the call, which culminated in Musk calling reporters “boneheaded” for asking questions about problems plaguing the electric automaker. (RELATED: ‘Unusual’: Elon Musk Appears To Have Nervous Breakdown During Bizarre Tesla Earnings Call)
“Excuse me. Next. Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?” he said after an analyst from Bernstein lobbed a volley of questions at Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s chief financial officer, about capital expenditures. Musk then shut down another analyst for asking what he determined silly and “dry” questions.
The analysts on the call were asking a series of questions about aspects of Tesla’s business model, which has been scrutinized recently for failing to meet crucial sales deadlines. The company’s Model 3 vehicle, which many argued was the car that would thrust Tesla into the automotive industry elite, has sputtered, flopped and failed to hit the sales marks Musk previously promised.
Tesla initially planned on producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of 2017, but that number was quickly revised as the wallet-friendly vehicle’s production began faltering. Musk eventually placed a temporary halt on the car’s production in April after several hiccups. (RELATED: Moody’s Downgrades Tesla’s Credit Rating As Model 3 Slips Into Obscurity)
Musk is currently making only around 975 Model 3s a week — well short of the 2,500-unit rate target by the end of this quarter. Tesla managed to build a mere 260 Model 3s between July and September of 2017. That number is well below the 1,500 Tesla promised before the end of the fourth quarter of said year. Total orders for the Model 3 tumbled from a high of 518,000 to 455,000.
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