Elon Musk Slams the Media

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Elon Musk, who has crafted a reputation as a strong promoter with a deft touch for media relations recently lashed out at many media outlets for “living in a bubble” and following the wrong motivations.

Elon Musk, who has crafted a reputation as a strong promoter with a deft touch for media relations recently lashed out at many media outlets for “living in a bubble” and following the wrong motivations.

Musk found himself in a Twitter war of words with several members of the media, including NBC News reporter Ben Collins and tech news editor, Joshua Topolsky. Musk fired some of the first shots, complaining that too many in the media were “motivated by advertising dollars” and threatening to start a website that ranked the “credibility” of news sources.

That led to both supportive and critical comments, putting Musk in a position he has not often found himself: taking shots from reporters. During this confrontation, Musk described newsrooms as “bleak” before telling Collins he was “living in a bubble of self-righteous sanctimony…”

That’s when Topolsky jumped in, asking Musk a very loaded question: “Do you think it’s in the interest of powerful people to A: support a free press that exposes their lies, or B: tear it down so their lies are easier to tell?”

Musk was dismissive, asking the tech reporter who he thought owned the media outlets reporting on those powerful people. This statement was besieged by a barrage of follow up questions and comments, which Musk ignored.

There were some in the exchange that seemed to like Musk’s media accountability and ranking idea, and the conversation jagged in that direction. Though some members of the media and media educators took a moment to say Musk shouldn’t be running it. Seems the typically amicable relationship might be a bit strained at the moment.

So, will this assault on certain members of the media make it less likely that innovations and promotions by Tesla and SpaceX will be covered? That’s not likely. These two companies are among a handful that have truly captured America’s — and the world’s — imagination in a way we have not really seen since the earliest days of the Space Race.

Musk’s companies are building the future, and most in the media believe that. They also know he’s great for a quote and good for a story when they need one. Given his long-term, careful cultivation of media relationships, this latest finger pointing is not likely to cost Musk much attention next time he wants it.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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