Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk ripped into a tech news reporter Wednesday for suggesting the Tesla CEO is slowly but surely becoming a “media-baiting Trump figure.”
Musk criticized online tech reporters on Twitter for supposedly engaging in a media-generated hit job on Tesla. Verge reporter Andrew Hawkins dinged him for ragging on reporters every time one of his companies receives negative media. Musk did not take the rebuke lightly.
“Musk continues his slow transformation into a media-baiting Trump figure screaming irrationally about fake news,” Hawkins said in a tweet to Musk, who slammed “the holier-than-thou hypocrisy” media in an earlier tweet for using a thin veneer of truth to “sugarcoat the lie.”
“Thought youd say that,” Musk said in response. “Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks Youre 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.”
Thought youd say that. Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks “Youre 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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Musks initial tweet included a link to an Electrek article suggesting Tesla was on the verge of breaking through despite media negativity. Electrek writers are frequently bullish on the technology used in electric vehicle companies — theyve maintained broad support for Tesla as the company.
Tesla stocks dropped on May 3 after Musk engaged in a highly unusual and combative earnings call that included criticizing reporters for asking “boneheaded” questions. The companys shares fell five percent following his strange, vaudeville-like discussion with reporters.
Veteran analyst at Morgan Stanley, Adam Jonas, called the earnings call “the most unusual call” hed ever experienced. The outburst comes as Tesla posted $2 billion in losses. Musks off script musings could hurt Teslas ability to obtain cash from capital markets, Jonas told Bloomberg shortly after the call concluded.
Other analysists have also compared Musk to President Donald Trump.
“There is a radioactive component to it,” Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm The Patriarch Organization, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a May 3 interview. Musk does appear to share the same qualities with another wealthy world-beater, he noted.
“There is a bit of a Trump-like model that he is running,” Schiffer said, referring to Musks apparent willingness to use Wall Street analysts as foils. He might behave like Trump during press junkets, Schiffer continued, but “hes no Donald Trump.” His company eventually has to make money if it wants to stay afloat. (RELATED: Wall Street Insiders Lob A Warning Shot At Musk For Snubbing Analysts)
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 inexpensive vehicles production began faltering. The Silicon Valley company placed a temporary stop on Model 3 production in April after several hiccups in production. (RELATED: Moodys Downgrades Teslas 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 wallet-friendly vehicle tumbled from a high of 518,000 to 455,000.
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