Elon Musk hasn’t exactly been a darling of the mainstream media. Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, has endured numerous attacks and overt smear campaigns over the past few years. He explains, “They’ve been writing bogus articles about Tesla (and me) for years. In the end, it is their own credibility that suffers.”
Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk (Wikipedia Commons: JD Lasica)
Regardless, Musk decided to express some of his views about how manipulative (and divisive) media outlets have become — sounding the alarm that things need to change.
It all started when Brett Winton, director of research at investment firm ARK Invest, tweeted about a bizarre effort to “bully, threaten, extort, and browbeat” his company into giving up on their investment in Tesla. Musk, in turn, called it a concerted “FUD” campaign — an acronym referring to the media’s amplification of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
The conversation expanded further on Twitter when users began to lament the endless “doom-scrolling” that happens when trying to sort through the latest depressing news feed. In turn, Musk asked, “Why is the ‘traditional’ media such a relentless hatestream?”
A few years ago, during a Hack Club AMA, Musk showed support for “citizen journalism” as the next frontier for trustworthy content in lieu of traditional media outlets. He discussed the danger of advertising dollars corrupting the press to push out “clickbait” instead of quality journalism.
Above: Musk speaks with high school students at the Hack Club about the problems surrounding mainstream media (YouTube: Hack Club)
Back to the present, Elon explained on Twitter, “Most news outlets attempt to answer the question: ‘What are the worst things happening on Earth today?’ It’s a big planet! Obviously, some bad things are happening somewhere at any given time, but focusing relentlessly on [negative news] does not give an accurate picture of reality.”
Therefore, he says, “[It’s] so hard to find out what’s going on in the world without being bombarded with news that makes one [feel] sad and angry.” The old adage, when it bleeds it leads, has been taken to a whole other level. Today, the press defaults to a culture of non-stop catastrophizing and fear-mongering.
Shouldn’t we all just drink the haterade? Hold up before you choke it down. Musk asks, “maybe part of why traditional media outlets are so negative is because old habits die hard?” Maybe things can change. Evolve.
Fortune was one of the only traditional media outlets who reported on Elon’s tweet storm. Ironically, the article was (you guessed it) negative. Couldn’t the media, perhaps, be positive… ever? After all, Elon notes, “careless negativity (destruction) is much harder than thoughtful positivity (creation).”
Source: Elon Musk via Twitter, Fortune, Hack Club