Tesla's CEO won't let it go

Furious about what he called a “fake” review by the New York Times of Tesla’s new all-electric Model S sedan, CEO Elon Musk continued blasting away for a second day. Not to be out-done,  Times reporter John Broder, who wrote the review criticizing the sedan for not measuring up to its promised miles-range, took to his blog to defend himself.

First, this somewhat cynical attack by Musk while speaking with FOX Business Network’s Melissa Francis, wherein he chalks up the negative review to an unabashed drive by the Times for more  traffic on its website:

“I think there is a pretty obvious motivation. Tesla received one positive article after another. The press has been tremendously positive. Writing one more article that reaffirms that doesn’t get any clicks. That doesn’t get any attention. But writing an article with a picture of a car on a flat day, that gets attention.”

Musk also told the Francis what he would like the Times to do:

I think the New York Times really needs to do a proper investigation of what this reporter did and assess whether that is truly in line with the principles of the New York Times values, because they have not done that.”

Meanwhile, Broder launched his own campaign of setting the record (at least, as he sees it) straight. Writing on his blog, the reporter first laid out the gist of Musk’s accusations:

“He stated that my account was a “fake,” that I had ignored explicit charging and driving instructions from Tesla personnel, that I had taken a “long detour” and that I had deliberately sabotaged my own trip. He said I had driven 10 miles an hour over the speed limit at times, and that he had logs that he said would show that I drove in a way that inevitably reduced the car’s range.”

And then Broder proceeded to do his best to make mincemeat out of each point:

“My account was not a fake. It happened just the way I described it.”

The Timesman, alas, got way too deep inthe weeds as he shared with the few readers who really give a hoot every last and painful detail of his now-infamous test-drive. Here’s a snippet to give you the flavor:

“Mr. Musk’s logs may show I hit 75 m.p.h. for a mile or two during my trip, although it was likely before, rather than after, the Newark stop. The car’s power-usage meter clearly shows the major penalty driving at 75 inflicts on battery charge, discouraging any temptation to hooliganism in this 416-horsepower, $101,000 car. I drove more than 100 miles below 55 on cruise control to conserve power.”

You get the idea. And if you really want to read Broder’s defense statement in full, click here.

 

 

Patrick May Patrick May (313 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.