Published on September 4th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan0
The Press Got Bored & “Wised Up” — Tesla News 5 Years Ago vs. Today
September 4th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan
I’ve been curious lately — how has Tesla coverage in the mainstream media evolved over time? Has Tesla coverage always been batshit crazy? Or is that a relatively new thing?
Last week, I wrote about dramatically negative press sentiment about Tesla that was prevalent 10 years ago. The company was sure to die any day, according to smart dudes at The Truth About Cars, the New York Times, and most outlets in between.
For this segment of “Morning Monkey Business,” I went back 5 years and looked at Tesla news in the first week of September 2013. Somewhat surprisingly, the press had made a U-turn in those 5 years and was suddenly covering Tesla in almost entirely positive light. The Model S had been a big hit and there were not yet million-dollar smear campaigns attacking Tesla and Elon Musk. (After all, what threat was this little startup out of Silicon Valley?) The TSLA shorts hadn’t yet taken over the financial airwaves. And, to be fair, CEO Elon Musk hadn’t made the PR mistake of attacking the press at the same time that a con man linked to the mob was inhabiting the White House and consistently labeling any news outlets willing to cover his crimes and lies as “fake news.” That was a crucial own goal that continues to hurt Tesla.
Tesla is now apparently a company that must be hated and slandered by almost every media outlet on the planet, even though (or because) the company has become much more successful in these past 5 years; is producing and selling several times more cars; is selling a car that apparently competes with the BMW 3 Series, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, and Nissan LEAF, among others; and may be completely passing up BMW USA sales in the United States. That’s right, now that it’s a serious American auto manufacturer selling high volumes of zero-emissions electric cars, the press must do its job and try to destroy the company. All in the name of helping society!
But let’s take a quick gander at the Tesla stories that dominated the news 5 years ago this week:
While they didn’t top Tesla news on Google and such stories weren’t being run on many sites, TSLA bears and FUD pieces about Tesla production & its stock price were already (or still?) bubbling in the New York Times and Business Insider.
There were apparently “worries” about Tesla battery supply among “very smart people.” (Looks like those hurdles were overcome.) Additionally, the company stock price was seen by very serious intellectuals and financial experts to be far too high. A more realistic or sensible stock price? $67 per share. (Naturally, that’s exactly where we’ve landed by now … or not.)
Well, let’s hope that NYU professor didn’t short the stock — he’d most likely be broke by now. An NYU professor’s salary can’t handle such off-target stock shorting.
While these may have been odd outliers back in 2013, much of the remaining media has come around and has realized it’s just too boring to write positive stories about Tesla every month. It has become much more interesting to smear the company and pretend its CEO is an evil, crazy, perhaps even criminal human being. Plus, he cries. That’s how you get clicks!
But I guess it all makes sense anyway. Elon Musk hadn’t yet clapped back after some dude said on international television that he should stick a submarine up his a** … simply because Musk had tried to help save some kids’ lives. Elon Musk hadn’t yet gotten frustrated with analysts who obsessively insinuated he was lying. And Tesla hadn’t yet gotten close to producing 20,000 electric cars a month, genuinely threatening the cash money of billionaires in the oil industry, automotive industry, and Wall Street.
Thankfully, the world has changed, and the press has responded. In the first few days of September 2018, there have been 24 stories published about Tesla in major American media outlets. Among those stories, 14 of the headlines have been negative, 5 have been positive, and the remaining 5 have been neutral. As Montell Jordan would sing, “This is how we do it.“
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