Published on December 1st, 2019 | by Carolyn Fortuna0
How Fox News Talks About Tesla
December 1st, 2019 by Carolyn Fortuna
Around the virtual water cooler here at CleanTechnica, there’s a lot of talk about green, clean sustainability, zero emissions, and the like. But not all media outlets have such progressive discussions. Indeed, the folks over at Fox News seem to find great joy in berating all things that nurture natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance … oh, yeah, and to save humanity’s future.
So, I thought it would be a bit fun here on a weekend afternoon to do a little snooping on the Fox News website to see what they’re saying about sustainability. To make it even more interesting, I focused my search on their take on Tesla. Here goes.
This article zoomed into the Tesla Cybertruck reveal last Thursday in which CEO Elon Musk kept the audience oohing and ahhing when an ATV appeared at the back of the pickup truck. Looking at a social media post, the Fox News author determined that the ATV was, actually, a melange of a Yamaha 700 Raptor and Tesla electric technology.
Kind of looks like Tesla did take the Yamaha Raptor ATV and stuck an electric motor in it and called it their own. pic.twitter.com/A6jPU9lEDw
— Bozi Tatarevic (@hoonable) November 23, 2019
Tesla 2 person electric ATV will come at first as an option for Cybertruck
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2019
Fox News decried, “what’s come to be known as the Cyberquad is likely to be very different than the one at the event.” But whereas other automakers’ product reveals often include features that get axed by the time production comes around, Tesla typically improves the vehicle from the time of first showing to the time of production. The production Model 3 is a good example of this. Our esteemed CleanTechnica editor, Zachary Shahan, was admittedly “caught off guard” when he was able to get up close and personal with a Model 3 for the first time since reveal night. Having to balance “Tesla’s incessant improvements and all of the nitpicky, consistent attacks from Tesla critics (paid or otherwise),” he found the Model 3 to be better than expected. Not just different, but “better.”
So, maybe the likely adaptations and improvements to the Cybertruck and Cyberquad are a good thing, eh? There’s a lot to be said for being reflective, even though Fox News seems not to value self-assessing, at least when it comes to Tesla.
This is a confusing one. After Ford VP Sunny Madra tweeted a challenge to Tesla CEO Elon Musk for a rematch of the tug-of-war Tesla conducted between the Cybertruck and an F-150, Elon Musk replied, “Bring it on.” Seems like a lot of testosterone was flying around on this one, with Madra deciding later to step back his gauntlet throw. The Fox article indicates that Musk pledged to move forward anyway, but that appears to be a misreading of the situation. Neil deGrasse Tyson got involved and did a little pissing on the idea, arguing that the heavier weight of the battery-powered Cybertruck gave it a traction advantage, and that Musk should level the playing field. Someone then requested that it be webcast, Musk agreed to that, deGrasse Tyson responded to one of Musk’s comments about the head-to-head demo, and Musk responded:
Agreed, this will be exciting to see!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2019
This all happened before Ford comments revealed they weren’t actually interested in the do-over. Yet, the Fox News coverage implies that Musk said something like “we’re going to do it anyway” after Ford dropped out.
Fox News –– in an alternative universe — might’ve focused on the inherent value and advantage that Tesla would have in such a “traditional truck vs. the new kid in town” competition. Instead, they stayed away from the science, as usual.
Our own Kyle Field, who attended the Cybertruck reveal, stepped back and engaged in some critical thinking about the unique truck. He was initially confused by the pickup truck’s design, but later came to conclude that the Cybertruck has lots of capabilities that have the potential to exceed the pickups we here in the US have come to accept without question. Kyle outlined its extensive cargo room, its ability to generate power, and its ability to go off grid with confidence, due to no need for petrol.
As Kyle summarized, “The Cybertruck offers the cheapest and safest way in history to move small groups of people and cargo, and it will get slightly better every year. The more weight in the bed, the more you save.” Maybe Fox News needs to read Kyle’s articles a bit more if they have gaps in applying value to the Cybertruck…
Oh, yes. Fox News loves to puff out its chest and blow hard when an oppositional entity faces a problem. Drawing on a play on words, the conservative news outlet exclaimed that, “Tesla made a smash with the reveal of its Cybertruck electric pickup on Thursday night.” As is common knowledge now, the front and rear driver’s side windows smashed on blows from a steel ball after a sledgehammer loosened the window, even though a large metal ball dropped on it from 15 feet didn’t break the glass. Here’s more:
Oh, this was so much fun for Fox News! They were brimming with glee as they noted the front door window “cracked it in a spiderweb pattern.”
Forbes noted that most vehicles would have been damaged by the sledgehammer blows, and most windows would have been completely shattered by the steel ball, yet Fox decided to neglect that.
Did Fox News‘ guffawing at the smashed windows have anything to do with the fact that they — and several other news outlets — were barred from attending or broadcasting the event, which was livestreamed on YouTube by Tesla and by many attendees on social media? The inner circle at Fox News are the only ones who know.
Those of us who drive electric vehicles have heard them described as needing a bell, as a hazard to pedestrians, and even as “dangerously quiet.” So, when Elon Musk had a bit of fun tweeting about the range of sound awareness possibilities a Tesla could provide, Fox News chimed in (pun intended) and offered, “since they’re so quiet, new government regulations will require next year that electric cars broadcast an external sound at speeds under 20 mph to warn pedestrians, especially those with limited vision.”
Customized horn & movement sounds (coconuts being one, of course) coming to Teslas soon
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2019
The article went on to mention that “some full electrics and hybrids already do this voluntarily, but Tesla only recently added the feature to its Model 3, which emits a ‘pink’ noise while going forward and an electronic hum in reverse that makes it sound like a 1950s sci-fi movie UFO.”
Maybe it’s time for Fox News and other Tesla naysayers to write about the benefits a young US car company is providing for society, rather than hyping and hawing about every Tesla misstep or perceived character error.