Legacy media launches targeted attack on Tesla in bid to hurt Elon Musk

Contrary to traditional recall procedures, Tesla's recall involves a wireless software update sent to over two million U.S. vehicles sold since 2012, aiming to address regulators' concerns about its Autopilot system's role in certain accidents.

Legacy media launches targeted attack on Tesla in bid to hurt Elon Musk
AP Photo/Richard Vogel
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Tesla, the leading electric car manufacturer, faced heightened scrutiny from legacy news organizations on Wednesday, particularly regarding a recent vehicle "recall" and concerns surrounding its new Cybertruck model.

Contrary to traditional recall procedures, Tesla's recall involves a wireless software update sent to over two million U.S. vehicles sold since 2012, aiming to address regulators' concerns about its Autopilot system's role in certain accidents.

A report by The New York Times suggested a dent in Tesla's reputation for technological innovation due to this recall. However, the details reveal that the recall doesn't require physical servicing at Tesla facilities. Instead, the company will implement cellular network updates to enhance driver attention alerts and satisfy regulatory expectations.

Such reports run contrary to headlines that Tesla was issuing a recall of up to two million vehicles.

Tesla has defended its Autopilot system, presenting data to support its claim of enhanced vehicle safety when the system is engaged. According to Tesla's statement, the final quarter of 2022 saw one crash per 4.85 million miles with Autopilot use, compared to one crash per 1.40 million miles without it. This contrasts with the national average of a crash approximately every 652,000 miles, based on 2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration.

Another instance of media criticism emerged in an NBC News report, focusing on Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck. The report labeled the Cybertruck as potentially "deadlier" to pedestrians and other vehicles, citing its substantial weight and rapid acceleration.

However, the report overlooked key context: the Cybertruck's relatively lighter weight compared to other electric trucks. For perspective, the Rivian R1T weighs 7,173 pounds, Ford F-150 Lightning 6,855 pounds, Chevrolet Silverado EV 8,500 pounds, and GMC Hummer EV Pickup 9,640 pounds, as listed by Car and Driver. This crucial comparison was absent from NBC News' coverage, as highlighted by the Daily Wire.

The media's critical stance on Tesla and CEO Elon Musk has notably intensified since Twitter, now identified as X, accepted Musk's buyout offer in April 2022. This shift in media attitude is partly attributed to Musk's influence over the platform, which significantly shapes news narratives and policies.

The attacks coincide with various efforts by activist organizations like Media Matters to stymie the platform’s ability to make a profit.

A boycott campaign, initiated by Media Matters and hyped by legacy press outlets, has led to some companies, including IBM and Disney, pulling their advertising dollars from X over allegations that their advertising materials were shown alongside objectionable content. X and its owner Elon Musk claim that Media Matters manipulated the results by repeatedly refreshing objectionable posts to get the ads to show up in an inorganic fashion.

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