Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Space-X, and Paypal, recently posted a series of Tweets pointing out how media organizations have an obvious incentive to give bad press to electric cars and alternative energy in general.
Musk was unforgiving towards the mainstream media in his epic Twitter rant, calling them hypocrites and saying that the public no longer trusts them.
He said that he doesn’t advertise for Tesla, his electric car company, which means that he contributes no money to the media, who depend on advertising dollars to stay in business.
On the other hand, the traditional auto industry and fossil fuel companies are among the world’s largest advertisers, meaning that they are one of the primary industries keeping the mainstream media in business.
When it comes time to cover a story that involves these industries, journalists, and media organizations have an obvious bias and conflict of interest that will influence their coverage of the story even if they were not given explicit orders to create propaganda.
“The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them. Problem is journos are under constant pressure to get max clicks & earn advertising dollars or get fired. Tricky situation, as Tesla doesn’t advertise, but fossil fuel companies & gas/diesel car companies are among world’s biggest advertisers,” Musk said.
The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them https://t.co/Ay2DwCOMkr
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Problem is journos are under constant pressure to get max clicks & earn advertising dollars or get fired. Tricky situation, as Tesla doesn’t advertise, but fossil fuel companies & gas/diesel car companies are among world’s biggest advertisers.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
An obvious example of this is how military arms suppliers like Boeing or Lockheed Martin will advertise on major networks despite the fact that their products are not available for sale to the people watching the advertisements.
It is no coincidence that international stories are covered with a pro-war slant on every major media platform when the arms dealers are advertising on each one—in fact, that is the very reason they advertise.
The same goes for recruitment ads for the military, these serve the double purpose of recruiting and also controlling the narrative of the media outlet by becoming their sponsor.
Next, Musk announced that he was planning on creating his own media ranking website that would rate the credibility of journalists by crowdsourcing reviews from readers. He also put up a poll asking his followers if it would be a good idea, or gave the sarcastic option of “no, media are awesome.”
Musk suggested that he would call his site “Pravda,” and while it would seem that these were thoughts coming off the top of his head, one Twitter follower pointed out that one of Musk’s agents “incorporated Pravda Corp in California” in October 2017.
As opposed to centralized fact-checking sites like Snopes or Politifact, which have an obvious bias, a site that allowed the public to decide who they trusted could be an interesting way to rate journalists.
Of course, any type of rating system is dependant upon the opinions of the masses, which can sometimes be wrong, and are almost always controversial.
However, this seems to be the best model that has been proposed thus far, and it does not seem to favor the mainstream media as other popular “fact checkers” do.