Published on September 10th, 2018 |
by Zachary Shahan
September 10th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan
I’m a huge fan of the media and high-quality journalism. The free press is a cornerstone of democracy, and much more. The largest media outlets in the world have the resources, passion, and expertise to do tremendous investigative reporting that is invaluable to society.
That said, major media outlets suck at covering cleantech. Actually, except in the case of Tesla, they hardly ever cover cleantech. They obsessively write about and talk about Tesla (especially TSLA), but they create a narrative that is misleading, unbalanced, highly negative, and just plain odd.
After responding to piece after piece after piece, some members of our team here at CleanTechnica had an idea — how about we track media coverage of Tesla and try to evaluate it in some objective way?
Oh boy, we did not realize what we were getting into! Over the last week, we have been tracking every Tesla headline from approximately two dozen major media outlets. Some of these outlets publish a few Tesla stories a week, while others can publish more than 20 stories in a single day. Furthermore, as much as we thought the coverage appeared biased and heavily focused on negative spin before we started this project, once we started looking at every Tesla headline, we realized it was much more warped than we first thought.
The results from our first full week of the project are summarized below.
In the first week of September, 208 Tesla-related headlines were published in the major media outlets we tracked. Out of those 2008 headlines, 155 of them included negative insinuations, 26 of them implied something positive, and the remaining 27 appeared neutral.
For a little bit of context here, this was a week in which it became clear the Tesla Model 3 became the 5th best selling car in the United States in terms of units sold and the #1 best selling car in the United States in terms of revenue. Tesla sold more cars in August in the US than BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Acura, Infiniti, or any other luxury car brand. (Note: These rankings concern cars, not SUVs or trucks.)
It was also a week in which Tesla CEO Elon Musk was on a 2½ podcast with Joe Rogan in which they discussed all manner of topics. One short segment of that in which Elon puffed on a joint, and then noted that he rarely smoked weed (seemingly implying more or less never) and repeated a note that he considers pot to be bad for productivity, and something that does nothing for him. As you know, the headlines largely mentioned the puff of weed and rarely mentioned anything else from the 2½ podcast.
In addition to tracking the connotation of the headlines, we decided to tally up the number of headlines focusing on a few major topics. You can see the results of that tally in the chart below.
We also summarized findings regarding the number of Tesla headlines published in different media outlets. As you can see in the chart below, a large portion of the Tesla stories — and variations of them, and more variations of them, and more variations of them — are published on Bloomberg, Business Insider, and CNBC, with Reuters, Forbes, and CNN filling out a second tier.
A slight variation on that theme that we thought was interesting to summarize as well is where the reporting originated. (Many of these sites republish a lot of content from other sources.) The following chart shows a similar ranking but indicates how much certain websites are reposting negative headlines/stories from other sources, with Business Insider and Yahoo standing above the crowd in that regard.
The takeaway this past week is that major media outlets — or at least their headlines writers — are heavily negative about Tesla. Additionally, they thought it highly newsworthy that Elon Musk puffed on a joint for a brief moment on The Joe Rogan Experience, with 37 headlines making direct reference to that puff. Aside from the weed, they wrote 5 headlines about SEC investigations, 8 headlines about Tesla sales, and 12 headlines about tweets. Others concerned Elon Musk, other Tesla executives, the stock price, Tesla competitors, lawsuits, Tesla products, and other matters.
In the end, despite the stunning news highlighted in the stories below, major media outlets couldn’t find time to figure out or cover these milestones despite dropping ton of virtual ink on a vast number of negative storylines — narrative which serve very little actual value. Is there any wonder Elon Musk is so combative with the media?
Tesla Model 3 = #1 Best Selling Car In The US (In Revenue)
Tesla Model 3 = 5th Best Selling Car In United States
Tesla Model 3 Average Selling Price (ASP) = $59,300, Surveys Find
Tesla Sales Higher Than Acura, Audi, BMW Car, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus Car, & Mercedes Car Sales In USA (August Sales)
Tesla Model 3 Is In A Class Of Its Own
Bombshell: Tesla Announcement Implies HUGE Quarter 3
Elon Musk’s 2015 Tesla Forecasts Compared To Today — The Future Looks Bright
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