Elon Musk is entering the second week of his sustained, strange and simplified war with the media. And he’s not taking Memorial Day weekend off.
The Tesla CEO, unlike some other big-shot executives, is at least engaging with his critics. And for Musk, the back-and-forth over media bias is being spelled out in real time on Twitter, with Musk digging deeper and deeper as the clock ticks later into the night.
As part of his tirade against what he sees as a media system driven by an anti-Tesla agenda, he’s dangling some curious arguments with little explanation or follow-up. Here are some of Musk’s holiday weekend tweets that make us scratch our heads:
You really think I haven’t spent time in a newsroom? I’ve spent time in too many. Bleak.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2018
A lot of Musk’s arguments feel rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of how journalists do their jobs. So it’s a good question as to how much firsthand experience Musk has with newsrooms when he’s not the subject of a story. Most people, of course, do not have any experience with newsrooms, but most people are also not making huge claims about the motivations of an entire industry.
Is Musk divining his reasoning from movies about journalism? From friendly media executives? Nope! He’s been in too many newsrooms himself, he says, and they’re a bleak place. Would love to know some specifics about his last visit.
Who do you think *owns* the press? Hello.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2018
Later into Saturday night, Musk comes out with this bizarre rhetorical question. Musk seems to be suggesting that powerful people are the ones who already own the press — though he doesn’t follow up, so that’s merely a guess. There’s a ton of diversity in media ownership — from public shareholders to nonprofit organizations to hedge funds — but, yes, who “owns the press” can be powerful institutions in their own right.
That being said, Musk doesn’t answer the bigger question: Is he pro-journalism or anti-journalism? Does he want to use his profile and fan base to support journalistic institutions that keep powerful people like him in check? Or does he want to tear them down?
Yup, deleted— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2018
This is perhaps the most embarrassing incident for Musk: After days of attacking the media and proposing a new platform for readers to assess an author’s credibility, Musk recommended an article in The Knife that praised his argument.
Seems like your standard attempt to create an echo chamber of support ... until it was pointed out that The Knife is linked to a sex cult called NXIVM. Turns out that assessing a media organization’s trustworthiness isn’t so easy.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.