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Tesla has received plenty of hate from the press and social media. Whether the disdain stems from the EV maker’s supposedly faulty self-driving technology, CEO Elon Musk’s infamous antics, or any number of other reasons, the Tesla hate doesn’t seem likely to die anytime soon. In response to the criticism, Musk has offered an interesting theory as to why he and his company haven’t received more praise from the media.

The EV maker catches plenty of flak

Elon Musk Tesla hate
Elon Musk attends the 2022 Met Gala | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The negative press surrounding Elon Musk and Tesla has been ongoing for quite some time. It even took the form of a 2019 book highlighting the alleged lies of the company and its CEO. Claims in the book, Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, involve the company’s apparently misleading promotion of a battery swap station that was actually using diesel generators to recharge vehicles, as well as the problems with its Autopilot technology. 

Other negative press has involved incidents of Tesla EVs catching fire while driving and charges of racism against Black workers. Then, of course, there are the headlines surrounding Musk himself, which have criticized his right-leaning politics, his bid to purchase Twitter, his space adventures, and much more. 

Elon Musk has a theory about all the Tesla hate

Musk has never been one to ignore the haters, and unsurprisingly, he has a response for all the critics. In a discussion posted on Twitter, he explained that Tesla’s nontraditional advertising methods have left the company vulnerable to negative remarks from the media.

According to Musk’s theory, because Tesla doesn’t use traditional advertising methods, the press doesn’t need to fear losing advertising revenues from the company if they publish something negative about the EV aker. But the same doesn’t hold true for other car companies, which advertise in traditional outlets. 

Tesla’s lack of an advertising budget and refusal to run commercials has thus put the company in a difficult position, Musk’s theory explains.

“Maybe we should advertise because, you know, the sort of traditional media will not run negative pieces about automotive because automotive is like one of the biggest, if not the biggest, advertisers in their paper,” Music opines. “So, Tesla is basically like free game.” 

Why the Tesla hate is misleading

Is Tesla deserving of all the contempt it’s received? In most cases, probably not. The Tesla hate has often been pretty misleading

Take, for example, the concern about Tesla EVs catching fire. Though such incidents have occurred, the truth is that Tesla vehicles are much less likely to ignite than traditional gas-powered cars. So to blame the company for these incidents without noting what’s going on with other manufacturers could be considered problematic. 

Similarly, Tesla’s self-driving capabilities have received a good deal of criticism for supposedly overpromising and underdelivering. But the company makes clear in its materials that the technology has certain limits and that drivers must take the necessary precautions when using it. If drivers fail to use the technology properly, this logic goes, they are the ones responsible for accidents that occur as a result of employing it incorrectly. 

Of course, some people’s disdain for Tesla is based on their dislike of the company’s leader, Elon Musk. Whether they disapprove of his politics or his enormous fortune, these people find they cannot support a company whose profits benefit a man many see as already excessively wealthy and entitled. For those critics, any attempt to demonstrate the more positive side of Tesla and its technology will likely prove fruitless. 


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