Trending: Expedia CEO and CFO resign in surprise shakeup, as Barry Diller asserts control over travel giant
Elon Musk
Elon Musk muses at SpaceX’s Mission Control. (SpaceX Photo)

Elon Musk’s Tesla electric-car and power company has been getting some bad press lately, and today the tech billionaire pushed back with a tweetstorm criticizing “the holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies” and laying out a plan for a crowdsourced media credibility rating site.

The fast-moving discussion suggests Musk is adding yet another venture to his smorgasbord, in addition to Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring Company, the Neuralink brain-computer interface company, flamethrowers, tequila, candy and his campaign to fend off an AI apocalypse.

Musk and other Tesla executives will also have to fend off an investor challenge at the company’s June 5 meeting, focused on questions relating to Tesla’s Autopilot sem-autonomous driving system as well as to the slower-than-expected ramp-up of Tesla Model 3 electric car production.

The news reports about such questions have caused Musk to gripe in the past, and the issue came to a head today when he retweeted an analyst’s assessment that the criticism was “increasingly immaterial” and that Tesla’s shares “could appreciate significantly with execution.”

Here’s how the tangled thread unwound on Twitter:

The California corporate information form says Pravda Corp.’s president is Jared Birchall, who happens to be Neuralink’s president as well.

If Musk does go with Pravda, that’d set an unfortunate precedent: Few veterans of the Cold War will forget that Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Communist Party between 1918 and the Soviet breakup in 1991.

“Pravda” is also the Russian word for “truth,” which was an ironic name even for the Soviets. A famous phrase played off the lack of truth in official papers such as Pravda and Izvestia (which means “news” in Russian): “There is no news in Pravda, and no truth in Izvestia.”

After the Soviet breakup, the publication’s online presence devolved into a notorious clickbait factory.

It’s great that Musk is interested in supporting reality checks amid the “fake news” crisis, but crowdsourcing may not be the best way to do it. Supporting the independent organizations that already exist, including Snopes and Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, would be a better way to go.

For more about countering the ills of the information business, check out this discussion from last year’s GeekWire Summit:

Update for 6:50 p.m. PT May 23: Musk is still tweeting about the media-watchdog idea. He says calling it Pravda was just a joke, despite the corporate filings. “I thought it was so obvious,” he tweeted. Here are some more chirps:

Subscribe to GeekWire's Space & Science weekly newsletter


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.