Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk spent hours arguing with journalists after he announced he will start a new site for rating journalists’ credibility.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company. Flickr.

Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, known for his abitious startup companies such as SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and the Boring Company, recently took to twitter to announce his latest company, prompting an immediate backlash from American journalists. The verbal war between Musk and a cohort of mainstream journalists began when Musk posted an article about Tesla that disatissfied him, due to apparent innaccuracies in the article. Musk held up the article as an example, and claimed that the public no longer trusts “holier than thou big media companies.” 

Musk’s tweet brought forth an onslaught of distraught responses from journalists and media personalities, which devolved into the tweet-war continued below.

After Musk tweeted his first criticism of the media, Andrew Hawkings (a reporter for The Verge magazine) accused Musk of “screaming irrationally about fake news” and becoming a “Trump figure.” However, Musk fired back by claiming that “Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like Trump!'”. 

After Hawkins’ decision to get involved, a number of other journalists began criticising Musk’s criticism of them. J.E. Parker, a reporter at the Post & Courier (a local newspaper in Charleston, SC), claimed Musk was simply “blaiming the messenger.” Musk quickly fired back claiming that Parker was “another sanctimonious media person who thinks [they’re] above criticism.”

From there, more and more reporters began getting involved, each earning rebukes and criticisms of their work by Musk. After a few additional exchanges, Musk announced that he intends to start a new website dedicated to ranking the credibility of journalists and media companies, called ‘Pravda’.

Mark Harris, a writer for The Economist, quickly pointed out to Twitter users that Musk’s agent had previously filed to start a business in California called “Pravda Corp,” presumably confirming that Musk is serious about this endeavor. 

“Pravda” is a reference to a famous propaganda newspaper in Soviet Russia, at one time the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was famous for producing misinformation and anti-Western propaganda. Musk claimed the name is a satirical joke, meant to compare big media journalists to the Cold War Soviet propaganda machine. 

Once Musk had made public his intention to start Pravda, even more journalists started respoding to Musk’s tweets with criticisms. Jessica Huseman, a reporter at ProPublica, responded to Musk claiming that her investigative journalism website ‘Reveal’ doesn’t suffer from the problems musk outlined. Huseman further accused Musk of being ignorant “of the journalistic process.” Musk quickly fired back, claiming that Huseman and her colleagues are “just some rich kids in Berkeley who took their political science prof too seriously.”

Adam Roy, a senior editor at Backpacker Magazine, jumped into the tweet war, claiming that journalists and editors won’t care about the rankings Pravda will provide. Musk quickly retorted that Roy does indeed seem to care, since he took the time to tweet about Pravda. 

Continuing his tweet war, Musk began to expand on his frustrations, and ask why journalists would be scared of a credibility ranking website in the first place. Musk’s assertion is that, if a journalist is indeed credible, they should presumably have no problem with the public ranking the credibility of their work. 

Retiring for the night, Musk quickly returned to twitter the following day to continue his rebuke of journalists opposed to the Pravda idea, and to respond to what he claims are false narratives about his companies being distributed by media personalities. Some journalists began accusing Musk of attempting to stifle differing opinions, or ones critical of his companies. Sharon Weinberger, the executive editor of Foreign Policy Magazine accused Musk of attempting to silence reporters in the past as well. Weinberger claimed that during a press tour of SpaceX’s facilities, Musk’s team required that any articles be approved by Musk before going out to publication. Musk quickly responded that his team requested to review all articles in order to ensure that no classified information was published, since SpaceX regularly works with classified US Military technology. 

Amy Westervelt, a contributer for multiple national newspapers, quickly jumped into the conversation to state that during a press tour of a Tesla factory, all reporters were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, claiming that this is indicative of “Musk’s misunderstanding of press & desire to control his image.” Musk responded, explaining that the agreements were distributed because Tesla’s battery technology is propietary, and cannot be leaked to the public without permission. 

Ryan Broderick, a deputy director at Buzzfeed News, attempted to poke fun at Musk’s plans by jokingly asking if Musk was trolling his followers with his tweets. Musk responded that he is completely serious about the endeavor, and expressing amazement at the “indignation” shown by journalists before the website even launched. 

Talia Lavin, who works for the New Yorker, claimed that Musk’s interest in starting this company only comes as a result of a series of negative press about the Tesla car company. In the previous week, Tesla has been criticised for allegedly unsafe conditions in the production factories, and for running advertisements on their digital assistant. However, Musk asserts that both of these accusations are false, and that Tesla factories’ safety levels are “higher than industry average.” 

Musk finished his tweet storm the following day by poking fun at what he believes are erronious safety claims regarding Tesla factories’ safety. Posting a photo of a man perched in a precarious position, Musk jokingly said he can’t believe “this schematic of the tesla production system leaked.”

Many took to twitter to defend and support Musk’s positions. Right-wing twitter has long complained about dishonesty, bias, and misinformation in the media. Many claim that the mainstream media is largely population by left-wing ideologues attempting to promote their ideology and narratives rather than produce factual coverage of the news. As such, many of these individuals took to retweeting and endorsing Musk’s tirade against journalists, and his intent to start the Pravda website. Others believed Musk’s intention is to stifle dissenting opinion, and took the side of the journalists tweeting back at Musk. 

At the time of this story’s publication,, the official website for Musk’s new venture, is under maintenance. It announces that “something exciting is coming.”