Recently, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk subtly attacked media outlets that keep their crucial content behind paywalls. The CEO expressed some of his opinions on Twitter, which were posted as a report’s response. The report contained also some of his comments about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
Not long ago, The Washington Post published a report regarding US regulators playing “mind games” with Musk to get him to act according to the needs of Tesla. Additionally, it mentioned agencies like NHTSA that threatened Tesla, along with comments from Musk about Jeff Bezos. who acquired the Washington Post in 2013. Moreover, it also contained a mention of his criticism of the publication for its paywall.
Subsequently, Musk made the revelation of his comments being editorialised in a post on Twitter. He specified that his actual comment contained the criticism for the Post using paywalls despite having the means to maintain its finances. Musk referred to the publication being owned Amazon founder Bezos who could easily maintain it.
“The Washington Post should [change] its tagline to ‘democracy dies behind [our] paywall.’ If you’re so concerned about democracy, stop forcing people to pay for (allegedly) important news! Your boss Bezos can certainly afford it, even after buying a support yacht for his yacht.” – Elon Musk.
The Tesla CEO again mentioned this point in his later tweet, highlighting the publication’s slogan. He pointed out how its “Democracy Dies in Darkness” slogan is totally negated by it paywall. His remarks led to conversations generating a lot of debate over the validity of his observation. Some of the commenters specified how paywalls aid publications in many ways.
Clearly, this is not the first instance the Tesla CEO has expressed his various sights about media practices. Musk, previously, suggested the creation of such a website where readers could rate “the core truth” of any particular article. This proposal from him, back in 2018, also comprised a suggestion from him about how the public could follow the “credibility score over time” of every journalist, editor and publication.
At that time, this idea from Musk witnessed a wide range of reactions. On one hand, it generated lots of online support from a range of audiences. On the other hand, it also witnessed various articles emerging that presented criticisms for it. However, these audiences are still yet to see the CEO’s idea become a reality despite all its controversies.
The Washington Post’s current slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. Catchy – for sure – but then what’s up with the paywall for news!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 28, 2022