Elon Musk Questions Journalistic Integrity of Those Who Report Negative News

'Any journalist [who wrote these articles] should be ashamed of themselves for lacking journalistic integrity,' Musk said.

Kristoffer Tripplaar/ Sipa USA via AP Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk pulled no punches on Wednesday's third-quarter earnings call. He finds the reporting of some media outlets about Tesla's recent firings in connection with performance reviews "ridiculous," according to Mashable. "Any journalist [who wrote these articles] should be ashamed of themselves for lacking journalistic integrity," Musk said. 

For a previous story The Drive spoke with a company representative on the matter.

"Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period," explained a brand spokesperson. "This includes both constructive feedback and recognition of top performers with additional compensation and equity awards, as well as promotions in many cases. As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world."

Musk echoed these comments, saying that Tesla needs to have higher standards for its employees than traditional automakers or it will "die." Contrary to much of the coverage, only 300 employees, 2 percent of the company's workforce, were eliminated due to performance standards. The number or reportedly fired employees has varied from "about 400," as reported by Reuters, to 700, as reported by Fortune and Business Insider

The Drive did not report a specific number of people fired, only that firings had occurred. Two days later, we published a report on allegations of poor treatment of African American factory workers. As before, we contacted Tesla for comment and were provided an extensive statement on Tesla's position on the matter, which we summarized within the article.

At a time when accusations of "fake news" can put any report's reliability into question, whether it is actually true or not, it is somewhat disturbing that Tesla would make a similar statement about the automotive press. For our part, we will report the story, but will also report Tesla's perspective on the matter. We have also received no complaints about positive coverage, such as Tesla's assistance with rebuilding Puerto Rico's power grid in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Tesla's third-quarter losses were reportedly worse than expected, based on analysts expectations from Thomson Reuters, CNBC reports. While its revenue beat expectations of $2.98 billion vs. $2.95 billion expected according to Thomson Reuters, the company ultimately lost more per share of the company's stock than expected. It reported a loss of $2.92 vs. $2.29 expected according to Thomson Reuters. 

We will cover this more in depth, and give Tesla an opportunity to comment on this as well.