Under attack from blogger, Tesla mistakenly strikes back

And a bunch of Tweets mean a bunch more questions.

In response to a Daily Kanban article that put together posts from the Tesla Motors Club into a story about rusting suspension arms and what Tesla did (or perhaps did not do), Tesla Motors has not taken the high road. Instead, it's taken the a road its traveled down before, but this time with a churlish attitude. The much-watched automaker calls writer Edward Niedermeyer a "gentle soul" and then wonders aloud if his article was simply meant to mess with Tesla's stock price:

Finally, it is worth noting that the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled "Tesla Death Watch," which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Tesla's death. It has now been 2,944 days. We just checked our pulse and, much to his chagrin, appear to be alive. It is probably wise to take Mr. Niedermayer's words with at least a small grain of salt.

We don't know if Mr. Niedermayer's motivation is simply to set a world record for axe-grinding or whether he or his associates have something financial to gain by negatively affecting Tesla's stock price, but it is important to highlight that there are several billion dollars in short sale bets against Tesla. This means that there is a strong financial incentive to greatly amplify minor issues and to create false issues from whole cloth.

This is not the first time that Tesla has questioned a reporter for saying something negative about the automaker or its products. Back in 2013, remember, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a review of the Model S in The New York Times was "fake." The Times eventually admitted that the writer did not use his best judgement. And in 2011, Tesla sued Top Gear for staging a scene where a Model S ran out of energy. The case was eventually dismissed. The company also sometimes releases vehicle data to contradict things that drivers say, but in the Niedermeyer instance, the company made the mistake of going for an ad hominen attack instead. This bit of childishness leads Niedermeyer to be childish in response.

Niedermeyer has been sending out a lot of Tweets taking Tesla to task for getting things wrong. Like these: Niedermeyer also Tweeted that he, does not "play the market long or short or professionally advise anyone who does." Of course, Tesla never actually, technically said that Niedermeyer did (or that he started the Tesla Death Watch). It just wondered aloud if he did (and that he was involved with the TDW). Which brings us again the question of tone. Other outlets are saying that with this response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is channeling "his inner Trump." Business Insider said that, "accusing those critical of your business or accounting practices of merely being in it for the money is to miss the point of their exercise and invite further scrutiny." Which is obviously true. This is not the last we'll hear about this.

You can read Tesla's full statement here or here and the original Daily Kanban article here.

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