Skip to main content

UPDATE: NYT, John Broder and Tesla Show Mainstream News Media Needs a Make Over

Mainstream news media is not ideal for electric car test driving. The New York Time John Broder goes too far into oblivion.


If you’ve been following the latest electric car gossip, you have heard about the New York Times’ resident John Broder taking a brand new Tesla Motors Model S for a spin on the Eastern corridor. The problem is when you give a new electric car to a regular mainstream news person, trouble will happen. John Broder showed he wasn’t prepared for the trip and should have left the car plugged in the evening before. Plug In America just added that John Broder should not be taken serisously since he has always show an anti-electric car view. "It appears that Mr. Broder was unaware that the car he was driving was reporting, real-time, back to Tesla every step of the way. The picture assembled by the car itself shows that the reporter in question was apparently fully vested in driving the car to exhaustion until he succeeded - and he was in fact stymied by the Tesla's remarkable performance and engineering on a number of steps along the way"

Sensationalist News Headlines. If the news was fair, writers not pressed into headline sensation titles, it might pass off electric cars are maturing, becoming better and can now start to leave the confounds of their city turf. But when a mainstream journalists gets his end on a car he ill-equipped to test, the slightest problems turns to a fiasco. As is the case here, Broder eventually loses all electricity after having driving well over 10 minutes at 85mph, well over what Tesla recommends to maximize your trip distance.

And so John Broder not to be undone continues to trash the Tesla Model S, calling it less than perfect and cannot reach the end. To this, our bright and often time loud Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla responds with equal fervor.

There was a time when the press took time to write, research and back up their findings. Nowadays, you often hear famous journalists asking very bizarre questions at specialized car events, showing they haven’t studied the topic one iota. Does this help news as a whole? It’s impossible when only 3 companies hold all the news reign.

Does this help electric cars? In one sense it does. Bad publicity is always better than none, but what about when it comes on the tail end of an endless stream of negative news? It’s not as crystal clear. In the end, John Broder is probably singing his last song and once again shows mainstream news media’s inability to translate clearly something like driving a new technology car, in the case the Tesla Model S.


Anonymous (not verified)    February 20, 2013 - 10:23AM

What the NYT/Tesla story really means is ACCOUNTABILITY has become more democratic with technology and it can be applied by the "other" side of a story. Writers will have to be more careful in what claims they make in a story. I can think of one reporter who might be assigned field reporting on subterreanean oil leaks in the Gulf with half full scuba tanks or the oil fields of the middle east with a half full tank of gas. Or, he could re drive the Tesla "experiment" in a gas car with the equivalent amount of gasoline refueling! LOL