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NYT Editor Addresses Tesla Model S Dispute

She said Broder didn’t fake the story, but could have been more responsible

The New York Times has been battling with Tesla’s Elon Musk ever since the news outlet published its article about a Model S test drive experience gone wrong. After going back and forth with Tesla’s CEO, NYT has invited another one of its journalists into the controversy for a final word on the topic (hopefully).

Margaret Sullivan, NYT’s public editor, posted in the NYT’s Opinion Pages yesterday about her perspective of the Model S trip. She attempted to be unbiased as possible, pointing out the faults of both John Broder — the NYT journalist who embarked on the Model S road trip and wrote that the car failed him in terms of range — and Tesla, the automaker responsible for the Model S.

Sullivan said that Broder definitely should have paid more attention to the vehicle’s manual and been more responsible in certain situations (such as charging for longer periods of time or charging overnight) during the trip. However, she notes that Tesla could have also made it clear that all charging maximization strategies should have been used along the way, since the 200 miles between each Supercharging station on the east coast would definitely push the vehicle to its limits (especially without proper charging).

Sullivan even quoted one NYT reader, which is a Model S driver himself who took the time to write in about his opinion of the trip. The reader is Roger Wilson of Falls Church, Virginia, and he summed up the story like this: Broder was irresponsible in making sure that he knew about all the range maximizing techniques (which, there are a few), and he may have purposefully been a little irresponsible in order to make his article seem more interesting — however, Broder didn’t “fake” the story, and Tesla made no effort to tell Broder that he should use these different techniques along the way.


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