The continued existence of CNN is surprising, Elon Musk tweeted, after the network said the 1,000 ventilators that the Tesla CEO had promised to California never made it to hospitals. Musk posted evidence to the contrary.
The tech entrepreneur was praised by California Governor Gavin Newsom after Musk pledged in March to deliver life-saving medical equipment to help the state deal with its Covid-19 epidemic. The promised 1,000 ventilators, however, never made it to the hospitals, CNN reported on Thursday, citing the governor’s office.
“The Administration is communicating every day with hospitals across the state about their ventilator supply and, to date, we have not heard of any hospital system that has received a ventilator directly from Tesla or Musk,” an unnamed spokesperson was cited as saying.
Earlier a similar report came from the Sacramento Bee, which waded into the controversy over what exactly were these boxes plastered with Tesla stickers, which Musk had posted on his Twitter account.
What I find most surprising is that CNN still exists
Musk was quick to return fire after the CNN publication, unleashing a barrage of tweets. He wondered how the news network could still exist and called on Governor Newsom to weigh in. Then he proceeded to post a number of email screenshots and public thanks extended to Tesla by hospitals that had received the devices from the company.
CNN responded to the criticism by throwing the governor’s spokesperson under the bus. “Seems like your outrage should, uh, be directed at the entity that made the claim, not the one that reported it,” tweeted Matt Dornic, the network’s Vice President of Communications. “U new to this?”
Musk has suffered a number of publicity flops over the years. The worst example, arguably, was the 2018 operation to rescue children stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand. The entrepreneur started by promising to lend technical expertise to save the kids and ended up calling the British diver who contributed much to the ultimate success of the effort a ‘pedo.’
CNN’s relationship with accurate reporting, however, is far from perfect either, especially with a certain hyper-partisanship gripping the US news cycle since the election of Donald Trump. Just last month the network’s star host Jake Tapper had to admit he didn’t bother with fact-checking a factually inaccurate anti-Trump attack by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).
Governor Newsom’s office has yet to comment on the story.
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