In a Twitter rant, Elon Musk vows to create a news credibility rating site called ‘Pravda’ — here’s how that’s connected to Russia
Pravda is the name of a Russian newspaper that served as the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which in later decades the mouthpiece for Vladimir Lenin and then Joseph Stalin
By Leanna Garfield
Elon Musk is apparently hoping to take a page out of the Soviet playbook.
It all started when the Tesla and SpaceX CEO criticised the media in a series of tweets.
The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them https://t.co/Ay2DwCOMkr
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Several minutes later, Musk followed up by tweeting that he plans to start a site that would rate the credibility of news organisations. He wrote that he would consider calling the site “Pravda,” a word that means “truth” in Russian.
Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
“Pravda” references the Russian newspaper of the same name, which launched in Moscow in the early 20th century and published daily. It still exists today, but has a much lower circulation and comes out three times per week. The paper is now run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the country’s modern Communist party.
From 1918 to 1991, the original Pravda served as the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. When Vladimir Lenin and (later) Joseph Stalin ruled Russia, the paper was used to spread their ideas as propaganda.
During the Soviet era, Pravda was distributed nationwide. Featuring articles on Communist theory and programmes, it attempted to avoid sensational news.
There’s also the Pravda Report, another publication with a similar name that English speakers may be more familiar with. Existing solely as an online site at Pravda.ru, it covers both straightforward news (often with a Russian nationalist slant) as well as conspiracy theories. A few headlines in the past decade have included “AIDS: 21st Century’s Biggest Hoax” and “Aliens forced Americans out from the Moon.” Unlike today’s Pravda, the Pravda Report has an English-language site and is not connected to the Communist party.
This is not the first time Musk has railed against the media. Earlier this week on Twitter, he also criticised journalists from Reveal, the non-profit investigative news organisation that ran a story claiming Tesla didn’t report several factory injuries. Tesla workers have also accused Musk of shutting down efforts to unionise, and BuzzFeed recently leaked emails that show Musk slamming their organised labour effort.
On Twitter, a number of journalists and other commenters have compared Musk’s latest tweets to those of President Donald Trump, who frequently criticises the media for stories he perceives as negative.
The Verge reporter Andrew J. Hawkins, for example, called Musk a “media-baiting Trump figure” on Wednesday.
Musk replied: “Thought you’d say that. Anytime anyone criticises the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like Trump!’ Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more. You lost your credibility a long time ago.’”
Musk might be serious about launching his own “Pravda.” As freelance reporter Mark Harris pointed out on Twitter, documents from California’s Secretary of State show that one of Musk’s agents incorporated Pravda Corp in October 2017.
Elon Musk will build a test tunnel for his high-speed Loop system in LA
Americans expect self-driving cars to become the norm in 10 years
The real reason we get freaked out by self-driving car accidents