A one-time journalist’s Tesla rumination is ill-informed and remarkably funny

Once, reporting was not considered a respectable profession, for newsmen were viewed as parasites. (Think: 1940’s His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.) Courageous reporting during WWII elevated newsmen’s standing. By the 1950s, “journalism” was a profession with “standards” of “objectivity.” Respected anchors spoke to Americans who naively believed that men like Walter Cronkite were informed, intelligent, and non-partisan. Today’s media have benefitted from those decades of goodwill, but a retired magazine editor’s recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, about his embarrassment over owning a Tesla, shows how far the American media have fallen.

At the L.A. Times, John Blumenthal, a “former magazine editor,” has written an unintentionally funny, ill-informed, politically-correct, ludicrously pretentious op-ed entitled “I bought a Tesla to help the environment. Now, I’m embarrassed to drive it.” It is the quintessential product of a modern media figure.

Blumenthal opens by identifying himself as a climate changista: “For years, I had been outspoken about the dangers of carbon emissions.” Yes, this thought leader believes in an ideology driven by a combination of one-dimensional computer models, decades of failed predictions, and socialism.  But to his shame, Blumenthal is a hypocrite still driving “an old gas-powered heap….”

To offset this weak, capitalist sentimentality, Blumenthal engaged in other forms of virtue-signaling: “assiduous urban composting, LED bulb installations and energy-saving appliances.” Still, his friends were unimpressed because he was destroying the environment. Oh, the shame!

Image: Tesla badge on a car by Ivan Radic. CC BY 2.0.

Eventually, even Blumenthal choked on his hypocrisy, so he invested in a used Tesla. Why? Because “[m]any insisted that Teslas were the best for the environment.” Had Blumenthal done a little journalistic research on his own, he might have discovered that all that a Tesla does is displace pollution, so it no longer comes out of the tailpipe.

The batteries in Teslas (and in all those electric cars greenies are demanding, sometimes by statutory fiat) are made under filthy and despicable circumstances. The necessary cobalt for batteries comes from primarily Chinese-owned mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where workers, often children, are virtual slaves, and the environmental pollution is staggering.

There’s also that whole electricity issue. Where in the world does an “educated” journalist like Blumenthal think electricity comes from? The Electricity Fairy? Zeus and his lightning bolts? Nooo. It comes from electric plants that usually burn either coal, oil, or natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels.

Then there’s the local pollution from manufacturing Teslas. As with any other car, manufacturing is a dirty job, and Tesla was tagged for myriad pollution violations.

I greatly admire Musk’s commitment to free speech and his efforts to expose how the government and social media companies have conspired in an unconstitutional, dishonest, and partisan way to stifle the free flow of information in America. I also appreciate, as Blumenthal does, that the Tesla is a remarkably lovely piece of engineering from the driver’s perspective.

But let’s be clear: Tesla buyers are deluded, incurious people who think they’re earning points to get into green heaven when they buy one. They are the modern equivalent of the faithful who purchased indulgences from corrupt medieval friars.

But back to Blumenthal. Having bought his green Tesla indulgence, Blumenthal cannot live with the knowledge that, hiding behind Elon Musk’s progressive climate chops lies a free-speech absolutist. You’d think a journalist would applaud, but not our John:

Because of the recent revelation of Elon Musk’s political views — all of which I abhor — I’m starting to worry about what sort of political statement the car is making. Will people see me as a symbol of right-wing environmentalism, a living oxymoron?


Now that Musk has apparently swung to the far right — banning journalists from Twitter while reinstating neo-Nazis — I’m horrified to be associated with his brand whenever I drive anywhere.

There follows a maddened diatribe against Musk’s free speech commitment, a commitment tempered only by a refusal to allow the site to be used to threaten people’s safety with real-time doxing (which journalists did to Musk and his family). As for those Neo-Nazis, one is Jewish, and another one, although an avowed Nazi, still has some constitutional rights (something the ACLU once recognized).

Despite owning a used Tesla (so no money directly into Musk’s pockets), Blumenthal is engaging in the pleasurable activity of leftist, narcissistic mental masturbation: “Given Musk’s political descent into the dark side, I wonder whether I should sell my Tesla as a form of protest.”

Here’s some advice, John: If you’re not walking, you’re participating in the fossil fuel economy. And by the way, so is your house, including every item in it, right down to the food. I recommend turning off your fossil-fuel-created and burning computer, giving everything you own to charity, and making like one of those early Christian ascetics who lived in a cave or a tree. Then, you can really feel good about yourself—and eventually self-compost.

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