What exactly is Elon Musk’s problem?

Consumer Reports isn’t exactly the embodiment of the liberal media, but Elon Musk, the brain behind Tesla, is adopting the Donald Trump method of responding to journalists doing their job.

The publication chose not to recommend Tesla’s Model 3, the company’s first attempt at a car for the mass market, because it had concerns uncovered during its testing.

Specifically, according to CR:

*The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup.

*Another major factor that compromised the Model 3’s road-test score was its controls. This car places almost all its controls and displays on a center touch screen, with no gauges on the dash, and few buttons inside the car.

This layout forces drivers to take multiple steps to accomplish simple tasks. Our testers found that everything from adjusting the mirrors to changing the direction of the airflow from the air-conditioning vents required using the touch screen.

* The Model 3’s stiff ride, unsupportive rear seat and excessive wind noise at highway speeds also hurt its road-test score. In the compact luxury sedan class, most competitors deliver a more comfortable ride and rear seat.

And so on and so forth in rather typical Consumer Reports fashion. It didn’t like the car. Your mileage may vary.

Musk as much as acknowledged the braking issue because the company is pushing out updates to its cars this week to fix it.

So how to explain this barrage?

Musk piggybacked on a tweet by a Fred Lambert, who runs a website with news about the electric auto industry, whose latest story on the Model 3 merely relayed Tesla’s specifications for the car. No testing.

Is that more along the line of journalism that Musk is going for?

It’s impossible to say. Musk isn’t making himself available to comment and is using Twitter instead, as he did earlier this week after the San Jose Mercury News ran a story on a federal labor complaint that his firm is engaged in union busting.

“The forces at work here — psychological, political, sociological, institutional — are subtle and incalculable,” Tech Crunch‘s Devin Coldewey writes today.

The origins of this faith, and of the idea that there is somehow a quorum of truth-seekers in this age of deception, are unclear.

Facebook’s attempts to crowdsource the legitimacy of news stories has had mixed results, and the predictable outcome is of course that people simply report news they disagree with as false. Independent adjudicators are needed, and Facebook has fired and hired them by the hundred, yet to arrive at some system that produces results worth talking about.

Fact-checking sites perform an invaluable service, but they are labor-intensive, not a self-regulating system like what Musk proposes. Such systems are inevitably and notoriously ruled by chaos, vote brigades, bots, infiltrators, agents provocateur, and so on.

“It’s hard to explain how dumb this is,” he concludes.