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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Feb. 15

3. Musk Cries Wolf

While we admire Elon's elan, we do believe Mr. Musk better cool it when it comes to defending his electric cars before he says something really stupid.

Tesla's (TSLA - Get Report) CEO took the New York Times to task this week after one of its reporters slammed the company's Model S sedan, saying it ran out of power sooner than promised during a frigid winter test drive. In the Feb. 8 article, NYT reporter John Broder said his Tesla electric car did not travel as far as expected during his drive from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut, and he ultimately needed to have the vehicle towed to a charging station.

"If this is Tesla's vision of long-distance travel in America's future, I thought, and the solution to what the company calls the 'road-trip problem,' it needs some work," Broder wrote of his less-than-easy ride up the East Coast. Shares of the company's stock fell 4% Monday as a result of the blistering review.

Broder's brutal evaluation caused the Tesla CEO to go ballistic, which would be fine if the issue was Musk's other transportation company, SpaceX. Unfortunately, the Times reporter was talking about Tesla's terrestrial troubles.

"NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour," tweeted Musk, before talking to CNBC, Bloomberg and elsewhere to mount his defense.

Not to be outmuscled by Musk, the Times quickly shot back, saying Broder's account was "completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was 'fake' is, of course, flatly untrue."

Frankly, it's hard not for us to side with the Times in its tussle with Tesla. And not, mind you, because we feel the need to stand up for fellow scribblers. Not in the least.

It's because Musk has been down this messy road before.

In case you were unaware, Musk tried the same bullying tactics last year when the BBC program Top Gear offered a similarly negative view of one of his cars. Musk retaliated by calling Top Gear "completely phony" and sued the BBC for libel and malicious falsehoods.

In the end, an English court dismissed Musk's suit against the Beeb for the silliness that is was. Nevertheless, instead of learning from that experience, the petulant CEO has decided to once again take aim at the messenger rather than fix his car's mileage problems.

"Wow, no surprise that Broder wrote a hit piece on Tesla. I guess we were pretty dumb to agree to an article by this guy," Musk tweeted Monday.

Yes, you were, Elon. And you were even dumber when you took it the extra mile, when neither you, nor your car, were ready to go that far.
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