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Elon Musk accuses journalist of taking bribes from short seller

by Justin King

The executive has singled out a Business Insider journalist and allegedly misleading reports from Reuters.

Elon Musk has stepped up his war against alleged false news stories about Tesla, accusing several media outlets of participating in a misinformation conspiracy orchestrated by short sellers.

The executive suggests Business Insider's senior finance correspondent, Linette Lopez, may be involved in a shady scheme as an "inside trading source" for Jim Chanos, one of Tesla's most vocal short sellers. Her byline is found on several alleged "false articles" about Tesla, including a recent story apparently sourced from a former Tesla worker, Martin Tripp, who is now a defendant in a trade-secrets lawsuit.

"An ex-Tesla employee just went on record formally claiming you bribed him & he sent you valuable Tesla IP in exchange," Musk said in a Twitter post directed at Lopez. "Is this true?"

Indeed, very simple question. To be specific: @lopezlinette, did you compensate or promise to compensate Martin Tripp for inside information about Tesla? Did he, under that inducement, provide you with exaggerated negative info, which you printed, but turned out to be untrue?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2018

Notably, Business Insider was co-founded by Henry Blodgett, a disgraced analyst who was banned for life from Wall Street and fined millions of dollars for securities fraud.

Musk had a few more words for Reuters, describing the outlet as "relentlessly negative about Tesla" and responsible for a recent "bogus article" that claimed Model S production last week was low by 800 cars as the company ramped up Model 3 production.

The executive also called out CNBC for hosting analysts with "low ratings & extremely bad prediction records."

Strange. @cnbc, is it true that you are putting on analysts with such low ratings & extremely bad prediction records? Are your viewers informed about an analyst's track record before hearing their opinion.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2018

Tesla was recently granted permission to pursue subpoenas for data from Facebook, Apple, Google and other tech companies that may hold information detailing which media outlets or other entities may have received proprietary data from Tripp.