The Atlantic

The Problem with Popular Mechanics’ Love Letter to Elon Musk

The magazine’s editor acknowledged the cover story is a “puff piece,” but stood by his decision to defend the billionaire in dramatic fashion.
Source: Chris Carlson / AP

On Tuesday, Popular Mechanics magazine put the cover story of its November issue online: A collection of essays titled “In Defense of Elon Musk,” authored by a mix of staff journalists and technology-industry professionals. “The Tesla and SpaceX maestro is under attack for bad tweets, production woes, and strange behavior,” the introduction said. “But we need people who take risks. We need people who try.”

The collection with the audience and fans of Elon Musk, which is no surprise: Since 1902, has covered, in print and then online, automotive, science, and technology news, and Musk and his many enterprises—Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity—fit squarely in the magazine’s territory. For Muskovites, the collection was a welcome and well-deserved respite from recent news coverage that focused not on car specs or rocket launches, but, on factory floors, and with timely car production and delivery.

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