A Tesla Motors, Inc. customer in Europe who mentioned an apparent faulty seat belt in a Model S car triggered unusually heavy coverage in broadcast/print media late last week, noted Grumpy Editor.
The finding, observed by one driver, was repeated during Friday’s hourly radio news, then on evening TV broadcasts, in depth in the next day’s newspapers --- and into the weekend.
The excessive media focus is what causes corporate public relations people to sprout premature gray hairs.
Wide coverage of the single seat belt malfunction was enough to shake up always-nervous investors, sending stock of the Palo Alto, Calif., electric car company down as much as 8.22 points in Friday trading before recovering to close off 1.79 at $220.01 a share.
Tesla said a front seat belt of a car in Europe “was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner” (translation: it involved a bolt not properly assembled), adding “this vehicle was not involved in a crash, there were no injuries and the problem was not found in any other car that was inspected.”
Tesla said it decided to conduct a voluntary recall as a “proactive and precautionary measure” and drivers can book a free vehicle inspection online or by phone.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
PRE-SEASON CLIMATE CHANGE. More than four weeks before winter officially arrives, snow up to 20 inches deep blanketed South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana before heading to Canada over the weekend followed by temperatures dipping to single digits. One wonders if photos of the pre-season storm will circulate at the United Nations climate change conference, widely known as COP21, that starts in Paris next Monday.
PRESIDENT CITES WIDOWS AND ORPHANS. As last week’s Paris terrorist attacks intensified debate over whether the U.S. should allow Syrian refugees to enter the country, coupled with difficulties and the lengthy vetting procedure (that can take 18 to 24 months in normal times) of Syrians and others, President Barack Obama, while visiting in the Philippines, lashed out at Republicans who insist on barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. Despite mostly sturdy young males eyeing the U.S., President Obama declared, "Apparently (the Republicans are) scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America.” Meanwhile, back in Washington at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing following President Obama’s remarks on Syrian refugees, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) responded what he’s “really afraid of is a foreign policy that creates more widows and orphans”…Meanwhile, despite the dwindling number of active U.S. ships, President Obama, while in the Philippines last week, handed over two U.S. ships --- a Coast Guard cutter and a research vessel --- to the Philippine navy.
MEDIA FISTICUFFS. In the ongoing battle between George Will, Washington Post columnist, and Bill O’Reilly, which was triggered over the Fox News host’s best-selling book, “Killing Reagan,” Will, a stickler for facts, remarked, “His is an interesting approach to writing history: Never talk to anyone with first-hand knowledge of your subject”…A Hollywood Reporter magazine cover showing eight actresses, contenders for awards this season, caused controversy in social media --- because all are white. Selected were Charlotte Rampling, Carey Mulligan, Jennifer Lawrence, Jane Fonda, Kate Winslet, Brie Larson, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren. Executive editor Stephen Galloway said the lion's share of responsibility for the lack of women of color falls on the Hollywood studios that create and cast the movies. "The awful truth is that there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year,” Galloway pointed out.
STRANGE WASHINGTON GOP THINKING. Look for the Republican establishment soon to kick off a major anti-Donald Trump campaign rather than using talent and funds to level shots at the opposition party…Reports over the years indicated coffee is good for you, then bad, then good, then bad, etc. The latest? Word from Harvard School of Public Health, Boston: People drinking up to four cups of coffee a day are less likely to die from heart disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes --- or suicide…Condé Nast, which publishes GQ, Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Vogue, Wired, among others, is closing down fashion title Details magazine, founded in 1982, with the December issue.
Keeping the Post Office busy:
Received --- by a non-subscriber --- on the same day via mail: Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, marked “First Issue Enclosed” on the envelope, and The Kiplinger Letter, marked “Last Issue Enclosed” in a separate mailing.