Tesla Flack Bitches About 'Silicon Valley Gossip Blog'

Tesla Motors, once Silicon Valley's hottest electric-car startup, has a host of real problems, like a shortage of cash and a paranoid CEO. How is its top flack spending her time? Taking "umbrage" with bloggers!

After Australian communications consultant Lee Hopkins picked up a Valleywag story about Tesla CEO Elon Musk's elaborate efforts to find leakers inside his company using tell-tale emails, Rachel Konrad, a former reporter for CNET, the AP, and the Detroit Free Press, sent Hopkins a message he characterized as a "snottogram." (Brutal honesty: just another reason we love Australians.) Here's Konrad's email:

Hi, Lee. I'm not sure how much you know about the various publications that you link to, but I really do need to take umbrage with your recent blog post about Tesla Motors citing a Silicon Valley gossip blog. If you want to discuss the company's ethnics, communication and transparency, I am happy to do so — and I am also eager to provide you with examples of real customers who trust the company and its products every day so you don't have to rely on speculation and rumors.

In fact, the first Tesla Roadster has just made its way to Australia:

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25137276-3102,00.html

And I am happy to put you in touch with the Australian owner if you want to talk to someone who has first-hand experience with Tesla.

You are an influential blogger and I would be happy to establish a relationship with you if you are going to write about Tesla again. Please reach out to me, particularly if you plan to write a hit piece on the company, so I can give you facts and hard data on which to base your (and your readers') opinions of the company.

Thanks.

Rachel Konrad
Senior Communications Manager
Tesla Motors, Inc.

It's not clear why Konrad wanted to discuss the company's "ethnics" with Hopkins. She can't possibly have meant "ethics." After all, Konrad's former boss, Tesla executive Darryl Siry, quit because he feared the company was committing fraud by planning to take deposits for its Model S sedan before it had a factory site or financing for the launch.

Hopkins replied to Konrad's email asking a series of tough questions about Tesla's troubled business. He received no reply. So much for "communication."

And finally, what about Tesla's "transparency"? Konrad, formerly a distinguished journalist, seems to have adapted well to her new profession of PR. Not once in her email to Hopkins did she address Valleywag's reporting of Musk's digital witch hunt, though she seems to imply it is false. Konrad has not yet replied to an email asking if she really meant to deny the story. Right now, that's the only thing transparent about her.