Accuracy in Media

In a new piece, Mashable doesn’t notice the difference between “solving world hunger” and “alleviating world hunger.”

This is something Elon Musk does, which is also the $6 billion question.

The background is that the Director of the World Food Program (a U.N. organization) claimed that just 2% of Musk’s wealth could solve world hunger. At which point Musk tweeted that if they could make that plan stand up then he’d sell Tesla stock and do it:

“If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”

 Musk did have a number of options maturing, he was going to be making some movements in his holdings, so why not, right?

 It took a bit of time but we now have the response as Mashable says:

 “$6B will not solve world hunger, but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation.”

 This is something we can all agree is very different. It does not solve global hunger, rather, it alleviates it for this year and this year only. 

Whether both things are desirable isn’t the issue. It’s that they are different things. And yet Mashable is implying pretty strongly that Musk is reneging upon his promise “ Now, the U.N. World Food Program has called his bluff. “ and “It’s time for him to put his money where 42 million hungry mouths are.”

Mashable gains near 10 million visits a month, it’s a major news source for millennials, near half the audience is in the United States. 

Readers deserve better than this sort of perversion of logic. A request from an international bureaucracy for some help with this year’s budget is not the same as “solving world hunger” and to claim they are the same thing is nonsense.

Which was, of course, part of Musk’s original point. If it’s that cheap to solve the whole problem once and for all then what did the WFP do with the $8 billion it had last year?

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