Distort, mislead, lie? The buzzer is for you.
Having given may press interviews I can tell you that reporters always WANT to get the story right, but never do. They just can't get deep enough into the technology to fully understand what they are writing about and there are always subtleties about the situation that are either glossed over or at the least not fully fleshed out. So I know that every news story I read is wrong, I just don't know why.
In this case, I believe the NYT way more than Musk. There is no NYT master plan to extract massive readership out of this. There is however, a master plan for Musk to sell lots of cars, and this is a big problem for him. Or maybe not - any publicity is good publicity, especially when the Musk/electric car fanboys rush to call the NYT guy a liar, a tool for big oil (that's rich!), and other insults.