The key decision the reporter made, and that NYT ombudsman acknowledges was bad judgment, was to quit charging early in Norwich without being given the go ahead by Tesla.
The reporter changed his wording on that between the original article and his later rebuttal. He originally said Tesla told him it was okay to unplug and go. Later he reworded that they'd told him it should be okay to charge for an hour and go. He then charged for less than an hour, saw it hadn't given as much fuel as he needed, and unplugged early anyway and without checking with them.
As the NYT ombudsman quote, the journo hadn't even bothered to follow the owner's manual. His behavior was disingenuous at best, even if not pro-oil link baiting at worst.