Auto critic quits due to his Chrysler 200 review alteration

Silverstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
1,246
Location
Marion, Iowa
Car(s)
'11 Impreza STI Sedan
Well well...as we all would suspect from a hyped up commercial. Someone calls the car out on it's flaws and gets silenced.

Scott Burgess resigned today as The Detroit News auto critic after his editors bowed to a request by an advertiser to water down his negative review of the Chrysler 200. This is why we can't have nice reviews anymore.

http://jalopnik.com/#!5782691/how-the-detroit-news-sold-its-soul

Thought this was interesting enough to make it over to FG :mrgreen:
 
Last edited:

maxtortheone

Chicken Fiddler
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
11,890
Location
Bucharest, Romania
Car(s)
2006 Renault Clio 1.4 16V
What if he didn't resign? What would they do then?
 

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
Actually, if you read the Jalopnik pieces, the story seems to be that he quit over the editing performed after he finished the article and not because the article was critical in the first place. The as-published-online edited version is still pretty damning of the 200.

What's the bigger story here is that the Detroit News agreed to edit the online article after an advertiser complained; I'd quit too if my paper sold out its journalistic ethics for thirty pieces of silver, especially if they made me look bad in the process. Which the Detroit News did.

Considering that the unedited version ran in the print edition first, how dumb is the Free Press to think that editing the online version was going to pass unnoticed or uncommented on when the evidence of their perfidy is so easy to obtain?
 
Last edited:

AiR

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
11,985
Location
Suecia
Car(s)
Bulgogi Knedliky 1.6 GDI (Hyundai i30)
See there, some advantages to being in a Socialist country.

I remember our old motoring programme Trafikmagasinet was bought and dubbed over by american TV because they themselves could not do honest reviews of cars due to advertisers influence. They together with a auto magazine rolled a tiny Mercedes in a elk test a few years ago, resulting in that Mercedes being equipped with a strange device called ESP.
 
Last edited:

Silverstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
1,246
Location
Marion, Iowa
Car(s)
'11 Impreza STI Sedan
Edited title due to the morning hangover/not looking properly :D

I wonder, I work in broadcasting/news...there had to be something that brewed under the table for him to just up and leave. Unless he is in high regard enough to jump on another print ASAP.
 
Last edited:

maxtortheone

Chicken Fiddler
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
11,890
Location
Bucharest, Romania
Car(s)
2006 Renault Clio 1.4 16V
What's the bigger story here is that the Detroit Free Press agreed to edit the online article after an advertiser complained;

Maybe they got influenced?

This is why we can't have nice reviews anymore.

Well, isn't the problem the fact that we mostly get positive reviews? For example, compare MacGuffin's experience with the new XJ to press reviews.
 
Last edited:

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
I remember our old motoring programme Trafikmagasinet was bought and dubbed over by american TV because they themselves could not do honest reviews of cars due to advertisers influence.

We have a car review/testing show on PBS called MotorWeek. There are no advertisers and no car makers sponsor it.

They still have met few cars they didn't like. So it's not just advertiser influence.

Maybe they got influenced?

In an era where the car company in question is owned by the US Government, anything is possible.

Well, isn't the problem the fact that we mostly get positive reviews? For example, compare MacGuffin's experience with the new XJ with press reviews.

Yes and no. See my additions above first.
 
Last edited:

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
The online version is actually restored to the original now...

The edits won't go down the memory hole like the DN hopes; Jalopnik saved a copy of it, edits and all.

It was pretty interesting to read and contrast the statements of the two representatives of the paper - initially, some stupid b**ch (one Sue Carney) was defending it:

"We made several changes to the online version of Scott's review because we were uncomfortable with some of the language in the original. it should have been addressed during the editing process but wasn't. While it was too late to edit the print version, we were able to make changes online. The changes did not fundamentally change the thrust of Scott's piece.

A car dealer raised a complaint and we took a look at the review, as we would do whenever a reader raises a flag. The changes were made to address the journalism of the piece, not the angst of a car dealer. We left the print version alone, but the the online environment offered the flexibility to rework language that should have been caught in the editing process."

Later someone higher in the food chain (the publisher, Jonathan Wolman) owned up to the stupidity:

Our intent was to make an editing improvement and we obviously handled it poorly. We should have let the online version of his review stand as written, as we did the print version.

If the DN wants to get some of its shattered credibility back, they need to fire Ms. Carney and any of her acolytes as soon as possible. And they wonder why fewer and fewer people read newspapers these days...
 
Last edited:

Topgearfanatic

is a Queen
Joined
Jul 3, 2008
Messages
6,353
Location
MA
Car(s)
2002 Audi A4 1.8t
Why does that name, Sue Carney, sound so familiar? Like really familiar. I'll have to investigate that.

/off-topic self wtf-ry

I find it hilarious how they changed the online version, thinking no one would notice; I mean no one would possibly read the print version, find the review interesting and then want to find the online version to show a friend or because they don't have the print at hand but they do have internet.

On another note, why do so many companies have problems with critics? What they do is quite clear in their job title, they are critical. When somebody does reviews that are completely glowing, they aren't being critical, they are being a kiss ass; product development needs critical reviews so they can improve the product, Success is built on the lessons learnt from failure.
 

rickhamilton620

has a fetish for terrible cars
DONOR
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
16,938
Location
Yoe, PA
Car(s)
2012 Kia Forte EX
If Chrysler complained then shame on them. Period. If the car's shit in his opinion then oh well, you take the faults he's written...investigate your own cars...and learn from them. Not complain. That comes across as weak and makes you look bad and undoes all the goodwill you garnered.

If some other advertiser complained (who else would???? Ford?! :p) then ...well i have no arguments that would make sense...after all WHO else would complain?

Scott Burgess did the right thing, resigning instead of continuing to work for a paper willing to bend things to appease advertisers. It's certainly not unheard of...It's why Harry McCracken left PC World magazine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_McCracken#Controversy

The Newspaper should have known that people would call them out on this.....it's not the age of horse and buggies or dial up internet...we literally have information at our fingertips.
This just shows how tech behind mainstream media is, they just don't "get it."
 
Last edited:

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
Money makes the world go around, no big news there.
I support the journalist who quit, fuck them, some things like truth and honesty should be more important
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
"We made several changes to the online version of Scott's review because we were uncomfortable with some of the language in the original. it should have been addressed during the editing process but wasn't. While it was too late to edit the print version, we were able to make changes online. The changes did not fundamentally change the thrust of Scott's piece.

A car dealer raised a complaint and we took a look at the review, as we would do whenever a reader raises a flag. The changes were made to address the journalism of the piece, not the angst of a car dealer. We left the print version alone, but the the online environment offered the flexibility to rework language that should have been caught in the editing process."

I have to agree with the official statement by the newspaper. After all I studied journalism, and I agree that the original article is flawed and is even bordering on being libelous.

Sadly, they should have done the edit before it ever printed. Just editing the online version was a goof which Jalopnik picked on.

The original article is awkward and doesn't belong to a credible newspaper. A review is meant to be objective, and opinions have to be held in check. The comparisons made in the article were poorly chosen and completely subjective. Jeremy Clarkson gets away with this sort of thing because readers take his words with a grain of salt, realizing that he is trying to be funny. Most real journalists don't have such liberties.
 

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
The original article is awkward and doesn't belong to a credible newspaper. A review is meant to be objective, and opinions have to be held in check.

1. Not looked at what passes for modern real-world journalism lately, have we? :p
2. Reviews are both objective and subjective. Opinions belong in them.
3. Nobody said he was a good writer. In fact, he's pretty sub-par. The intellectual dishonesty of the newspaper, however, is breathtaking.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
That's the current trend in journalism, but who is to say that it is the right one?

Using simile (comparing it to a dog or a turtle) is uncalled for and completely subjective. You can comment on a car's features and performance and say that they are bad, but comparing them to animals doesn't get you anywhere.
 

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
That's the current trend in journalism, but who is to say that it is the right one?

Using simile (comparing it to a dog or a turtle) is uncalled for and completely subjective. You can comment on a car's features and performance and say that they are bad, but comparing them to animals doesn't get you anywhere.

The whole point of a review is to objectively describe the object, report on how it performed, and then (optionally) describe your opinions of it. In that, he's not out of line.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
And he did that very well:
The changes to the 200 are significant, but this car lacks inspiration or soul.

It performs better when compared to itself, but doesn't perform as well as any of its competition. That's a losing proposition.

The text that was later edited was just clutter and didn't provide any further information on the car or i its features. The article should have been edited in the first place.
 

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,867
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
And he did that very well:


The text that was later edited was just clutter and didn't provide any further information on the car or i its features. The article should have been edited in the first place.

If they were going to edit it at all, yes. But once it was published, to try to censor it like that and then to cover it up was intellectual dishonesty and quite disgusting, whatever reason it was done for.

For whatever reason, the editor who approved it didn't see anything wrong with it at the time. They continued to not see anything wrong with it until they got a phone call from an advertiser.

Bottom line: Editors need to be fired, whether they didn't do their job and let crap through or just kow-towed to an advertiser doesn't matter.
 
Top