Blogger Uncovers Facts About LA Times Reporting On GM

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Blogs come into play more than once in the story of General Motors’ decision to yank advertising from the Los Angeles Times.

In case you missed it, GM wasn’t happy with a review of one of its cars by Pulitzer Prize winning auto writer Dan Neil. Several critics wondered why GM wasn’t addressing the issue on its own Fastlane blog. Meanwhile, Business Week writer David Kiley took GM to task for its petulence after determining there was nothing in Neil’s article that wasn’t factual and that GM was think-skinned for so over-the-top a response to Neil’s call for the ouster of GM’s chairman.

Now, Kiley is backtracking after reading (can’t you hear it coming?) a blog. Kiley writes today, “Website editor/blogger Miro Pacic of Automobear.com dissected Neil’s story and seems to have gotten to the bottom of what the LA Times’ ombudsman is surely evaluating this week.”

The blog post is lengthy and well-researched, pointing out that Neil’s commentary was based on facts that were skewed to support his point of view. “Directionally, Neil’s criticisms of GM are defensible,” Kiley writes. “But he may be guilty in this case of shaping certain data to back up a point he decided to make before getting the data…Where he seems to have erred is in pulling in ill-reported data points to substantiate his opinion.”

I was never troubled that GM didn’t address its decision to pull advertising on the Fastlane blog, which from the get-go has been positioned as a place to talk about product, period. I was a bit troubled by GM’s decision to withdraw advertising because of a review it didn’t like, given the wall that is supposed to exist between editorial and advertising. But if a newspaper’s writer is deliberately misconstruing facts in order to validate the bold call for the dismissal of the CEO and the top product exec, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to support that reporter’s publication with my advertising dollars.

Kudos to Automobear.com for an outstanding bit of reporting that rivals the investigative work of most professional journalists (none of whom, by the way, seem to have looked into the Times’ coverage).

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

Blogger Uncovers Facts About LA Times Reporting On GM
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