Detroit News-Auto Critic Scandal
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Print Journalism, Internet
Censored Parties: Scott Burgess
Confronting Bodies: Detroit News
Date of Action: 10 March, 2011
Location: Detroit, Mich., United States
Description of Article: Scott Burgess, the auto critic for the Detroit News, posted a scathing review of the new Chrysler 200 that was unveiled during the 2011 Superbowl in a Chrysler-produced commercial. Burgess argued that the 200 was a call to the pseudo-luxury heritage of Chrysler that he argued was part of their downfall. Consequently, he advised against his readers purchasing the car.
The Incident: At the request of many auto dealerships (fearing damaged sales in an already-fragile market) in the metropolitan Detroit region, the Detroit News edited the original online post, and then used the edited version to print in its daily periodical.
Results of Incident: Scott Burgess resigned as the auto critic of the Detroit News, citing the censorship of his review as the primary reason. Soon after, the Detroit News published an apology in its paper, stating that it forgot its independence from corporate interest and compromised its neutrality. Several Chrysler dealerships from the area pulled ads from the newspaper. One month later, Burgess returned as the paper's auto critic.
Source: The Detroit News, 11 March, 2011 (censored article); The Detroit News Blog via Cars.com, 10 March, 2011 (original online post: http://www.cars.com/chrysler/200/2011/expert-reviews/?revid=57099); The Detroit News, 21 March, 2011 (apology article)