Let’s take a virtual trip up north to San Francisco, which is kind of like LA with smugger hipsters, harder parking, cleaner air, and gayer gays. Anyway, the San Francisco Chronicle has fired longtime freelance auto reviewer Robert Farago after initially spiking, then running, a negative and somewhat crass review of the Subaru B9 SUV. (At least it sounds like it was negative and crass- the review is no longer available on the Chronicle website.) Farago’s regular editor, Mike Berry, decided to spike the review, but then he left for vacation, and in his absence, another editor, Mike Ansaldo ran the piece. Then Farago got an email from the paper’s creative director (?) John Packowski, telling him he was fired, effective immediately. Nobody at the Chronicle will talk to Farago about what prompted this weird little series of reversals. He describes the incident at his website TheTruthAboutCars:
I’m not sure if the Chronicle removed my description of the SUV’s front end as a “flying vagina” (the editors ignore my request for a copy of the published review), but even without it my analysis of the B9 was not bound to please its manufacturer. The section’s editor, Mike Berry, refused to clarify the exact cause of my summary dismissal. But a colleague let it be known that a Subaru-scented shit storm had hit the department responsible for my employment. The paper caved.
Hmm. I’d say the guy at least deserves an explanation, but I don’t really know the back-story. Sounds like a V.R.M.S. to me. (That’s Vacation Related Media Screw-Up.) Happens a lot in August.