Detroit News regrets caving to its advertiser

Headshot of David Griner

The Detroit News got a pretty bad black eye yesterday, when Jalopnik reported that the paper had tried to appease a dealership by watering down a review of the Chrysler 200 — aka, Eminem's car from the Super Bowl ad shown below. The auto critic, Scott Burgess, had reportedly resigned over the issue, and now the newspaper's publisher says he regrets the entire incident. "Our intent was to make an editing improvement and we obviously handled it poorly," Publisher Jonathan Wolman wrote to Jalopnik. "We should have let the online version of his review stand as written, as we did the print version." According to two of the blog's sources within the newspaper, Burgess' scathing review was edited online after the paper received a call from an auto dealership that advertises with the News. Several lines were then removed from the online version, such as, "It's vastly improved, but that's only because it was so horrendous before." All in all, this is shaping up to be a bad month for Chrysler, who — through no fault of its own — keeps getting dragged into online controversies like last week's F-bomb tweet.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."