I know that it has been awhile since I’ve posted…but I saw something today that demanded my attention.
On May 31, a particularly detrimental New York Times article ran about the supposed evils of GM. The article’s author, Tom Friedman, went beyond mere innuendos by flat-out accusing GM of supporting terrorists, buying votes in congress to advance its business agenda, and referring to GM as “a crack dealer” for encouraging America’s dependency on gas guzzling SUV’s. Later on in media interviews he admitted that the article had been a bit harsh, but opined that he had been justifiably trying to get GM’s attention.
In response, Brian Akre with GM’s Corporate Communications attempted to get a rebuttal published in the NYT Letters to the Editor section. Read about his struggle with the NYT on the GM FYI Blog here. So far the post has attracted 130 comments and about seven trackbacks. Not only did Akre include the original letter to the editor that NYT rejected, but he also included the entire e-mail exchange surrounding it. Interesting stuff that doesn’t reflect too well on NYT.
This is yet another testament to how blogging can open the floodgates of discourse and expose bad practice, much to the detriment of the scallywag who thought he could get away with it. I read quite a few of the comments, and the additional stories and observations only amplified the negative perception of NYT that this post sparked. One reader even said that he was planning on cancelling his NYT subscription as a result.
My favorite observation: A reader’s comment that despite the fact that in this case NYT refused to allow the word “rubbish” to be published in Letters to the Editor, they had allowed it barely a year earlier in another letter. Hypocritical much?
I don’t think I could say it better than RB Levin did in his comment:
“Now that’s some ballsy corporate blogging! Kudos to GM for leveraging the power of the blog to overcome the power of the pen.”