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Detroit News Apologizes – Sort Of – For Softening Chrysler 200 Review

Newspaper admits edit of harsh review “handled poorly.”

by on Mar.18, 2011

Former Detroit News auto critic Scott Burgess during an appearance on Autoline After Hours.

The Detroit News has issued a corporate “mea culpa,” if not an outright apology, for editing out some of the harsh criticisms included in a review of the Chrysler 200 – a move that led the paper’s automotive critic to resign.

Part of the problem for the paper was that the changes were obvious: the original review, including Scott Burgess’s tough criticism, was published in the print edition – then deleted when the review went online.

Indications are that the paper responded to pressure from an advertiser, though more likely a dealer, as Chrysler appears not to have pushed the publication to soften the electronic version of the review.

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“The paper’s intent was to make an editing improvement, but we obviously handled it poorly,” Wolman said. “We should have let the online version of his review stand as written, as we did the print version,” said Detroit News Editor and Publisher Jonathan Wolman, who added that the original language has since been restored to the online review.