Last week General Motors pulled its national advertising from the LA Times saying that the LAT's coverage of GM was both inaccurate and unfair. But GM declined to state exactly which articles - or what facts - were inaccurate. The final driveshaft, however, appears to have been a recent column by Pulitzer Prize winning car critic Dan Neil that talked about GM... about the way I talk about the LA Times.
Now while I know about as much about cars as the Chicagoans who run the LA Times know about putting out a newspaper - I saw no smoking gun in the article. Just some hard hitting commentary and tons of Neil's wonderfully off-the-wall humor. I would be a lot more impressed with GM's case if they had asked for even one error to be corrected. But they did not.
However, the LA Times still said (properly) they would review their coverage to see if there was anything that needed to be corrected. For once, though, I hope they do not find anything that needs to be corrected. As bad a newspaper as the LA Times is, Neil's coverage is one of its better features and allowing advertisers to dictate either news or editorial coverage is completely unacceptable.
Now, if advertisers start pulling ads because the Times is no longer read by anyone (which is increasingly the case) or if advertisers get tired of supporting a newspaper that does not even bother to report on the city it purports to cover - then that is something else. In that case, let the ad cancelations begin!
But for the LA Times to any way to cave into GM, assuming the LAT's facts are correct, is something the LA Times should never do.