Jeff Glucker, a.k.a. jglucker, had his head handed to him by the Twitter mob. It must have been the little head. The emasculated editor of Autoblog caved in to the rabid rabble and sacrificed a supposedly sexist headline. What happened?
London’s Daily Mail chronicled a pile-up of (interestingly mostly blue) supercars in downtown Monte Carlo under the headline “Oops, it’s a £700,000 prang… Hapless blonde crashes her Bentley into a Merc, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin.”
The British tabloid milked the blonde stereotype for all it’s worth (or not):
“This was the moment when a woman driver caused a £700,000 five-car pile-up as her Bentley collided with a Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin. Disaster struck as the hapless blonde negotiated the traffic around the Place du Casino in her £250,000 Bentley Azure.”
The Daily Mail could not possibly pass-up on the story. After all, according to Wikipedia, the Daily Mail “was, from the outset, a newspaper for women, being the first to provide features especially for them, and is still the only British newspaper whose readership is more than 50% female.” It even has a column called “Femail today.” The paper demonstrated its sensitivity towards its female readership by regaling it with statistics:
“Scientists at the University of Michihan (sic) looked at 6.5million car crashes and found a higher than expected number of accidents between two female drivers. They also discovered that women have a tough time negotiating crossroads, T-junctions and slip roads.”
Jeff Glucker also could not say no. At Autoblog, he ran the story under the headline “Female driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo.” The Autoblog associate editor, who according to his Twitter profile loves “cars, dachshunds, good drinks and the Caribbean,” carefully resisted the allure of any alliterations beyond “causes catastrophe.” Where this reporter would have tinkered with something along the lines of “Blundering buxom blondes brutalize big buck Bentley, smash several supercars ,” Jeff didn’t even mention “blonde.”
Ever the car guy, he questioned the reported damage estimates “in the neighborhood of $65,000” which according to Jeff’s trained eye (and the opinion of his wiener dog) seem “laughably low.” That restraint did not spare Jeff the wrath of the PC-armed PC crowd. The dogloving autoblogger found himself at the receiving end of a twitter riot: “What’s w/ the sexist ‘female driver causes catastrophe’” was tweeted and reteweeted several times, thereby spreading the chauvinistic copy all over the twitterverse.
Then Glucker did something we would never do here at TTAC: He caved in. Changing “Female driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo” to an insipid “Driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo” did not mollify the masses.
Now he hears from his own readers: “Jeff Glucker, you have no spine.”
PS: We would not have even noticed the story and could have saved our vindictive vitriol for other occasions, would we not have received an email with the subject line “Would ttac.com change headlines or content to please complainers?”
Our answer: No.
If we make factual mistakes, we fix them. If we hurt feelings – tough.