Let's Check Real Quick And Make Sure The Detroit News Isn't Censoring Scott Burgess Any More

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

We take issues of censorship and media freedom very seriously here at TTAC. Well, I’ve been told that Bertel and Ed do, anyway. Long-time readers will recall the little tempest-in-teapot earlier this year when Detroit News editor Scott Burgess threw his pacifier out of his crib over a Chrysler 200 review and then returned to employment with the paper shortly afterwards. Many Bothans died to bring you this information, if by “Bothans” you mean “Jalopnik readers” and by “died” you mean “were bored to death by self-righteous editorials regarding”.

A TTAC reader recently pointed me to an editorial by Mr. Burgess entitled “Cruze across Europe: Loved overseas, Chevy’s efficient diesel coming to the States”. I was intrigued by this article. While it appeared at first glance to be a shameless puff piece that combined a European vacation for the hard-working Mr. Burgess (and his wife) with a vaguely-defined test loop for the diesel Cruze, I quickly realized that it was a very subversive piece. The first clue was the title. “Loved overseas?” Wink, wink, Mr. B. I see what you did there. And sentences like “Really, the Cruze should receive a hero’s welcome in America” are simply begging to be revealed for the subtle jabs that they are.

With this in mind, I decided to check a few more Burgess articles to find out what he was managing to slip past those bastards at the Detroit News. This tale of defiance and inner strength reminds me of the Dalai Lama, or that Gandhi fellow, or… I know! Oh yes. But instead of V For Vendetta, we’ll call it F For Freecar.

First up: The Land Rover LR4, in an article titled “Land Rover’s cool luxury can’t be beat”. This is such a hopeless vehicle that even suckers like yours truly, who took delivery of four brand-new Rover products between 1997 and 2004, can’t be bothered to test-drive one. How did Mr. Burgess skewer this toad?

The LR4 has a clean and luxurious look, from the big flat front end to that iconic asymmetrical rear hatch. Somehow, this SUV can pull off muscular, elegant and sophisticated all at the same time. Nothing else looks like the LR4, except another LR4, and that’s the true beauty of this vehicle. It’s the George Clooney of SUVs…

Then there’s this vehicle’s capabilities. There’s a reason Land Rovers find themselves doing those tough jobs in desolate places around the world. Land Rovers can go nearly everywhere, and the LR4 is no exception.

Okay, I have to admit, I’m having a little difficulty finding the hidden criticism. Maybe it’s in the sentence “Land Rovers can go nearly everywhere…” especially to the dealer for service! Get it?

Let’s try another review. “Hyundai gives luxury a ride”, for the 5.0 Genesis R. Come on, Scott! Work your magic!

…the slightly improved 2012 Genesis 5.0 R Spec charts new territory for a brand that is full of surprises… It is always going to be at the front of the line… On the road, the Genesis 5.0 is an absolute blast to drive. You can feel its acceleration in your belly… The specially tuned five-link independent front and rear suspension help the Genesis 5.0 hug corners and keep a straight line through any turn…

NICE ONE, SCOTT! “Keep a straight line through any turn.” He is subliminally telling readers that the Genesis will murder them if they are stupid enough to enter a corner while driving it.

It holds lines nicely, though sometimes you wish it was a little firmer to prevent some over-steer. (If this starts to happen, the Genesis comes with 13.6-inch ventilated disc brakes that will bring you to a stop amazingly fast.)

Now, he takes the gloves off. We all know what happens if you step on the brakes during an actual on-the-limit oversteer situation — the car will immediately spin — so Burgess is now inviting anybody stupid enough to buy this car to just go fuckin’ KILL THEMSELVES!

Hyundai didn’t sacrifice any of the amenities in this luxury machine. The entire cabin is encased in leather and wood to provide an old-world luxury feel. Close your eyes, and you’re not likely to know which brand you’re buying, only that it’s good.

THE GENESIS! YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND TO WANT ONE!

And just when you think that Scott will disrespect some whips only though the most insidious of criticisms, we come across a car that he just flat bitch-slaps. I mean, he wrecks shop. No subtlety needed to understand this review:

I was eating some plain toast the other morning, looking out the window at the [REDACTED] and wondering what it might be like to drive it again. But something distracted me and I forgot about it… completely forgettable… the modern-day driving Prozac… It’s the risk-free choice for a large swath of the public who could care less (Wow, both the “editor” and the editor of the DetNews are illiterate — JB)… the company spent a lot less money on inside materials.


While the performance is solid and the exterior is fine, the interior is a hodgepodge of plastic and stitching that has no real semblance of continuity… The silver round switches that control the fans and temperature click with the confidence of a poorly constructed Happy Meal toy… The asymmetrical dash slopes down on the passenger’s side, as if it melted in the hot sun and a vent has started to leak out of it… but there are just too many other midsize cars better

I’m speechless. This is Burgess at his two-fisted best, attacking a car without regard to the advertisers, the editors, or the vested interests of the paper itself. Courage. Power. Manliness. It’s all on display. Unbelievable.

I can’t believe the Detroit News let him say all those bad things about the Toyota Camry.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • RRocket RRocket on Oct 21, 2011

    "Loved Overseas"? I'm pretty sure that means "piece of crap". How do I know this? Because David Hasselhoff is loved overseas!!

    • Bryce Bryce on Oct 22, 2011

      David Hassehoff is reviled anywhere there is land

  • Johnny Canada Johnny Canada on Oct 24, 2011

    I'm puzzled by Ray Wert's support of Burgess. Does Ray owe him money? Perhaps embarrassing photos are involved. Whatever the case, it continues to make automotive journalism look like a wonderful picnic on top of a sewer grate.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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