By on June 9, 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr, Wikimedia Commons

The story goes something like this: A dealership claims to have Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s C6-generation Corvette ZR1 for sale. The Drive publishes a breathless piece on this Corvette. Then Junior happens to notice the post and corrects them.

A print magazine would publish a correction. It’s been suggested that The Drive deep-six the post entirely. What’s the appropriate course of action here, for this and other situations like it?

Junior's Vette

What the site decided to do was this: change the title of the post, add a couple of exculpatory sentences, and finish the article like so:

Still, there’s presumably at least one Dale Junior fan out there with deep pockets and a love for Corvettes for whom this ’09 Corvette would be the car of his (or her) dreams. Here’s hoping he or she stumbles across it before Sunday afternoon.

You’d have to be a pretty big Junior fan to want a car just because Earnhardt once tweeted that he had nothing to do with it. One has to wonder if there’s a business model there…

Step 1: Open luxury hotel
Step 2: Claim that Junior stays there all the time
Step 3: Publicize Junior’s denial
Step 5: ???
Step 6: Duplicate the Birdman video where he talks about having 100 million dollars

Before this morning, however, The Drive disappeared that paragraph as well. Maybe it’s best to think of this article the way certain people think of the Constitution: as a “living document” that can say pretty much whatever’s convenient for you at any given moment.

In my days as Editor-In-Chief of this site, I had a policy where we would leave our mistakes in the public eye but make sure that the retractions were equally visible. My successors have tended to favor the “memory hole” approach where you make everything disappear. I don’t know if there is any consensus on what the correct course of action would be.

As for the ZR1 in question? Dale’s fans are already asking the state attorney general to look into what they feel is fraudulent promotion-by-association.

How should TTAC, and other outlets, behave in a case like this? Or is it more important that readers from both sides of the aisle can finally come together to identify a clear case of fake news?

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25 Comments on “QOTD: Controlling The Past And The Present?...”

  • avatar

    Jr has been concussed so much he might not remember he owned it.

  • avatar

    Long ago at his peak popularity I considered a parody of WWJD that would appeal to the nascar crowd. GDFD – Get it Done For Dale. I think whatever happens to the drive and the dealership we need to GDFD.

  • avatar

    Take it down. Don’t give the hucksters free advertising.

  • avatar

    “What difference does it make?”

    The world is so FUBAR at present, and the 1/10th of one percent are in such dominant control, that the 99.9% of the rest live in their reality, however warped, unjust, irrational or dehumanizing that such reality may be.

    We’re back to the Robber Baron era, except that it’s multiples worse, and instead of steel, oil and trains used to JUST frape people’s finances,, it’s big data, big gov’t, and the internet-of-things in a mass dossier/tracking-surveil state/targeting campaign & predictive behavior analysis for control and profit in an unholy trinity-alliance, that rapes people of their autonomy.

    I’m off to the Imperial Capital of Washington D.C. in 7 days for a forced meeting amongst the limestone and granite buildings and memorials with the the intelligentsia/managerial class-types.

    It will disgust me, given the direct pipeline of resources and direction of power that is channeled between the triangle of power that flows from Mountain View to Manhattan to D.C.

    Tesla and others like it are no longer valued based on their P&L statement or similar metrics, or whether they even now or ever will be profitable, but based on the flow of fiat from central banks to the financial class in Manhattan, the TED talk talking points emanating out of Mountain View, California, and the directives to the managerial class in The Imperial Capital of D.C.

    The Matrix is realized.

    • 0 avatar

      What does any of this have to do with this article?

      Dead weight indeed.™

    • 0 avatar

      I spent 4 days there in March for an annual lobbying trip.

      Beware that the low level plebes manning the security checkpoints at each building seem to be even grumpier than last year.

      • 0 avatar

        I am fortunate enough to have all the best credentials (symbols) that will allow me to at least have expedited passage through most, if not all, of the Imperial Capital Checkpoints.

        My mission requires that I be granted the proper bar scan code documents, for the sake of efficient routing.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s important to have the best credentials. Wonderful credentials, even.

          • 0 avatar

            The automatron-humanoid sentinels that control most security checkpoints in the Imperial Capital are thankfully non-emotive and merely confirm the “correct” bar scan codes in determining whether to grant passage.

            This thankfully means I don’t have to smile, make pleasantries, speak any words, nor even make eye contact in order to be granted passage.

      • 0 avatar

        I visited the WH, Capitol bldg, and the Rayburn house office with my grandson this week. Security was tight of course but I found if you smile and salute, they react favorably, often smiling back.

        • 0 avatar

          I was in the Rayburn building (and the Senatorial office buildings) but I’ve seen friendlier TSA agents.

          SPQR – as the Romans would have said.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not going to any of the tourist-type places.

          The places I will be traveling to are very dour and secured, in many instances, by contractor security (“trained” and hired by private security firms most of us have never heard of), though I will inevitably visit places also involving some oversight by actual Americans manning the check-points.

    • 0 avatar

      DeadWeight – I love it when you talk dirty :)

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Are we really going to have a discussion of the most integrity-laden way for another blog to retract a blurb where it mistakenly claims an old Corvette belonged to an old NASCAR driver, and then dissect said retraction? I mean come on. The “OMG other car-related media outlet did this and we would do it WAY better” has reached peak ridiculousness here.

  • avatar

    The original URL should be maintained, and it should include a prominent statement that this has been corrected before the rest of the article.

    Scrub the article if you wish – but you have to imagine that this is going to be indexed and archived. The only unique way back to it to know the actual current version is the URL.

    The memory hole is indistinguishable from the idea that the article was lost or misplaced in a website redesign. If your intention is to set the record straight – and, ostensibly, reporting is about the service of truth – then be proud of having gotten it right, finally, and keep the URL with the correction showing on that URL.

    It’s better for a journalist to admit that his job is delivering the best information and be prompt in setting the record straight than to pretend that he is infallible. You can trust somebody who owns his mistakes.

    • 0 avatar

      He gets it. Put your retraction at the head of the article, explaining why it’s changed. Change the title if necessary to reflect the new facts. Leave the URL the same. If corrections need to be made in the article you either a) remove them/correct them, or b) edit them with strikethrough and editorial comment so that people can see what has changed, in addition to the paragraph of retraction at the top.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    to me, a sign of integrity is to face your mistakes not hide them. especially if you have any pretensions of wanting to be taken seriously.

    the article could easily have been left with updated information and with the dealer’s info redacted to avoid giving them more publicity.

  • avatar

    What is the justification for TTAC’s current “memory hole” approach?

    I don’t see any way this is better or more honest than a properly appended/corrected/disclaimered version of the original page.

  • avatar

    Fox news had a story online that was shown to be from a parody sight. They just pressed the delete button. No retraction no apology.

  • avatar

    Say no to the memory hole.

    Instead, ‘agree and amplify’. Make up the craziest $hit you can come up with, short of libel, going as over the top as possible. Churn the comment section with sockpuppet trolls. Pagehits galore.

    Buy a sixxer of Genny cream ale with the extra ad revenue.

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