QOTD: Controlling The Past And The Present?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
qotd controlling the past and the present

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?

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?

Join the conversation
2 of 25 comments
  • Fred Fred on Jun 09, 2017

    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.

  • Driver8 Driver8 on Jun 09, 2017

    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.

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)