It's High Time That Dan Neil Started Writing About Lousy GM Cars Again; Damn The Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead
"Once," McDougal writes, "when a wealthy department store owner filed to divorce his wife, he asked the Tribune editors to downplay the story. McCormick was called at home and asked what to do--the department store owner, after all, was a major advertiser.
"Keep the story and throw out the advertising," McCormick ordered. "A kept newspaper is like a kept woman: no good.
"The department store owner groused for a few weeks, but came back hat in hand. To reach his customers, he had to advertise in the Tribune."
Well, I'm becoming afraid that John Carroll and Dennis FitzSimmons are no Robert McCormicks. Since General Motors pulled its advertising from the L.A. Times, the newspaper's Pulitzer Prize-winning auto writer, Dan Neil, hasn't written about an American car.
Week after week, Neil has been writing about foreign cars, and the appearance is the Times is scared stiff of General Motors.
I said when all this started that the Times should react by selling more ads to Toyota. I would now go beyond that: The Times should start helping to sell Toyotas, which, after all, produce much better cars and trucks than General Motors.
Under Tribune ownership, the Times is sinking fast. All too often, its editors don't stand up on their own two feet.
And if Neil is being prevented from engaging in the full sweep of his writing, he ought to quit and go somewhere he'll be appreciated.
General Motors, I'm sure, will recover from its present difficulties, even if they have to follow Chrysler and put Germans (or Japanese) on their board. But will the Times recover its reputation?
Let's hear from Neil again on American cars, or on at least what passes for cars, like GM's Pontiac G6, the car Neil was, if anything, too kind to when all this started.