Category: Biting the hands that feed us

Auto journalists “knew all along” that Volkswagen TDIs were problematic

Volkswagen gets a warning about the dangers of the TDI, yesterday

Volkswagen gets a warning about the dangers of the TDI, yesterday

In the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, several prominent automotive publications are saying that they were well aware of the problems with Volkswagen’s diesel engines, and have been attempting to educate the public about the potential dangers for some time.

“We knew all along that there was a problem with VW’s TDIs,” said Randy Backpeddler, Contributing Editor for AlternativeFools.com. “That’s why we have been recommending people buy them: So we could get enough of them on the road to attract attention to the very obvious problem of emissions cheating. I’m proud to say that our strategy has worked.”

Dean Nyer, Editor-in-Chief of Roadgoing Asshole Magazine, says his publication’s attempts to warn readers about Volkswagen’s diesel cars have been largely misunderstood.

“We have often written that only cool people buy diesels and that hybrid buyers are boring,” he told Autoblopnik. “What we meant was that diesel buyers are cool to important environmental issues that ought not to be ignored, while hybrid buyers are boring right into the heart of the matter, which is to reduce air pollution.”

Osmond Reefqueefer of Kelly Boob Book agreed that his publication’s position on Volkswagen diesels was also taken out of context.

“Sure, we said Volkswagen’s TDI cars were great,” he said. “And what we meant was that they pose a great danger to the health and safety of the American public.”

Volkswagen spokespolluter Gil Markes said he expects the media attention will be short lived.

“We were a bit surprised as to how much coverage the story has received, especially considering how many journalists we hosted at the Frankfurt Auto Show,” Markes told Autoblopnik. “But we’re pretty sure the media attention will die down once we announce that the 2017 Passat press preview will take place in Hawaii.”

© Autoblopnik

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F embargos

Autoblopnik.com responds to an embargo, yesterday

Autoblopnik responds to an embargo, yesterday

An editorial by Otto Blopnik, Publisher-In-Chief of Autoblopnik.com

In the wake of the kerfuffle over embargos on Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars, Autoblopnik has decided to take a stand on this very important issue.

Embargos come into play when an automaker sends out information and asks that it not be published before a certain date. This ensures that all publications have an equal opportunity to put the information in front of their readers; it gives the automakers a one-day media blitz at minimal cost; and it makes sites like Jalopnik and TTAC feel dirty by reminding them that they are nothing but corporate stooges, suckling at the teat of the automakers that feed them. (For the record, Autoblopnik is perfectly comfortable in this role, and yes, Chevrolet, I think I will have another glass of chablis.)

Automakers have long threatened to lock out publications that break embargoes by publishing information early, provided those publications don’t buy a lot of advertising and/or produce lots of dealer referrals.

Jalopnik has now said that they will no longer honor embargos on information, although they will honor embargos on first-drive impressions from press trips, because those are the ones that involve frequent flyer miles, posh hotels, and all the booze you can drink, gratis.

TTAC’s Jack Baruth responded by saying that the entire automotive industry is doomed, auto writing is a farce, the whole universe is fucked, and the future of automotive reporting lies with Time Magazine.

Autoblog responded by saying “We obsessively covered the 2015 Ford Mustang.”

Given the perceived importance of this issue, Autoblopnik feels it is important to take a stand.

From this point forward, Autoblopnik will not follow any embargo as established by the automakers. Instead, we will set our own embargos. For example, if Chevrolet sends us early specs on the new Corvette Z06 (hint, hint) with an embargo date of January 13th at 10:30 am, we will rip up that embargo and set one that works for us… most likely, for the sake of convenience, January 13th at 10:30 am. Or maybe we’ll release it half an hour later, because we’re unpredictable like that. What we will not do is be like every other automotive web site and release the information early. That way, we can continue to be predictable and get free food while refusing to be pushed around by the man.

As Jack Baruth so eloquently points out, this policy could, in theory, be used to give us more time to construct well-written and grammatically-correct articles for your reading enjoyment. However, in order to keep the playing field level, we will continue to honor the blog-industry model of paying $10 per post to fresh-faced college grads who would whore out their own mothers if it meant given the opportunity to tell their friends they work for a publication that was once allowed to borrow a Lamborghini for a day.

We hope this stance will send a strong message to the automakers: You cannot dictate our editorial schedule. We will not acknowledge the fact that without the information you provide, we are effectively out of business. We will not pretend that if we read the information with another site, we can gleefully forward your corporate message while telling the world that we are independent mavericks. And most importantly, we will not follow the industry trend of posting news before you intend it to be released.

Instead, we’ll take our own sweet time and post it when we want to post it. If that just so happens to fit perfectly into your embargo plans, just remember that Autoblopnik prefers aisle seats and rooms with an ocean view.

Proposed Russian dash cam laws threaten automotive web sites

Something terrible caught on video by a Russian dashcam, yesterday

Something terrible caught on video by a Russian dashcam, yesterday

The Russian government is considering new privacy legislation that would limit the right to publish dash cam videos, a move that poses a threat to thousands of automotive blogs and web sites.

“Obviously, this is a major concern for us,” said Jeremy Korzinieweshouldahiredsomeonewithashortername, Editor-of-Something-or-Other at Autoblop.com. “We don’t rely as heavily on dash cam footage as that other site that used to compete with us, but it still makes up a sizable percentage of our content.”

Russian dash-cam footage has been called “an Internet sensation,” “the ‘Wazzup’ videos of the 2010s,” and “fackin’ nails, brah!” The Russian government’s pubic affairs directorate estimates that 98% of Russian drivers have fitted their vehicles with onboard cameras, with the 2% who haven’t being rounded up and sent to re-education camps. Under the proposed legislation, posting dash cam footage to a public forum would be a felony punishable by life in Russia.

Internet search giant Google estimated that some 3,500 automotive-related blogs rely on Russian dash cam footage for at least 50% of their content, with Microsoft search provider Bing saying the exact same thing but on a slightly prettier screen. A spokesvideo for YouTube.com, where most Russian dash cam videos are posted, said the streaming video giant is concerned about the possible elimination of these videos, and that they are in negotiations with the Star Wars light saber kid and the What What In The Butt guy to make up for the forecasted drop in traffic.

Travis Osuki, Senior Citizen Correspondant for Jablopnik, called the situation “Horrific, our worst nightmare. Frankly, I don’t know what we’re going to do. We might have to go back to reporting news and reviews. Gawd, I don’t even want to think about that.”

© Autoblopnik