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Auto critic Scott Burgess has reportedly resigned his post at The Detroit News effective immediately. The well-respected scribe gave no reason for his sudden departure from the paper, but Jalopnik is citing unnamed sources who claim the writer's departure was spurred on by the unthinkable; a review that was neutered to appease an unnamed advertiser that wasn't Chrysler.

The review in question was for the Chrysler 200, which has been substantially updated (apparently not enough) for 2011. Yes, the same 200 that was featured in the excellent "Imported from Detroit" ad that Chrysler spent millions on to air during the Super Bowl, and the same vehicle that is essentially a reworked Sebring.

We don't have an official account detailing why Burgess called it quits, but the following facts are cut and dry. In the original review, which hit newsstands last week Thursday, Burgess called the 200 "a dog," adding "If this is the best vehicle Detroit exports, then Glenn Beck is right." Nice zinger, but unfortunately it didn't make its way to the online version of the review. The online version of the review was clearly diluted at least seven times (you can see all the editorial deletes/rewrites on Jalopnik), taking the edge off of an otherwise scathing account that paints the 200 as coming up short against the midsize competition.

While The Detroit News hasn't admitted to any inappropriate behavior and the advertiser in question is still unknown, evidence points to this whole thing stinking to high hell. If this turns out to be true then we tip our hat to Mr. Burgess for standing up for what he believes in, and for Jalopnik for bringing this to light.

[Source: Jalopnik | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]


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  • 53 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      His review was packed full of hyperbole using references that were just silly and not good as in a Top Gear sort of the way either.

      I am not a Chrysler fan (never owned one) but I rank his review worse than the car he reviewed.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 200 is just a reworked sebring, instead of being a good car it's based on something that's simply archaic. It should have been a lot more of a car than it turned out to be.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The changes to the review online don't seem to impact the tone much. I don't have a problem with omitting the wording of "rightfully shooting" something to extinction nor removing Glenn Beck.

      But I do appreciate the editor standing up for his right not to be re-edited and quitting.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone should know that the "new" 200 isnt really "new", its a refresh. A truly new car wont appear for what, 2-3 more years they said? Anyways, I havent read the guy's review, but Im hoping he wasnt seriously thinking that was the best Chrysler could do. It was a rush job from what I understand, and Ive also read that the car is 100% better than the crap Sebring it replaced. I dont think anyone should write a scathing review until the new model debuts. Everyone in the automotive world knows what a turd the Sebring was, and they should welcome the 200's changes with open arms, and realize its not yet ready to be called "new", IMO.
        • 3 Years Ago
        When an automaker puts its name on a product and asks its customers to pay tens of thousands of dollars for it, it needs to be the best they can do.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So it wasn't Chrysler, it was a dealer who used some muscle to get what they wanted. Bigger question is, which dealer? This kind of action says a lot about the dealer and how they do business. I'd want to know who it is.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If all this shakes out the way it seems, Jalopnik is the epitome of what drew me to journalism 31 years ago when I started at a group of weekly newspapers. Telling the truth to the public is one of the most honorable, and important, jobs in a democracy. Writers with integrity, as Burgess seems to be, should be honored much more in this society than they are. Too many times in today's Fourth Estate, "telling" the story gets confused by writers and publishers alike with "selling" the story.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I could pick out several details from just about anything he wrote that were complete BS.

      You won't be missed.
        • 3 Years Ago
        With a username like yours, I can see why you are bitter.

        The 200 really isn't that great of a vehicle, huge improvement over the Sebring, but still not a great vehicle.

        Sorry.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If this is true then it is an outrage. Scott Burgess was doing a tremendous job with the Detroit News and I emailed him last week to compliment him on the honesty of his review of the still lame Chrysler 200. He made a point of putting the needs of readers (consumers) ahead of the wishes of advertisers and I made sure to forward my opinion to the Editor of the News.

      This is starting to remind me of GM's reaction to Dan Neil's review of the Pontiac G6 in which he sagely lambasted the management of pre-bankruptcy GM for releasing yet another mediocre car in the marketplace.

      We saved Chrysler because they could not save themselves with third rate products like the 200. Maybe Chrysler, Chrysler Dealers and The Detroit News need reminding of these facts.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Harsh insults erode the overall credibility of a publication and should indeed be removed. An outside party shouldn't have to complain because editors should edit in the first place.

      • 3 Years Ago
      This really does stink. Kudos to Burgess on the resignation, and shame on the Detroit News. Burgess was an auto critic, it was his job to comment on all the positive aspects and shortcomings of the "new" 200. I really don't get why everyone is so up in arms about not insulting Detroit, or products coming out of Detroit. If they stink, let it be known. Chrysler admonished that tweeter for his accidental tweet and fired the entire agency. Now Chrysler (or apparently a dealer) leaned on the Detroit News to clean up a lousy review of a lousy car.

      The 200 is certainly better than the Sebring, but at the end of the day, it really just boils down to putting lipstick on a pig, and his (unedited) review was spot-on, in my opinion. The Sebring was just so terrible that it will really take a completely new car, instead of a new interior, new fascias and a slew of LEDs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why the assumption that it was Chrysler or a Chrysler DEALER when the article clearly says it wasn't Chrysler? Maybe it was Fox News, or MSNBC, or God only knows.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Great comment, man.

        100% truth.

        Don't worry everybody.

        The 2013+ Chrysler 200 will be a whole new car, and it'll kick ass!
        • 3 Years Ago
        If you read the Jalopnik article, the edits were to the online version only - the reality is that the original article was very poor and the editor should have resigned for letting such a shoddy and unprofessional piece hit the printer. The same point is rehashed numerous times, out of context references were used and ridiculous amounts of hyperbole do not reflect the actual point of the review - the 200 is a lackluster car that fails to compete against anything in this generation.
      • 3 Years Ago
      ...and I'm sure Eminem drives one of these too!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hope the all new 200 will be a great car.
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