Detroit News auto critic resigns. Was it because paper bowed to advertiser pressure?

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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