My interest in this story was beginning to wane. After three days of VetteGate – the creation of a fake Blue Devil/SS test mule by Winding Road for the expressed purpose of spreading misinformation across the Internet – I found that there wasn’t really much more to say. I see those following the story have divided into two separate camps. The first is the “It’s just a joke, get over it” camp for which most people that don’t have a Corvette are in, and the second is the “Where is the journalistic integrity” camp, where I fall into. So I was all set to move on. But then I got an email today from Winding Road’s Online Editor Chris Paukert, who asked me to remove the photos and story showing the creation of the fake Blue Devil SS:
Appreciate you chiming in on the faux Blue Devil ruse, even if your opinion is obviously different from that of our publication. It’s certainly a debate worth having, and we encourage you to continue to discuss the matter in your (and any other) forum. That said, by hosting and posting our copyrighted material, you are breaking the law, and we would appreciate it if you’d remove all Winding Road material immediately. You are welcome to link to our magazine or website (or, if you prefer not to do so, that is fine as well),but screen captures of our text and images are illegal and will be treated as such.
Please let us know of your compliance within 48 hours. Thank you for your time.
So here is where I see the hypocrisy in this request, which by the way, I have honored. Winding Road created a lie that they hoped would spread across the internet and it worked. AutoWeek, MotorTrend and others all picked up on the lie as well as enthusiast sites like the forums and of course, us. Winding Road didn’t spread the lie, but because they created it, they are ultimately responsible. Now, when it comes to the truth being told and setting the record straight, they don’t want that information out there. They want to control it. A publicity stunt where the prize is measured in page views and downloads. This is why their “ruse” as they put it, has ultimately caused them more backlash then I think they expected.
Here are some quotes from Chris Doane and Brenda Priddy:
If I had to guess, Autoweek, Motor Trend and The Car Connection aren’t laughing. All of these outlets published the photos of the fake car on their websites believing it to be an authentic GM prototype. It was, after all, a fairly convincing forgery. Needless to say, this obviously doesn’t make those outlets look good in the credibility department. Some of you may think these media outlets don’t have any credibility to begin with. That’s fine if you think that, but we’re talking solely about this particular incident.
I was a bit disappointed when I heard about the “prank”. Frankly, my major concern was that our actual “spy photos” would lose their value – their creditability. I’ve already had dozens of e-mails from readers questioning our Blue Devil / Stingray photos, which are in fact actual General Motors’ prototypes.
I take the stance that had this prank been pulled by a couple of guys somewhere, well okay, very funny, you got me. For years the media tells us not to believe what we see on the Internet. Those of us who make their living online certainly know that to be true, and Winding Road should too. There is an old saying about how a bear doesn’t shit in his own cave. And that’s exactly what Winding Road did. They were the bear and we were the cave. It’s just now dawning on them they have to live in the cave too.
| Winding Road
I did not speak nor solicit the quotes from Chris Doane and Brenda Priddy directly. Therefore, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of said quotes at this time. While they did come from a respected online automotive blog, unless I get a sworn deposition that is notarized and contains verifiable DNA from both Mr. Doane and Ms. Priddy, we will not be able to stand behind these remarks as either truthful or accurate. Welcome to the new world of automotive journalism, courtesy of Winding Road.