Jalopnik, TTAC, Mommy blogs and Journalism 101


"I hear Playtex is giving out free binkies. To the Volvo!!"


Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars are foaming at the mouth over the following:


The gist is this: Crissy Someb0dy-or-Other has something I’d rather carve my eyes out than read: A “mommy blog.”

Anyhoo, she’s up in arms because somebody from a network of these things (I can’t believe we need more than one) contacted her (and a whole lot of other women who write these things), offering her a $10 Amazon gift card if she’d write a positive blog post talking about the recent news that Toyota‘s been exonerated by NHTSA for the unintended acceleration hoo-ha over the last couple of years.

Toyota denies any involvement. I tend to believe Toyota only because I know the PR and Marketing machines at Toyota are a little too busy trying to move iron to undertake this kind of penny ante bullshit. I do think that when the story finally comes out, we’ll find that it may have been some contracted firm that went ahead and did this.

Regardless: The folks over at Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars are all atwitter at this egregious affront to journalistic integrity.

Yes, how lucky we are that that bastion of journalistic integrity, DearChrissy.com, has resisted the lure of a $10 gift card.

How ever could we trust her in-depth binky reviews or tips on nipple moisturization, if we felt that she’d been tainted by Toyota’s filthy lucre?!

Secondly, the chick came right out and asked for it. If you click her “Ads & PR” link, you’ll note that she calls her site a “PR-Friendly blog” and openly solicits things like product demos or giveaways. You got cash? She’ll even let you sponsor her Facebook or twitter posts!

This is what’s known in the media business as a “whore”:  Somebody who’ll say anything for a free lunch, a windbreaker and a totebag. Only most times, you don’t get to see this kind of editorial ethics policy in black and white. At least with DearChrissy, you know where you stand.

So Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars got their panties in a bunch and jumped the gun: This, friends, is why you don’t see stories like this in actual “publications” that have some semblance of “journalistic integrity.” The do the hard work, they do the research, and they tend not to get overheated on rumor and innuendo.

Blogs are fun to read, but they ain’t the newspaper, folks.


About Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald is an automotive writer, photographer and editor with credits in Hemmings Motor New, the Boston Globe, Forbes, the Washington Post, Esquire and BoldRide.com
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