This one is funny, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it shows everybody’s favorite troll, Deadweight, in full-on Baruth Derangement Syndrome mode. Guys like this fail to understand the economics of the internet—if you really hate me so much, the absolute WORST way to protest me is to click on everything I write, read every word of it, and then leave a comment. Seriously, that’s a triple fail.
The other reason that this is such a poor troll is that he’s protesting a guy who has literally made it his job to call out unethical behavior in others. I am the reason that TTAC has a disclosure policy. You can read my arguments for it here. I have never accepted anything over $50 in value from an OEM, and I’ve left a few presents behind at the hotel that were excessive in nature.
Let me go ahead and recap everything I’ve ever accepted from a manufacturer in my five years in this “business.”
- Flights, hotels, and meals for five trips (Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Acura NSX, Lotus Evora 400, VW Golf AllTrack, Acura NSX GT3) when I was writing reviews for Jalopnik. On those trips, Hyundai gave everybody a pair of Rainbow sandals. Acura gave me an NSX GT3 hat. VW gave me a water bottle and a lunch bag with “ALLTRACK” on them. EDIT: I forgot a trip I took for TTAC to review the Toyota Highlander. Same deal—flight, hotel, and meals.
- One more night of hotel and a dinner when I took a tour of the Acura NSX plant, which I did not write up because AutoGuide was on the same trip and, thus, TTAC wasn’t interested in running it.
- The use of an NSX and a Civic Type R for running in the SCCA’s Targa Southland event, and the use of a Honda Odyssey Elite for a family vacation this summer (which, regrettably, has not run anywhere yet, but should be on TTAC in the early part of the new year).
- Hyundai handed out gloves with the Hyundai logo on them at the Detroit Auto Show last year. I reluctantly accepted them because my hands were so cold I thought they might fall off.
That’s it. In a world where it’s flat-out common to be flown to Europe for a week of vacation, or to be gifted a “long-term loaner,” I’ve accepted nothing that wasn’t essential to the task of reviewing the car, and I’ve been painfully honest in my reviews.
Despite this lack of OEM love and attention, I’ve managed to write and publish over 300 car-related articles on the interwebs. That means that over 97% of my published work has been the result of my own spend. For example, in my reviews of EXR’s arrive-and-drive series and driver’s school, I paid for my hotel, airfare, and meals. I’ve done dozens of rental reviews. I either paid entirely for those rentals or had my employer reimburse me partially for the work-related portion of my rental.
In the case of this Formula X Autocross review, I paid for my flight, my rental car, and my hotel. They provided bottled water and a cheese tray. That’s it.
In other words, nobody in this business has done more work for fewer skymiles, hotel points, or swag than I have. Nobody.
So if you wanna call out shills, bark up another tree, because it ain’t me.