Want to look petty, uncooperative, unsympathetic and downright stupid in the face of a crisis? Then do what the Southeastern Toyota dealers did yesterday.
In a reaction to what Toyota dealers feel are excessive negative news stories about the ongoing product problems and subsequent recalls, they have pulled their advertising from ABC affiliates in their area. I have two words for them: not smart.
If the dealers feel the coverage is false or unfair they should take ABC to court or file a grievance with the FCC and run ads that tell their side of the story.
Pulling their ads will have no positive effect on the coverage of the story by ABC. No matter how much the sales departments of those individual affiliates want the money, ABC News cannot back down on the story. Corporate blackmail has never been a very smart strategy with the news media. But then again no one ever accused car dealers of being smart or ethical.