Chrysler's 2009 auto show backgrounder was closed to bloggers, on the mistaken belief that they present an information security threat. The traditional media responded by leaking Chrysler's embargoed information to the blogs anyway.
The Big Three's traditional round of "backgrounder" preview events for the media took place this week, giving the manufacturers a chance to reveal embargoed details for the upcoming auto show season and give automotive journalists a head-start as to what can be expected from this year's round of concept cars. It's business as usual, and it allows the media to frame stories in advance, awaiting final details.
This year, however, Chrysler decided to exclude the bloggers. Though blogs like Jalopnik.com and Autoblog.com are getting just as much respect as the established magazines from most corners of the industry, Chrysler's director of Product and Brand Communications, Rick Deneau, shut the bloggers out on the mistaken belief that the Internet news sites were more likely to leak pertinent details and break the information embargoes.
Freed from the constraints of non-disclosure agreements (and probably more than a little disgruntled), Jalopnik, Autoblog and others were all too happy to scoop Chrysler's entire auto show season thanks to leaks from other sources--possibly even members of the "traditional" media who were at the event. Ironically, there's a good chance that Chrysler's embargo wouldn't have been broken if it weren't for Deneau's decision to offend the blogs--who attended GM and Ford's presentations without leaking any details.