GM reflects on pulling ads from 'LA Times'

LOS ANGELES: After resuming ?some? advertising with the Los Angeles Times, automaker GM said its decision to withhold ad dollars from the paper over editorial disputes is a move it does not regret.

LOS ANGELES: After resuming ?some? advertising with the Los Angeles Times, automaker GM said its decision to withhold ad dollars from the paper over editorial disputes is a move it does not regret.

"Does it make us look like bullies? Yes, to some it probably does," said GM's director of executive communications & corporate news Brian Akre. But, he added, others have been "praising our executives for standing up to the Times."

Akre said that the issue was resolved following a number of discussions between GM and the editorial leaders of the paper. GM's VP of communications "sent them a letter detailing our concerns with various stories," he said. "Subsequently, they took that and did an in-house investigation of our complaints." Akre said that the car company and the paper then had "several conference-call meetings where we talked at some length about the issues involved,"

Although the Times declined to run a correction, a decision that GM "disagreed" with, according to Akre, "we were impressed that they took our complaints seriously, and we have a better understanding of their position."

LA Times VP of communications Martha Goldstein declined to comment on the matter beyond the paper's statement that "we had productive conversations with GM. While we didn't see a need to run a correction, we did listen to their concerns."

Akre also added that GM never intended to make the withdraw of its advertising a public matter, but was forced to speak with reporters after the story leaked out.

"There is this incorrect sense that we announced this, made a public statement about this, when in fact we considered this a private matter between us and the Times," he said. "We weren't trying to make any statement to the media by pulling our ads."

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