DETROIT: General Motors has launched gmfactsandfiction.com, which disputes what the company says are “myths” about it.
In a relatively simple layout, the site, which debuted September 5, counters circulating beliefs, such as that GM cars are not as fuel-efficient as imports, and that the company seeks a “government bailout.” Tom Wilkinson, director of news relations, said these items are easily disproved through various independent sources to which the site links.
He conceded that the site breaks with the traditional PR rule of avoiding repetition of false or negative information, but added that the speed at which rumors spread on the Web makes it worth it.
“The site sort of violates the first rule of PR, which is don't repeat the negative,” Wilkinson said. “But what we find with the Internet... is that misinformation gets out there, and it goes through a number of news cycles without people stepping back and saying, ‘Is this true?'”
Wilkinson says editorial-staff reductions at small and midsize papers, fewer editors reading copy, and a lack of editorial oversight at blogs lead to a rise in false information being printed.
GM's PR team reached out to traditional and online media to promote the site. Wilkinson acts as the primary writer and editor of its content, and MS&L Digital in Ann Arbor, MI, designed and hosts the site.