Hit Piece

by

We’ve learned ABC will soon air a misleading story, “Recall Roulette” that mischaracterizes our efforts to prevent free classified ads for recalled sale items by craigslist users, and falsely accuses us of not cooperating with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Ignoring email and phone calls from craigslist with our side of this “story”, ABC News chose instead to ambush our largely-retired founder, Craig Newmark, outside his home on November 11.

This is not responsible journalism. Here is an email from our Director of Government Relations, sent to Brian Ross at ABC on November 4, complete with a follow-up call to make sure he understood it:

Brian,

Your request for an interview with Craig Newmark was forwarded to me.

Craig has not been involved in management at craigslist for many years, and has no role in government relations. He has never spoken to the CPSC about craigslist policy to my knowledge, and I have been managing goverment relations for craigslist for several years.

On the other hand, I did have a conversation with CPSC folks this spring, including Ray Aragon, Marc Schoem, and Dennis Blasius.

You should know that craigslist (1) prohibits the sale of recalled items; (2) notifies its users that posting recalled items for sale is prohibited; (3) deploys automated systems to help prevent posting of recalled items (4) provides a system whereby users can flag recalled items for removal; and (5) removes recalled items that come to its attention.

Based on what I learned in conversation with CPSC personnel, craigslist has further minimized the posting of recalled items by craigslist users. A very positive result, and one that the CPSC seemed to appreciate.

We have not heard from the CPSC since the conclusion of these productive talks 6 months ago. As always, our door remains open.

This email, and our calls to ABC (not to mention craigslist’s progress on recall items in collaboration with CPSC) fell on deaf ears. If you’re doing a hit piece, you don’t want facts getting in the way.

Recall Roulette? More like Journalistic Ethics Roulette.

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