By William B. Mead
In 1965, I was named Detroit bureau manager for United Press International, a formidable worldwide news organization. Detroit then was the nation’s fifth most populous city and its economy was strong, thanks to the Big Three auto makers–General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.
The three companies eagerly showed off their new models to the press by offering “loaners”–new cars you could borrow, often with no deadline for return. I worried that this amounted to bribery, but the public relations reps assured us that they were not investing in favorable coverage. No, they just wanted journalists to be familiar with their newest models.