ABC 7 is breathlessly reporting that Craigslist is playing "recall roulette," a snappy accusation that the classified advertising website is allowing the sale of dangerous items. But Craigslist calls the story a "hit piece" and "misleading" in a blog post, quipping in turn: "Recall Roulette? More like Journalistic Ethics Roulette."
In a bit of investigative jujitsu, ABC 7 On Your Side — which brags it was the first to report on safety concerns with a children's chair called the Bumbo seat — "was able to purchase a recalled Bumbo chair after seeing an ad on Craigslist." Subsequently, the news station and Craigslist have very different stories about who wouldn't call whom back. Fortunately, ABC 7 scored this in-depth interview with the "largely retired" (according to the company) Craiglist founder, Craig Newmark.
"Craigslist denied 7 On Your Side's request for an interview, but Ross caught up with its founder, Craig Newmark.
Ross: "The Consumer Product Safety Commission is very upset with Craigslist and what it's been doing with product recalls."
Newmark: "I've already responded."
Ross: "You haven't answered our questions. We want to get your answers and your side of the story. Is it not possible to get your side of the story?"
Wait, were those questions? Maybe Craigslist is more accurate in their description of the "interview" as an "ambush." Here's more from ABC:
Newmark refused to answer any questions, but a spokesman by email said Craigslist "deploys automated systems to help prevent posting of recalled items... and has further minimized the posting of recalled items by Craigslist users."
And here's the Craigslist response:
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.
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."
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.
Alright then. Anyway, where is ABC 7 gonna sell that Bumbo chair now? eBay?