Ducati to Cycle World: You’re a Bunch of Liars

08/05/2010 @ 8:33 am, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

On Tuesday night we were delighted to see that American print magazine Cycle World had gotten a chance to sit down with Ducati Motor Holdings CEO Gabriele del Torchio, and talk about the future of Ducati, the upcoming power-cruiser, and of course Valentino Rossi. To our surprise, del Torchio seemingly spilled the beans about Rossi moving over to Ducati, and so we, like many other sites, jumped on the news and published it.

This article of course has surprised the folks in Bologna, who have released a statement saying that the Italian brand has not signed Rossi, and that Cycle World‘s article “misreported” the facts. This is of course Ducati saying politely that Cycle World made the quotes up, which regardless if it’s true or not, is a sizeable issue for motorcycle publications and their readers.

The issue at stake is trust: either del Torchio said these quotes, or he didn’t, which means someone is lying to us the public. If Cycle World did indeed fabricate these quotes as Ducati is suggesting, it shows a major breach in journalistic integrity. It’s hard to believe how such an important story being published by the largest American motorcycle publication did not go through some sort of fact checking procedure, either by listening to the interview tape or checking with Ducati Motor Holdings. Considering how often print publications like to tout their journalistic integrity over say…web-based publications, this is perhaps the most glaring reminder that the medium doesn’t make publication (there is a certain irony of course that the article was publish on CycleWorld.com).

From what we know, Cycle World did not contact Ducati for external confirmation. A journalistic faux pas, but still this however isn’t terribly surprising considering the landscape that’s formed in the motorcycle industry. Without picking up the phone, Cycle World Managing Editor Matthew Miles likely already knew the response he’d get from Bologna, which is the same response we’re seeing the Italian company hand out now: Ducati has not signed Valentino Rossi.

This of course doesn’t absolve CW from publishing what’s panning out to be an untruthful story, but you have to at least consider the fact even if del Torchio did make those quotes, Ducati would likely still have denied the story. This is because the trust has been lost between companies and journalists, and the default protocol to handle a damaging story is to deny it, whether it’s true or not. With a story like Rossi going to Ducati, which has been touted in so many publications as done deal (including A&R), a denial from Ducati serves only to weaken the trust we have in communications with the company, since so many people believe the truth is contrary to what they are saying, and thus see that denial as being un-faithful.

In this specific case with Cycle World, the truth would be readily apparent if portion of the tape where del Torchio talks about Rossi was released, but it seems no such quote exists. The last we heard about the issue was that CW would be retracting the story, although it still remains, along with a blog post advertising the breaking news, on the Cycle World website. Trust is something that takes a long time to forge, but only moments to break.

Ducati Motor Holdings Press Release Regarding the Cycle World Article:

Bologna, Italy ( 4 August 2010) – Regarding the recent allegations attributed to Gabriele Del Torchio – Ducati CEO and President- Ducati states that no agreement has been reached with motorcycle riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in regards to the 2011 MotoGP season, although our interest in these riders remains.  The recent report which has appeared on the US web site www.CycleWorld.com has been misreported and is attributed to the many rumors circulating as of late.

If and when an agreements are reached, official press releases will be issued.

  • Looks like CW yanked the text about Rossi.

    I have a really hard time believing CW made this up.

  • johnson

    Cycle World:

  • Faceplanter

    Who gives a crap.

  • @skadamo

    What posts are you looking at? I still see it here and here.

  • Sean Mitchell

    OR he really did say that, but Ducati’s trying to save face due to their “gentlemen’s agreement” with Yamaha, and dragging CW’s name through the mud?

    It’s all quite rediculous, whichever side of it is true.

  • Pingback: Asphalt_Rubber()

  • jamesy

    What’s important here is that Rossi will keep racing his butt off for Yamaha despite having no shot at the championship. And that is as predictable as his upcoming move. Burgess will be a big part of it as usual and I’m GUESSING its his contract $$$$$$$ that’s “not complete” giving Duc a way to save face.

  • MikeL

    I find it more than mildly amusing that A&R publish a story about journalistic integrity that includes such defining statements as ‘From what we know, Cycle World did not contact Ducati….’
    Did you call Miles at CW and ask him? That would be journalism! I suspect that when Rossi is announced at Brno as joining Ducati, the hoopla will be such that CW’s real journalism that broke the story definitively will be forgotten. As for ‘web journalism’ I don’t see a lot of original material from so called ‘news sites’, but I do see a lot of sideline quarterbacking.

  • JDW

    @MikeL – so true!

  • Yeah. I hate it when A&R breaks news before it’s news. Like today for example:


  • @Jenson, I was looking at the link you originally used as a source. search must have failed me, my bad.

    @Faceplanter I care because CycleWorld needs to start breaking news online to stay relevant. Otherwise A&R will continue to overtake. :D Unfortunately CW, like all big visibility brands has a big fat target on its head. Ducati knows they can bully and muscle them around.

    I love seeing A&R / Jensen and crew kick ass but have been reading CW since I had the cash to buy a stack at a local garage sale. I would hate to see A&R to win without a fight. LOL. ;)

    If Cycle World pulled the information about Rossi I would say they might as well hang it up, shows over, enjoy the traffic Jensen, print can’t do web. Sorry, I can’t help love the drama.

  • It’s actually really interesting to see how Cycle World handles all this. Looks like they’re content with keeping the quote up, and just putting Ducati’s press release at the start of the article.

    It’ll be a lot of fun when Brno is over, and everything that’s being said offline can finally come to the surface. The sad part is you’ll read it here almost immediately afterwards, and read it on CW sometime in 2011. Was that too low of a blow?

    In all fairness, this web thing isn’t that hard. CW and the rest just need to pull their heads out of their asses and ask the question: “Is it better for A&R to siphon off their readers, or CW-online?”

    I have a feeling that decision lies more in the hands of the publishing house, and not the individual publications.

  • jamesy

    Hmmm, news about the news.. YAWNNN!

  • Trelman

    Er, A&R, did you contact Matt Miles at Cycle World for “external confirmation” of your little scenario before prattling on about breaches in integrity? No? Oops, your own “journalist faux pas” is showing.

    You know exactly what happened here: Del Torchio was quoted correctly, he just spoke too soon, and cycleworld.com scooped everyone, including A&R. To pretend otherwise just to get a dig in at the competition is, at best, disingenuous.

    Before you call someone else a liar, best to have your own house in order…

  • jamesy

    Could not be said better than that Trelman! And to think that it is ALL about those color pix blinking on the right hand column and the revenue therefrom makes it all the less pretty.
    Wheew!, Cant tell if thats sour grapes or doodoo I’m smelling…

  • NoBody

    Isn’t there some new TV show about an “adult” moving back in with his parents because he couldn’t make a living blogging?

    Or are you already there?

    Ever see any references to Asphalt and Rubber (hence referred to as AsRub for brevity) on CW? There’s a reason for that.

    This site reminds me more and more of some punk at the elementary school playground making faces at the adults driving by. Yeah, his fellow children will twitter about how cool it is that they are making fun of the old people, but, in fact, they are irrelevant and are being ignored by everyone else making a living.