I wouldn't bet on CR so much. They thought the Pinto was a great car. Also, their reviews on electronics are almost always outdated. Not really their fault as technology changes at an exponential rate where there publications are set to a linear time line.
As far as your scenario. I think it is more the norm than the exception. I remember a business ethics teacher trying to tell a class that many of the payola and "Gifting' was a thing of the past due to Government safeguards.
I had gone back to college so had already been in business for some ten years. I informed him that he spent too many days in Academia. He quickly rebutted. I asked him why Doctors couldn't have their seminars in Toledo where there are great facilities instead of Hawaii.
I used to throw lavish parties with all the amnesties you mentioned and then some for my client base once a year before contract negotiations came up for the business I was in. My competitors did the same and we each tried to one up the other. Ummmm hey teacher we were bribing them to do business with us.
I have worked in radio some 25 years and this still continues with exactly what you stated as we were told not to tarnish the name of some clients that walked the line on ethics.
After buying the GJC 2005 that had great write ups and then the 2007 AT X3 that both were POS imo and later down the road many car publications back peddled on their reviews I will never trust any car or website that takes any advertising where the editors are not John (or Joan) Q public. Public forums are the only way to judge a car imo nowadays and in some cases even they can be sneaky and have sneaker-bots writing positive stuff for them.
2013 S4 Loaded (and NO RFT's) Awesome is an understatement
2008 MT X3
RIP you were a faithful sidekick and will be missed.
2007 AT X3 RIPOS
2000 Jeep Cherokee
1997 Twin Turbo RX-7
1984 GTI Wolfsburg Edition Neuspeed and more
Last edited by Evlengr; 12-03-2012 at 12:02 AM.