Put to the Test

Consumer Reports cuts back

Since 1936 testers for Consumer Reports magazine have been pinching, poking and probing just about everything Americans buy. Each month the magazine issues tersely worded critiques of toasters, breakfast cereals, cars and other products. But now the publication is undergoing public testing of its own. Financial losses are growing and employee morale is shrinking at the magazine's headquarters in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Making matters even worse, Consumer Reports has just lost its first libel case in more than 40 years of product testing.

These setbacks come as policy feuds within the organization have boiled into the open. In December...

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