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Internal Culture at General Motors

Allegedly Designed to Downplay Problem Words GM training guide says employees should not use revealed amid new recall included "defect."
1:40 | 05/17/14

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Transcript for Internal Culture at General Motors
It was last night here we reported on the $35 million fine the government has now levied against general motors for its handling of the faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. Tonight a new document from inside the car company revealed including a list of words employees were allegedly told not to use. Here's ABC news Susan saulny. Reporter: The investigation leading to that $35 million fine also revealing tonight an internal culture at gm designed to downplay problems. According to a confidential presentation from 2008 obtained by government investigators, G.M. Instructed workers not to use certain words in reports about gm products. It listed 68 specific examples including avoiding the word defect itself. Crippling, serious, and explode were not to be used. Even mundane words like always and bad were stricken, apparently fearing they could hurt the company down the road. Not surprisingly, more vivid descriptions like deathtrap and widow-maker were also banned from reports. The training guide went so far as to suggest alternative phrases. Problem for instance was to be replaced by issue, condition or matter. General motors is excluding from the dictionary every word that could possibly indicate a defect. Reporter: Government regulators uncovered the document while investigating gm's safety practices, accusing the automaker of being a lawbreaker. Literally, silence can kill. Reporter: ABC news reached out to G.M. The company says it's learned a lot from the recall and is aiming to be an industry leader when it comes to safety. David? Thank you, Susan.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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