Warner Todd Huston
MSNBC pronounces auto industry 'needs' bailout, says Republicans tell industry to 'drop dead'
By Warner Todd Huston
November 17, 2008

Well, I guess that settles it. We don't need any political discussion or economist's studies. The auto industry officially needs a bailout. It's just a fact. After all, MSNBC and BusinessWeek have just said it. The auto industry "needs" one or it cannot survive. Oh, yeah, and MSNBC is also informing the world that Republicans have told auto workers to "drop dead." I think this is what the Old Media calls "news."

This story by David Kiley of BusinessWeek is amazing for its assumptions, pronouncements and slanted anti-capatilist rhetoric and it boggles the mind that it could be called journalism. It certainly isn't "news" because of all the personal opinions that Kiley pads this thing with, anyway.

Of course, as with most of these opinion pieces disguised as news we start with a slanted headline: Republicans to Detroit: Drop dead — stated as "Republicans" want the businesses in Detroit to be destroyed. The sub-head continues the lies: GOP opposes bailout for automakers, even if it means bankruptcy — no the GOP just doesn't want to fund the bad business practices and union malfeasance that has put Detroit in this condition in the first place and they also don't want to continue the same failure on the public's dime. No Republican wants to see America's car manufacturers to go bankrupt.

So, right off, with the first 15 words of this faux news item we get a misconstruction of the Republican position.

Naturally, it gets more ridiculous with each passing paragraph.

In the very first paragraph, for instance, we get this Old Media scribbler pronouncing that the auto makers "need" a bailout.

    Democrats may have been the big victors on Election Day. But the Republicans still in charge in the White House and representing a possibly immovable minority in the Senate may keep the U.S. auto industry from getting the help it needs before Barack Obama is inaugurated as President in January.

Who says the auto industry is not "getting the help it needs" to survive? Who says they "need" it? I guess David Kiley just did. So, that settles it. David is the man!

But, wait. Kiley will say it isn't only he that claims the bailout is necessary. He offers us this...

    Without at least $15 billion in loans, General Motors, say insiders, could face bankruptcy next year. The total loan package sought by Democrats for automakers and their suppliers could be as high as $50 billion, a number floated by aides to President-elect Obama.

Ah, yes. He takes the word of the failures from General Motors and Democrats (and by extension the jobs killing unions) as to who "needs" a bailout. He takes the word of the people responsible for destroying their own profitability with cars no one wants and union deals that strangle competitiveness. That is the barometer of "need" for David Kiley. Got it? Good.

Kiley then lists a plethora of questions that some stuffy Senate banking committee will ask the auto execs in the coming weeks. There's questions about liquidity, about paying back the bailout, there's questions about guarantees and how they got that way. But one major question seems to be left off that list.

Who is going to scale back the destructive unions?

Did you know that in 2006 alone, unions forced the auto makers to spend $750 to $900 million on workers that sat in a room for 8 hours a day and did nothing just so they wouldn't lose their jobs? Is this the sort of "business" practice that assures profitability? Is this the sort of practice that the American people's taxes should be wasted on?

Up to $900 million dollars wasted on union stupidity... and this is only one small example of such waste as there are many, many more. Why isn't THAT being asked in Kiley's piece or the Senate banking committee? Of course, the reason is, neither Kiley, nor the Democrat controlled Senate banking committee are interested in any real reasons why Detroit is a failure. They only want to protect their political money train.

Farther down in the story, Kiley at last gives some Republicans a chance to say a word or two. Still, however, Kiley couches it in a sort of disclaimer, one that seems aimed to cause the reader some doubt that the Republicans against this bailout could be in the right.

    For all the Democratic support to help the auto companies, the opposition by Republicans is just as strident. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee, said: "The financial straits that the Big Three find themselves is not the product of our current economic downturn, but instead is the legacy of the uncompetitive structure of its manufacturing and labor force." He added: "I do not support the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to reward the mismanagement of Detroit-based auto manufacturers in such a way that allows them to continue and compound their ongoing mistakes."

Shelby is dead on with his comments, of course. But notice how Kiley tries to massage the reader into wondering why the Democrats could be so united, "for all the Democratic support," and how they want to "help the auto companies," yet Republicans still show "opposition." As far as Kiley is concerned, Democrats equal "help" but Republicans seem to be just mean, fractious, and insanely against the poor, innocent auto makers.

Kiley drones on and on with his "news" piece, but it never really gets any more newsworthy than he began. Suffice to say he has decided that the auto industry is the victim of mean ol' Republicans that want them to fail. He has pronounced it. And he has gotten the word of the true guilty parties to back him up on that absurd pronouncement.

This is what MSNBC and BusinessWeek call "journalism."

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

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