2 years, 10 months ago
WARNING: Cynicism Alert.
Is it just me or does this article, “Resurgent GM Nips At Toyota’s Heels In Sales Race,” by Tom Krisher of the Associated Press strike anyone else as fawning and full of half-truths and omissions?
Here is the opening paragraph:
The resurgent automaker reported Monday that its worldwide sales last year came within 30,000 of beating Japanese rival Toyota, which took a big hit because of safety recalls.
There is part of me that wants to believe that this actually true, that GM (erstwhile known as “Government Motors” since the Federal bailout in 2009) is actually turning things around. But then the cynic in me chimes in.
“Wait it minute,” that voice says. “Isn’t this the same Associated Press that has shilled for Obama without shame since the 2008 Presidential election cycle? This good news wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that the GM bailout is one of the centerpieces of Obama’s claim to have actually accomplished something of value in his first, two years? Failure of GM equates to failure of Obama and his Big Government philosophy.”
No, I reply, that is crazy talk. Paranoid. This is the Associated Press.
Taking a closer look at the article, it does mention that Toyota took a “big hit because of safety recalls.” How big of a hit? Why, the article doesn’t say. Funny, too, that the AP fails to mention that the gains in sales that came at the expense of Toyota resulted, in large part, from aggressive buyer incentives such as zero interest rates and favorable trade-in terms.
And, as Megan Mcardle pointed out in an article in The Atlantic in April, 2010, troubling clouds loom over GM in the form of unfunded pension liabilities that will need to be paid starting in 2013.
According to a January 11, 2011 article in The Wall Street Journal, the sale of new stock in GM did not go very well for U.S. taxpayers either, but, oh well. The WSJ article is also optimistic but, unlike the AP article, does not fail to mention the fact that GM stock price would have to reach at least $53 per share just for taxpayers to break even for the $50 Billion bailout. The GM IPO in November 2010 was a lowly $33 per share. But great news! It is now trading at $38.91 per share! It just has to rise another 26%. Let me know if you are getting any returns like that on investments.
The point is that the article by AP’s Tom Krisher does not ask any of the hard questions. In fact, it doesn’t ask any questions at all. It reads like a GM press release. I do not claim to be a journalism major nor steeped in the code of journalistic ethics, but from a consumer standpoint and as one who looks to news accounts for both sides of any issue, this article is worrisome. Nothing in life is completely one-sided. There is no such thing as unmitigated success or disaster. Yet this AP piece is all sunshine and smiles.
A quick check of other articles by Mr. Krisher indicates that he has written quite a few, very positive articles on General Motors and Chrylser with almost unseemly titles since November 2009.
It is yet another example of how the news media in this country continue to fail American citizens, and fail them miserably with one-sided accounts. This is the very kind of thing that makes all of us cynical and distrustful of media outlets.
And to make the cynicism complete, all indications about Obama’s State of the Union address are that he will focus on economics and the resilience of U.S. companies in competitive global markets. Nice how Krisher’s article dovetails with that theme, just a couple days before it is delivered.
This stinks to me of Government Press. Whether this AP article actually resulted from coordination with the Administration, it certainly has the appearance of it. The Associated Press and its writers have a duty to report the good AND the bad AND the ugly. This article, at the very least, fails that test.
But I doubt that anyone at GM or in the White House will be complaining.