By on June 3, 2009

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76 Comments on “Farago on Al Jazeera: Inside Story – General Motors Bankruptcy – 02 June 09...”


  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    so thats what u look like.

    also i agree with you, gm should have been allowed to fail. I hope this works out.

  • avatar
    paulie

    RF…I cannot think of a better description than yours.
    A drug addict with a drug dealer as a sponsor.
    Holy Crap…that was beautiful!

    And I HATE it when Obama and other speakers say “I want to be truthful with you”…
    Really?
    No kidding?
    And what were you doing just prior to you saying that..being not so frank???

    Lastly, IF we are being warned by the prez that people involved and dependant upon GM all these years will now face hard times and job loss, why did he get involved to begin with?
    Why not just let that happen without our 100 Bazillions????

  • avatar
    Phillip

    You forgot to say death to America.

  • avatar
    ExtraO

    Just saw the video at Google news. Good for you, Robert, you went on AlJazeera and they gave you the last word!…

    You know it’s so amazing, the way a lot of the Detroit debacle is discussed in the media & by gov’t officials, i.e. it’s mainly a financial question & if we just give these yo-yo’s enough money to “tide them over” this rough period in the economy while they close down some of their excess capacity, everything will be cool. Very little mention of the end result of all those years of crap management; the crap product, that has been the driving factor in loss of market share. Still clueless one year from now, indeed. Leaner, meaner & they’ll still be a day late & a dollar short. 40 years of world class foul-ups will not be cured in a 90 day “bankruptcy”.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I was disappointed.

    I had read on the other thread that the jihadis would fill the segment with Holocaust denial and thirty minutes of analysis from al Qaeda’s Automotive Analysis Mullah, so my expectations for Jerry Spring-levels of rancor were high. Instead, I saw a level-headed, well moderated discussion, which was lacking Glenn Beck’s weeping and assorted ventures into performance art.

    Allah forbid that we possibly think that them Ay-rabs could do a better job with an interview program than the Fox team. If it doesn’t involve O’Reilly ranting, it can’t possibly be fair and balanced.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Did they have a monitor on your side (so you can view the action), or camera-only?

    Next time, I’d add a few numbers or tidbits to boost credibility instead of excessive editorializing.

  • avatar

    agenthex:

    Camera only.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I love the part about how if we didn’t spend 100 billion on this fiasco we would have seen economic collapse. WTF does Mr. Professor think is going on right now? No one is going to invest in companies the same way again as long as they remember how the investors were screwed in favor of labor this time.

    The world will still revolve without GM.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Allah forbid that we possibly think that them Ay-rabs could do a better job with an interview program than the Fox team.

    Imagine their shock if we were to inform them that RF is Jewish!!1!elevens!!

    Well to be fair they’d still let him on, but maybe they’d caption him as “The Jew”, just like how american programs are now reduced to interviewing caricatures.

    U S A ! U S A !

  • avatar

    Robert, You’re in Providence RI?

    TTAC Boston meet?

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Very measured and polished, Robert, well done.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    A cocaine addict and a cocaine dealer. THAT was priceless, something we would never hear in our media with the puffball questions and such. That needed to be said. Right between the eyes. Kapowee!

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Excellent.

    I have watched Al Jazeera for a long time. They got the Icelandic meltdown right 18 months before it happened; and they called the subprime crisis (as well as the CDS problem).

    What I like is that they give people time to talk, without the point-counterpoint nonsense on other stations.

    Yes – GM will still tank, but we’ll be out 200 Billion Dolares Americanos before the realization is general.
    If, at least, they had stated at the outset that a new course would be set. As you said, dead company walking. More money for more of the same.

    The problem is that the companies which didn’t screw up are penalized by the government bailing out idiot management.

  • avatar

    Been watching video, good job taking the Professor from Berkley on.

    I hope you end up on more networks saying this stuff, because someone should be paying attention.

    http://www-geography.berkeley.edu/PeopleHistory/faculty/H_Shaiken.html

    Also, apparently, Mr. Shaiken is a Geography professor. Just food for thought.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    They couldn’t get someone from the economics dept or IEOR? Or didn’t want to bother?

    An IEOR (Industrial Engineering/Operations Research) prof on GM would be amusingly brutal.

    http://ieor.berkeley.edu

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I just watched it again and realize I missed something. Harley Shaiken is the crack addict.

  • avatar
    Boston

    Nice job Robert. I would ask for my money back if I took a class with that Professor.

  • avatar
    unleashed

    Allah forbid that we possibly think that them Ay-rabs could do a better job with an interview program than the Fox team. If it doesn’t involve O’Reilly ranting, it can’t possibly be fair and balanced.

    Why, o, why do you guys have to bring up Fox news???
    Is it any relevant to this thread?
    Fox news is there to balance out CNN.

    Deal with that!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Why, o, why you guys have to bring up Fox news???

    Because on the other thread related to this interview, there were some conservatives who were critical of Mr. Farago doing this segment, based upon inaccurate assumptions.

    Fox news is there to balance out CNN.

    That doesn’t explain why the quality of it sucks.

    I don’t mind that it’s conservative. It’s the low quality that offends me.

    Interviews on Fox are not really interviews. They’re just rants by the presenter, offered in the form of a question. If I watch an interview, I’m doing so because I want to hear the guest, not to listen to the interviewer talk over or suck up to the guest. Fox is tabloid television, not real news.

  • avatar
    .kamm.

    “Why, o, why do you guys have to bring up Fox news???
    Is it any relevant to this thread?
    Fox news is there to balance out CNN.

    Deal with that!”

    What a load of…

    …there’s NO MATCH in the US for FauxNews, this instigative, agents-of-hate video channel (no, it’s not news.)

  • avatar
    brettc

    I enjoyed it, thought RF did a pretty decent job with the crazy Geography professor and the angry looking British dude. If only they’d have discussions like this on US based channels.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Good work, RF. You certainly seems to have a well developed bullshit detector. Cutting through all the bullshit crap seems to be the number one priority when discussing these things publicly. Astute, and to the point.

  • avatar
    tedward

    First of all this is piece was far more content rich, with a better quality of expressed opinion, than any roundtable discussion on the auto industry I’ve seen from our mainstream domestic media. That is really embarassing. Seriously, I feel shamed, and I’m not even part of the industry.

    You nailed the management point, not that anyone opposed that assertion, but you didn’t adequately explain why you think this particular intervention is bound to lead to further excessive government involvement in industry. I’m not one to automatically discount slippery slope arguments, but there are examples of government intervention that have not led to a permanently state run industry (or failure). That claim, because there are counter examples at hand, needs background to come across as something more than a political or economic belief. Still, you carried the day on this one for sure, and compared to you the professor seemed unprepared to discuss this issue at hand. I would be suprised if this dosen’t lead to more invitations.

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    Providence, RI.

    I used to work the Hope Street Dominos and jog down Blackstone Blvd.

    Haven’t lived in RI since early 1997.

    I am heading back there this summer for my 20th High School Reunion in July.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    So if Robert appears on Fox News some of you will boycott TTAC.

    How on earth will we live without your pithy comments?

  • avatar
    dougjp

    That was a great interview and show! I’m glad you decided to go on it.

  • avatar
    moedaman

    Pch101 :
    June 3rd, 2009 at 3:32 pm
    Fox news is there to balance out CNN.

    That doesn’t explain why the quality of it sucks.

    I don’t mind that it’s conservative. It’s the low quality that offends me.

    I’m a fairly libertarian/conservative person. And I have to say that the quality of Fox News is pretty bad. But, while it does have more conservative’s on it than other news networks, it isn’t really that conservative a network. And O’Reilly isn’t a conservative at all. He is just a populist blow hard.

  • avatar
    skor

    What? Nobody chucked a scimitar at you?

    Seriously, it was pretty good. I’ll do you a favor for your next TV appearance, I’ll loan you one of my jackets. Size 42 OK?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Fox news is there to balance out CNN.

    How does having two low-quality, right-wing (CNN is right of centre; Fox news moreso) news firehoses that treat their audience like meth-addicted jackdaws constitute “balance”.

    If you mean that Fox exists to balance out a left-wing equivalent, I have to ask “What left wing equivalent?”. There are centrist equivalents at, perhaps, MSNBC or NPR, but I’ve yet to see DailyKos start up a news channel.

    If you mean Fox balances out actual, reputable journalism outlets by being their deranged cousin then sure. But that reputable list of organizations does not include CNN, either.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Robert

    Good interview.

    I think you may want to turn down the rhetoric a little (says the guy who went full-bore theatrical in his last post) but this was much more interesting to watch/listen to than the last few engagements you’ve had where you were soundbitten to death. Your message is better suited to middle-distance and marathon sessions than the tabloid television.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Well done RF!…Unlike that Fascist Twinkie(TM) from Kalifornia who is forming young minds…Ugh.

  • avatar
    quiksilver180

    Fantastic work. All straight forward about the situation. You made us proud.

  • avatar
    Smegley

    okay so who wants to put together an al qaeda propaganda vid with bits from this?

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    Well done interview. That was the first english language Al Jazeera show I have watched. Fair coverage on this subject. They actually had articulate people on each side of the fence.

  • avatar
    maniceightball

    Good interview. Well-spoken, as usual.

    It’s too bad some of the commenters are so ignorantly racist and xenophobic. I can’t believe people are still making al Qaeda references.

  • avatar
    McDoughnut

    Nice job.
    I suspect though that the average viewer did not get the point that this is a political bailout as much as a business bailout.

  • avatar
    pixarwolf

    Robert – I must say well done, absolutely clear and polished – like your writings here –

    The Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth so Help you God !

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Another problem fox news has besides the poor quality and bias is that they have high tendency to be objectively wrong on “issues”.

    You can basically form a network which just parrots diametrically opposed viewpoints and be mostly correct, however incidental.

  • avatar
    1169hp

    psarhjinian;
    I love ya like a TTAC brother, but.

    MSNBC is hardly centrist. Heard of Rachel Maddow or Keith Oberman. Those two make up part of MSNBC’s primetime line up. It’s two full hours of Republican bashing, while they laud everything Democrat. No thanks.

    For me, Fox can be equally hard to watch because it’s so cheesy and tabloid(ish).

    RF that was a good twenty-three minutes. You done good!!!

  • avatar
    slateslate

    lol, “laughed out of the petrol station”….I love English English.

    see Al Jazeera is definitely no worse than MSM American News!

  • avatar
    CarShark

    How does having two low-quality, right-wing (CNN is right of centre; Fox news moreso) news firehoses that treat their audience like meth-addicted jackdaws constitute “balance”.

    If you mean that Fox exists to balance out a left-wing equivalent, I have to ask “What left wing equivalent?”. There are centrist equivalents at, perhaps, MSNBC or NPR, but I’ve yet to see DailyKos start up a news channel.

    @psar:

    Wow. I knew you were left-wing, but I had no idea…

    Fox News is right-wing, and not very good, and I say that as a more conservative person. CNN and NPR are easily left of center consistently, and better quality, although CNN’s more of a lightweight. Obviously, MSNBC couldn’t be more left-wing if they tried, between Schultz, Matthews, Olbermann and Maddow, but at least when they say something I have some confidence that it might have some basis in truth.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I think this was a really good job on your part.

    I thought you could’ve put in more facts and analysis from the DWs, as it would have made your argument stronger. I bet readership will increase alot!

  • avatar
    agenthex

    CNN and NPR are easily left of center consistently,

    It’s interesting how these perspectives developed. Once upon a time, all these news media were considered centrist, and by centrist I mean promote corporate values.

    Then there came fox news, et al, which sought to define a new “right”, and in the process painted all the centrist (corporatist) media as “left”. The centrists instinctively and obediently moved to the “center” again, and thus started a process which facilitates the rightward migration of media.

    But as you point out, this is an orthogonal issue with the quality of investigative journalism, and objective/empirical truth. Conservatives don’t believe in these new post-medieval concepts, so naturally they won’t allow them to corrupt their values.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I think one aspect not addressed is that no one truly believes GM has the ability to make a competitive car today, 1 yr or 5 yrs into the future.

    Without a truly competitive car and the same 16 million plus sales + increasing their 19% market share there will be no hope of success.

    GM needs too many miracles to survive.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    RF, it took some guts to go on the show, so I have to give you that. You also made your position altogether clear, though unfortunately you didn’t expand on it much by giving examples to buttress it. Instead, you reverted to the metaphorical devices that you enjoy using on the site. Here, though, they comes across as less compelling. You’re selling yourself short and I hope you make better use of your vast store of knowledge in future interviews (which will no doubt be coming). BTW, I thought the other two guests were quite good, both in their command of the subject and in their clear enunciation. All in all, an excellent group, a fine moderator and an object lesson for most American broadcasters.

  • avatar
    jkross22


    CNN and NPR are easily left of center consistently,

    It’s interesting how these perspectives developed.

    Spoken like someone who hasn’t taken the time to sit and just listen to programs such as “All Things Considered”.

    If you can’t hear the left leaning in that, man, it’s time to take off the rose colored glasses. Just because no one is shouting doesn’t mean it’s not HEAVILY skewed left.

    I recall CNN earning the left leaning rep as a result of it’s very favorable coverage (to Bill) during the Monica Lewinsky mess (pun intended).

    Having said that, Fox sucks. The entire network has jumped the shark. I mean, a network that puts Pat Buchanan on as a regular guest shows that they’re as out of touch with reality as the rest of the Republican party.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    If you can’t hear the left leaning in that, man, it’s time to take off the rose colored glasses.

    Again, the “left lean” has traditionally been centrist. Perhaps you can try reading the post again for the reasons why. Real leftists (you know, the kind that advocate and organize for worker’s rights) are never featured on US media.

    I mean, a network that puts Pat Buchanan on as a regular guest shows that they’re as out of touch with reality as the rest of the Republican party.

    Didn’t you just implicitly mark yourself as a conservative in the other blog entry?

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/gm-dealer-kiss-off-could-cost-feds-13-billion/#comment-1492673

    Buchanan is the quintessential paleo-conservative.

    In any case he’s on MSNBC now as a punching bag.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Good job RF, as others said it takes brass ones to get in front of a camera and respond instantly like that. The interviewer seemed to know his stuff and kept the debate lively.

    Be interesting to track the traffic at the site and see how much of boost this interview gets you. Of course the whole GM mess has already given this place a huge boost.

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    Good job Robert. Entertaining and informative, but do get a blazer or something :)

    Imagine if the bailout funds went into Tesla Motors?

    I think the problem lies in the fact that GM is producing a product that nobody wants. Current sales marketing is reduced to “Out of a job yet” bumper stickers.

    I’m no economist, but I believe a business is an entity that sells a product, at a price greater than the cost of production, to consumers who demand the product. Is GM a business?

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I’ll agree that was a well done and balanced interview. It was even quite interesting to hear a (Berkley?) professor defend Detroit.

    Still, I am disappointed that you went on Al Jazeera. I have seen enough of their Arab programming to make me feel uncomfortable with support for this network.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Um, did anyone else catch the stock footage of a late-70’s Olds Cutlass Supreme being assembled? Priceless.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Al Jazeera is more ‘fair and balanced’ than just about any news ‘organ’ (i use that term advisedly) in the us. They may be owned by arabs but you can see that they sound the globe for talent and they present a more even sided view than almost all global organisations.

    I would think that Al Jazeera would decend into caricature if they had the full on headscarves and ‘death to america’ type stance.

    I have yet to see much critical analysis from any other news bureau.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Nice work! AJ was actually respectful and allowed you and the other two guests to actually comment without being constantly and rudely interrupted, as is typical with the US “drive-by” talking heads.

    And I bet they’re are already calling….You’re on the drive-by radar now.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    And I bet they’re are already calling….You’re on the drive-by radar now.

    Don’t worry, no god loving patriot would watch a network run by jihadis.

    I bet readership will increase alot!

    Sorry they don’t have intarwebs in their caves.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Robert – excellent! And I suspect they may look you up next year.

    @TonyJZX: I agree. No US news outlet would provide such a quality story. Instead, the talking heads would be interrupting with stupid leading questions, never permitting more than a 10-second response by anyone. I was impressed as much by AJ as by the story itself.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The real irony here is that instead of invading them with our values of “freedom” and “fries”, it appears they have invaded us with their “fairness” and “balance”.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Uh, right.

    Back on topic, You did well, Robert.

  • avatar
    grifonik

    The London guy is decidedly evil. His death ray eyes were trying to rip the soul from my body!

  • avatar

    Good job. Glad you went on.
    Definitely better than most progs.

    I was surprised how fast the time went. Maybe I read TTAC too much but I could’ve listened to at least another ~10mins of discussion.

    ++I thought Bertel had told you to use Pablo Escobar, Jim Beam or Johnnie Walker as the sponsor; oh well.

    Funny how bad this spot makes the typical Fox News segment look.


    @1169hp, @CarShark: That’s okay;
    -And I mean this in the nicest, friendliest, most brotherly way possible, esp. b/c he’s so clever and well-read, but: psharninjaian thinks MSNBC is right-of-center because to him, anyone not snorting Guevara’s Finest™ brand cocaine directly out the petrified butt-crack of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov is clearly a member of the Limbaugh+Cheney Goose-Step Blues Explosion summer workshops at the Ruby Ridge Militia Olde Tyme Fairgrounds & Canteen. ;P :D :D :D

    (I keed, I keed!!!)

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    Good job Robert…

    Next time wear a suit and tie so you look more professional. You have a good message, but you need to look serious.

    And check your backdrop. It was a tad too casual. Why couldn’t you do a greenscreen like the other guys used?

    I hope to see you more on the talking head shows.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    His death ray eyes were trying to rip the soul from my body!

    This hypothesis is most tantalizing, and thus I feel inadequate by offering instead that he may be concentrating on the studio monitor which Robert lacked.

  • avatar
    Blue387

    I concur with the suit and tie. The set also looked like someone’s living room. At least change that backdrop.

    Providence? Boston? Why not stop by TTAC New York meet?

    Have you ever done the Newshour with Jim Lehrer?

  • avatar
    AlexD

    I liked it. An interview where the guests are allowed to make their points without being cut off. Sure the Brit got less time, but his scowl could defeat lesser men.

    Farago did very well – remained on point throughout. I’ve seen many good writers stammer and meander when put in front of the camera.

    I agree with the greenscreen comment – he should have been backed by the image of 10 thousand Cobalts on a tarmac.

  • avatar

    Robert,

    Congrats on the interview. The prof easily came across as a cheerleader for Obama in the way he encouraged the whole public/private inbreeding. And naturally, there will be many genetic defects to this, shall we say, “hybrid” scenario. Like the host said, suppose more companies ask for bailouts in the future? How long until “bailoutism” becomes a business model??

    As one who has worked for Wal-Mart in the past, I doubt they’d be treated to the same types of bailouts as we’ve seen before, likely due to WM’s opposition to unions. At the end of the day, all of our Hope and Change turns out to be Politics as Usual.

    I would much rather have seen GM charge head first into Ch.11 way back when, take responsibility for their errors, been more introspective about why they got there and make a definite plan on how to fix it. One thing a good parent usually teaches their child is to own up to mistakes and not blame others. A victim mentality serves no one and breeds contempt for the one claiming victim status, and thus the backlash against GM. Papa Barry should have been more stern and uncle Congress shouldn’t have spoiled the undisciplined automaker.

    Edit: you should have called into question the assertion of that Toyota bit about them hurting and posting losses. It’s true, of course, from recent sales numbers that they’re down, but didn’t we read on here awhile back that their negative fiscal year was mostly due to the yen/dollar exchange rate? Kind of takes the wind out of that talking point…

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    Wow, these are much better than the usual podcasts!

    Also, the British economist didn’t get much of a look in, did he?

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Very well done, RF.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Nice job, RF. Thank you for being the voice of common sense in all this.

  • avatar
    commando1

    “That was a great interview and show! I’m glad you decided to go on it.”

    I am in 101% agreement.

    I’ve also developed a higher respect for Al Jazeera.

    Now, where was Michael Moore?

  • avatar
    drifter

    Sad to say this, Al Jazeera seems to be more fair and balanced than American MSM; decline of the artist formerly know as world’s greatest nation in truly underway.

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    Good job. Dude, anyone ever tell you you look the “Microsoft Guy” from the Apple commercials?

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    @grifonik: The London guy is decidedly evil. His death ray eyes were trying to rip the soul from my body!

    Funny, that’s exactly how I pictured Economist writers, but slightly older with caterpillar eyebrows.

  • avatar
    Antone

    RF: From a fellow Providence RI resident, I say well done!

    Your delivery is a bit combative but the points are refreshing.

    To all the above posts regarding US mainstream media: Why are you watch that crap?

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Robert, nice to see you, but I have a question to you, and even don`t dare not to answer. How come that mostly only manufacturing companies die, and always those that manufacture precision movements, whether it is electronics industry, wristwatch industry, trains, trucks, you name it, industrial robots,etc. You stated that the top echelon and mismanagement are to blame, how come that coincidentally all other companies that manufacture things that don`t need to be assembled or precisely stamped, never die or file for chapter 11. Why Colgate or Tupperware has never had problems, but Harley Davidson, Kodak, Motorola, Boeing, Gm, Hamilton,Zenith, IBM, Chrysler, Polaroid, Vivitar, Elgin, Cincinnatti Milacron, Lewis&Giddings, you name it, all the companies that deal with building mechanisms, somehow attract bad managaement? Why McDonald`s that doesn`t make a single part that would need a precision assembly somehow attracts brilliant managers, but Dana, Delphi or Visteon, or harman -Kardon or Whirlpool never does? IS it really just management? Is it really management that orders engineers to create Whirlpool microwaves with huge wobbly buttons and hugely misaligned panels? Are those CEOs that prohibited Kodak to create a single mirror camera ? Did they at top of headquarters demanded that Dell be using subpar, mediocre plastics for stamping assies for laptops? Who is really to blame? Once you look at the CORE OF ANY PRECISION MANUFACTURING, it is the EXPERTIZE OF ENGINEERING , that matters, and how you cherish it and guard. just by looking at score in techical sciences throughout Us, one might ask a question, is everything fine there? Once you answer that, you might realize that CEOs only get away with what they can afford…………

  • avatar
    jurisb

    another aspect of the true problem- Robert, go to youtube.com and type`What does job market hold for college grads?` and go to 2.31min.- 2.50, and you will understand the true facet of the cancer…………..it might change your view on blaming only top fat cats.

  • avatar

    mohammed jihad!

  • avatar
    Ronman

    So that’s how you look like, nothing like i expected.

    you sat there nailing the GM coffin with the same calm tone with which Bi Laden delivers his end of the free liver world as we know it speeches,,,,

    your drugy sponsored by a drug dealer quote was superb although a bit harsh to the listeners that don’t know your background. to be honest i was surprised you went this far.

    in any case you made TTAC’s point and I’m looking forward to seeing you lash out at the rest of the automotive world on Satellite TV.

    Say it as it always is Farrago


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