By on September 27, 2011

[UPDATE: Ford has restored the video to Youtube. More details here.]

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes reports in a column that Ford has pulled its controversial “bailout ad” after the White House asked “questions” about it. And apparently the take-down decision makes this a threatened piece of footage: in addition to yanking the spot from the airwaves, the version of the video we posted two weeks ago has been taken down from YOutube as well [a home recording of it can still be found here]. So what happened that Ford would throw its most popular ad in ages down the memory hole? Howes is cryptic…

Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose…

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

Who were these “individuals inside the White House?” What questions did they have for Ford? And why on earth would Ford not stand up for itself in this situation? That GM was “carping” about the ad only makes this worse: the White House wasn’t just trying to smooth over the campaign trail, it was protecting its investment (remember, the government still owns a significant stake in The General) by “asking” a competitor to kill a successful ad. So, just how aggressively did the White House “ask” about this ad? Again, Howes is cryptic:

“This thing is highly charged,” says an industry source familiar with the situation. Ford “never meant it to be an attack on the policy. There was not any pressure to take down the ad.”

Maybe not technically. But the nexus of politics and the auto business in today’s Washington is bigger, broader and more complex than it arguably has been in who knows how long.

Gosh, if I had a reporter in the White House press corps, I’d be sure to have them ask about this. After all, this situation highlights perfectly why bailouts are so un-American. I don’t care who you are or how you felt about the bailout in the first place: at the point that the President is pressuring competitors to government-owned companies to yank truth-telling ads, you’ve got to wonder what happened to this country.

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91 Comments on “Howes: Ford Yanks Bailout Ad After White House Pressure...”


  • avatar
    jaybird124

    Nauseating

  • avatar
    mike978

    Ed – you say “at the point that the President is pressuring competitors to government-owned companies to yank truth-telling ads, you’ve got to wonder what happened to this country. “and I would agree.

    However Ford could easily have said no, also Ford themselves say they were not pressured. They might be lying but…
    The White House may have asked questions, but when is asking questions wrong. Especially if they point out Ford has taken two sides on this – one in 2009 when they backed it and now they don`t apparently.

    I understand the subtext that there may have been coercion – any actual evidence?

    • 0 avatar

      Since when is asking questions wrong? I dunno, why don’t you answer that question for me, funny guy? It seems like you enjoy commenting here, wouldn’t it be a shame if something were to happen to your user account? Wouldn’t it just be a tragedy if there were, I dunno, some kind of technological failure that wreaked terrible havoc on your ability to comment here at TTAC? Wouldn’t that be a pity?

      Just askin’ the tough questions that need to be asked…

      /Jon Stewart’s wiseguy impression

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Since when is asking questions wrong?

        I would suggest that you reread the Howes piece. The only source that he quotes verbatim says that there was no pressure to take down the ads.

        I would like to know why Howes is claiming that there was pressure when the only source that he cites is saying the opposite. At this point, it’s not even clear that this ever happened at all.

      • 0 avatar

        Think about it, PCH:

        Ford makes ad that implicitly criticizes the bailout.
        Feeling the heat, the White House asks Ford to take it down.
        Ford says “the White House pressured us into taking down our ad.”

        Doesn’t exactly defuse the situation, does it? Of course Ford “sources” are going to say “there was no pressure”… they’re trying to back down from a political confrontation, not escalate it. If they had the balls to tell the truth about what’s happened, they’d have had the balls to tell the WH to pound sand and they’d still be running the ad.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Think about it

        That’s the point — I don’t want to “think about it”, i.e. speculate based upon absolutely nothing or next to nothing. I want facts, not titillating innuendo based upon thin air and BS.

        Not only is the op-ed missing facts that support its allegations, but also the one thing that it quotes verbatim specifically contradicts the argument that the editorialist is making. How can that possibly make any sense?

        Let’s be serious. If a source directly contradicts one’s wishful thinking, the appropriate response is not to resort to some vague BS that says nothing.

        The editor of the paper should have caught this. It’s very sloppy. Again, at the very least, get a comment or “no comment” from the alleged offenders in DC, whatever that happens to be.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I would like to know why Howes is claiming that there was pressure when the only source that he cites is saying the opposite.

        Because implying or speculating that there was pressure gets him readers, while stating that Ford took the ad down and leaving it at that might, maybe, get you two ignored lines on a news ticker in the back room that might get used for filling space between ads and/or lining someone’s birdcage. But now he gets to be spammed across every right-tilting news outlet in the US, and more than a few centrist and leftist ones as well.

        Mark my words, this will be printed under the headline “Obama strongarms Ford into cancelling ads” or suchlike within hours, with no regard to veracity. In the minds of people who, eg, believe the president is a Seekrit Muslim (to borrow a little LGF parlance) this is all the truth many people need.

        Ford might have taken down the ads because, frankly, it looks more than a little hypocritical to a) have taken billions in grant money anyway, and b) go to bat for bailouts (JetGate, anyone?) alongside those you’re presently criticizing. If I were Ford PR, I wouldn’t have greenlit this particular hornet’s nest and blaming the government is a really convenient “out”.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Pch101: “That’s the point — I don’t want to “think about it”, i.e. speculate based upon absolutely nothing or next to nothing. I want facts, not titillating innuendo based upon thin air and BS.”

        Fact: Toyota got fined 16M for a single proven accident.
        Fact: GM/Chrysler got away from all injury law suites by a fake bankruptcy.
        Fact: Standing in the way of the White House can hurt you. When they ask you a “question, obey.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Well played Ed – I will just have to imagine you doing a Stewart impression!

        The difference is that Ed you could my access and I have no right of appeal. That is fine and understood. However in this case even if one branch of Government (the President and his officials) were upset there is not much they could do and Ford would have the right of appeal (the courts). They could change CAFE to hit Ford (GM has similar product line-up), increase taxation on just that company etc. This means the balance of “power” is much different to the situation between yourself and I (and any other commentator).

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        @wsn

        Fact: Toyota got fined 16M for a single proven accident.
        Fact: GM/Chrysler got away from all injury law suites by a fake bankruptcy.
        Fact: Standing in the way of the White House can hurt you. When they ask you a “question, obey.

        Toyota got fined 16M not for accidents, but for slow response for recalls. Note, it had issues recalls in other countries for sudden acceleration complaints, but not in the US. That is the facts.

        GM’s and Chrysler bankruptcy were not fake.

        Standing in the way of the White House, sure that can get you hurt, but it could also back fire badly on the White House if they did pressure Ford into this.

        My guess on why Ford pulled it… attack ads with politics can back fire and look cheap. It was also starting rumors that the commercials were staged, which I know that they are not. The commercials are pretty good in my opinion, but when you point out politics and car commercials, you are going to get polarizing results, not what you want in a commercial.

        I think that the article is full of speculation from “anonymous sources” without direct quotes or comments from anyone with an actual name.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Steven02: “Toyota got fined 16M not for accidents, but for slow response for recalls. Note, it had issues recalls in other countries for sudden acceleration complaints, but not in the US. That is the facts.”

        Fact: Defective Ford Explorer caused more than 200 deaths in total.
        Fact: Ford didn’t recall the Explorer even after the 100th victim die.
        Fact: Ford didn’t get penalized the same way Toyota was.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        @wsn

        The Ford Explorer problem, which I believe to be also an Explorer problem, was officially blamed on the tires and the tire manufacture. Many of the tires that were separating were manufactured during a strike period at Firestone.

        But, to be perfectly clear, if the gov’t made a mistake in the case of Ford or Firestone, it doesn’t mean that they should make the same mistake in the case of Toyota.

        In Toyota’s case, there were issuing recalls in other countries that should have been recalls in the US as well, but weren’t. The delay was the problem in Toyota’s case. Not the defect itself.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      In this town, this is called “regulation by raised eyebrow.” Hell, I was event taught about it in law school. That advantage of the technique from the “regulator’s” perspective is plausible deniability.

      The reality is, not only did Mullaly support the bailout of his competitors, but his company and the other Detroit automakers have, for decades, had a . . . um . . . “complicated” relationship with The Capital of the Free World. I’m talking about fuel economy regulations, safety regulations, protection from imports, previous bailouts (Chrysler) and a variety of “green” subsidies.

      I would not be surprised if someone here reminded FoMoCo of that fact, in the context of asking about an ad that implies that FoMoCo stands on its own two feet, without any government help. And, I would expect that to happen regardless of whether the president was about to begin a re-election campaign and regardless of what the apparent odds of that campaign being successful are.

      That’s just “business” in this town.

      I’m not defending it, just pointing out that Washington politicians and the “Detroit 3″ have been in a state of co-dependency for decades. Given that, this behavior should surprise no one.

      It illustrates perfectly the net social costs of such a relationship.

      • 0 avatar
        FleetofWheel

        JetGate: This describes when the wealthy Hollywood and left elite flew their carbon-spewing private jets to DC for President Obama’s Inauguration.

        They were then seated in the front row for the ceremony while the non-elite little people were relegated to the far back.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Chrysler and GM attack Ford, and each other, on a variety of subjects. The fact they were bailed out by taxpayers isn’t just fact but fair game. Ford should have run ads like this early and often. Unless of course the goal is to meddle out car sales to all three domestic nameplates fairly, which would be fine with the social engineers in charge at the moment.

    Just saw an ad for the plug in Prius. Kiss the Volt goodbye.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Ford’s behaviour was dupliciitous, disingenious, dishonest and disgusting.

      Ford couldn’t go early and often, given they were not sure if they would have to call for tne IIRC 7G USD they had asked the USG to reserve for them along side the GM and CC loans. Then after the danger had passed, and thy didn’t need the loans, they decided to play the other-side of the street.

      Never airing the ad was the right thing to do, pulling it after exciting the children was either a previously-calculated move, or an expedient one, which in either case, dute to the internet, allows them to have their cake abd eat it too, by taking the “thought better of it and pulled-it” hi-road, while certain of the children continue to orgasmically foam over clips of the pulled ad (I can see it now, “Ford Ad Banned by Obama”) found in the net.

      • 0 avatar
        poggi

        How does F square its commercial with the fact the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) shows loans to F in the amount of $162.8 million made in July?

        DOE-ADV TECHNOLOGY VEHICLES MFG
        Ford Motor Company 7/26 $131,300,000.00 6/15/22 2.245%
        Ford Motor Company 7/26 $31,500,000.00 6/15/22 2.245%

        See it here
        http://www.treasury.gov/ffb/press_releases/2011/08-2011.shtml
        Search for “Ford”

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Although I’m sure this will send our resident GM critics into a tizzy, I for one am not buying it.

    What incentive would Ford have to pull the ad, even if someone from the White House started “asking questions?” It’s not like they can force them to do anything. Obama could make a speech tomorrow condemning Ford and Dearborn’s executives could just sit back, twiddle their thumbs and watch the cars fly off the lots. What’s more likely is that the campaign gained a lot more traction and controversy than Ford would have liked, and so they decided to kill it before too many mainstream journos started asking questions about those billions in loans Ford took during the depths of the crisis. Most would agree that Ford is on something of a roll right now; rocking the boat, even for the sake of “good” publicity, is not what Dearborn needs to do. Offer a quality product at a reasonable price, and they will come for it.

    Even if somebody at the White House did “ask questions” (and this I am skeptical of), Ford had other motivations for pulling the campaign.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      What pressure can the Federal Government put on an automaker? Are you kidding?

      EPA certifications can be slowed waaaay down. Bankers can be pressured to avoid underwriting bond issues. Sarbans-Oxley securities irregularities can be “investigated.” The UAW can strike with administration encouragement. Environmental problems can be found at many or all factories. OSHA inspections can be performed with a fine tooth comb, repeatedly. And that is just off the top of my head.

      When you are in a highly regulated and very visible industry you can easily die from a thousand bureaucratic cuts. Don’t think for a second Ford is not acutely aware of that.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        I don’t buy this line of reasoning. Few of the things you cite are sustainable, or likely to remain hidden without major repurcussions for those following the orders or those giving them…

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        You have not followed Chicago politics and the people who practice their dark art. Nothing has to be hidden and none of it is illegal. Smart bureaucrats know how to bring an out of favor organization to heel.

        Ford was wise to pull the ad. They got the publicity that they wanted, then capitulated. Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

      • 0 avatar
        Yeah_right

        The GM-enablers in DC wouldn’t even have to do something as dramatic, and public, as using the EPA. The government and government contractors buy A LOT of vehicles. A word to Procurement groups that maybe buying Ford isn’t such a good idea for employees interested in their careers continuing would be sufficient to dent Ford’s profits quite nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Do you really think that the senators, representatives an governors with Ford operations in their districts or states wouldn’t call this out once Ford informed them of it? It would get more press than the Boeing tanker deal!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    It is true that Mulally supported the bailouts in 2008. Back then he said it was necessary in order to keep the whole industry from collapsing. Not mentioned is that Ford has also taken BILLIONS in government loans and favors as well. Also, Ford, like most makers, got a real nice cash boost at a critical time thanks to the Cash for Clunkers program.

    Given all that, it is rather disingenuous Ford to use the bailout as advertising fodder.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      No it is not disingenuous.

      Tax incentives happen all the time. Business loans happen all the time.
      This by definition alone stops any discussion against the bailout if you follow your point.

      But the bailout is a stand alone issue and as such can be discussed without charges of throwing stones if you live in glass houses.
      There is a difference.

      As as I said below…Ford should be able to chirp about something since there are advantages the others have over it gained from the bailout and bankruptcies.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Seems like yet another example of how nothing ever changes.
    The new administration is the same as the last, the new boss is same as the old boss….as say the WHO.

    There should be nothing wrong with having been for the bailout, yet bragging about not being part of it.
    Ford knows it was good for the car biz…but should be allowed to bark about not being given the funds.

    Ya know, Ford still is at some disadvantage from this bailout. Debt discarding and labor agreements at the bailout companies leave it with more cost added to its vehicles than the other two.
    So they should be able to chirp about something.

    IMO…Chrysler still not showing anything good from this bailout.
    I see nothing but old tech and big gas eating muscle cars and trucks.
    I see nothing that makes me want to look around their showrooms.

    GM at least has some nice stuff coming, along with nice cars and CUV models here now.

    • 0 avatar
      benzaholic

      Re: Chrysler
      What the heck did you expect? That they could design a fleet of new cars from scratch, get them tested and approved, and have them in dealer showrooms this quickly? Or that they would get a few Fiat models US certified so they could sell parts of a European market portfolio that were mismatched to the US portfolio?

      Chrysler is showing impressive work. Their interiors, virtually across the board, were previously recognized as bottom rung, and they are now almost universally recognized as very competitive. They’re stuffing the PentaStar in every engine bay they can, while GM is just now getting around to sharing their modern small engine from the SS/Redline models.

      Sorry. Minor rant off. Must have been something I ate for lunch.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The original piece is loaded with innuendo, but not a whole lot of facts. It’s an op-ed piece, not an investigative one.

    This bit is one for the weasels:

    “This thing is highly charged,” says an industry source familiar with the situation. Ford “never meant it to be an attack on the policy. There was not any pressure to take down the ad.”

    Maybe not technically. But the nexus of politics and the auto business in today’s Washington is bigger, broader and more complex than it arguably has been in who knows how long.

    So let me understand this — Howes has a source that says there was no pressure to withdraw the ads, only to repudiate the same source in the next sentence based upon some vague DC shadow conspiracy that hasn’t been supported with any facts of any kind.

    If there was “pressure”, then define what that “pressure” was and get at least two sources to confirm the pressure story. Less ranting, more research.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree completely that this should be a news story, and that the DetN should have reported it as such. But if we assume that the most basic facts of the matter (WH contacts Ford, Ford pulls the ad) are factually correct, how much evidence do we really need? Do you need need tape of Obama ranting Nixon-style to conclude that the WH’s “questions” influenced Ford’s decision? WH “pressure” doesn’t have to be the sole reason Ford took the ad down for it to be objectionable…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I agree completely that this should be a news story

        I’m saying the opposite. I’m saying that there isn’t enough data here to call this “news.” It reads more like a very flimsy opinion.

        how much evidence do we really need?

        The old standards of journalism would call for two independent sources. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that the internet has eliminated the standards of investigation.

        In the alternative, if some Ford insider tipped the newspaper, then the logical thing to do would be to go to the White House or the federal office that allegedly did this and then ask for a comment.

        The end of the editorial includes Howes’ phone number. I may be taking a leap here, but I’m going to assume that this phone has a dialpad and that he could have used it to actually call someone in DC to get their response. But he didn’t, and that just contributes to the sloppiness of the work.

      • 0 avatar

        PCH, this is exactly why I wrote “Gosh, if I had a reporter in the White House press corps, I’d be sure to have them ask about this.” We absolutely need more facts about this story, there’s no doubt about that. In the meantime though, speculation is inevitable in this kind of scenario… which is why the government should stay away from even the appearance of intervention in industry decisions. Even if you leave the principle out of it, this was a poor decision from a PR perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “how much evidence do we really need?”

        Well, Ed, how much evidence would you want presented in a Jalopnik piece that claimed your writing was unduly influenced by either advertisers or the govt? I expect that you would be offended by unnamed sources speculating on your actions. We may not need tape of Obama himself, but how about someone willing to go on the record with specifics about what pressure was applied and who applied it?

      • 0 avatar

        ClutchCarGo: The solution is always more truth. I wrote this piece in the hope that it would get some traction, that both Ford and the White House (and possibly GM) would make statements, and that the story could progress from a strange, cryptic op-ed to a “real news item.” Meanwhile, I appreciate the high standard to which our readers hold us… but TTAC’s role in this kind of situation is to take buried “non-stories” like this and give them the oxygen that forces “real reporters” to use their access and resources to get the facts. We’re a link in the media foodchain… we don’t have the resources or access to get the entire truth of a high-stakes political standoff like this one (which is why my headline links the “pressure” and Ford’s decision temporally but not causally).

        As the facts emerge we will absolutely keep you posted. In the meantime, would we really rather ignore Mr Howes’s bold claim, pretend that there’s not even the appearance of improper pressure, and get on with our lives in blissful ignorance? Because that’s not the ethos of the B&B I know and love…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Even if you leave the principle out of it, this was a poor decision from a PR perspective.

        Again, you’re assuming that the claims are true.

        Let me repeat: The one source that Howes quotes says that it didn’t happen Yet you want to believe that it’s true, even though you don’t have any factual basis for believing it.

        The PR here has been excellent. Ford makes an ad for next to nothing, barely pays for airtime to run it, but does a great job of using viral marketing to promote it. The marketing guys deserve to get a few attaboys for pulling this one off.

        Since you want a news story, here’s a challenge for you — go find the alleged journalists who attended the “press conference” that comprise those ads, and get details of how they were involved and what they were told it would be. Find out which journalists cared so little for their reputations that they would take part in contrived interviews as part of an advertising campaign.

      • 0 avatar

        “Since you want a news story, here’s a challenge for you — go find the alleged journalists who attended the “press conference” that comprise those ads, and get details of how they were involved and what they were told it would be.”

        Peep the video at the top of the post. It was made by the guy who appears in the ad in question, and he insists that he was speaking from the heart. If you’re really interested in the making of the ad, check out his Youtube channel… he talks a lot about his experience making the spot.

        Meanwhile, if I have this right, you think the story most worthy TTAC’s scarce resources involves investigating whether or not “real journalists” were in the Ford ad, not the possibility that the White House influenced Ford’s decision to pull the ad. You’re welcome to that opinion, but I don’t think it takes into account where TTAC really fits in to the media food chain. Nor does your attack on my decision to shine a light on Howes’s curious piece give me any credit for twice calling Howes’s comments “cryptic” and generally writing the piece to avoid sounding like I know what actually happens. Read the OP: does it sound like I’m out to attack anyone or does it sound like I’m confused and dismayed by the impression that the circumstances make?

        This is tiresomely reminiscent of the “you has a bias” tedium. If you find a factual error in our work, I’m willing to consider making an edit. If you don’t like the slant in a piece, leave a comment with your own slant. There’s no need to attack TTAC for bringing attention to a very strange piece that was stuck somewhere between news and opinion… take that up with Mr Howes and his editors at the DetN.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        This is tiresomely reminiscent of the “you has a bias” tedium. If you find a factual error in our work, I’m willing to consider making an edit.

        The factual error is that there don’t seem to be any facts in the story.

        In addition to that, the quoted source says the exact opposite of what the columnist is claiming.

        An analogy: I want to prove that the earth is flat. But then I attempt to prove it by quoting a source who says that the earth isn’t flat. Again, how on Zeus’ green earth does that possibly make any sense at all, in any way?

      • 0 avatar

        PCH: You want facts? Mr Howes is the Associate Business Editor at the Detroit News. As such, his words, even when written in “column” rather than “news item” format, carry some weight (note that I use his name in the headline). He made a simple claim: The White House contacted Ford with questions, and some time thereafter Ford took down the ad. If the White House never contacted Ford about the ad, Mr Howes probably made the last mistake of his professional career. On the other hand, the “contradictory evidence” does not say the WH never contacted Ford, rather that “there was no pressure.” As I pointed out further up the thread, that’s the logical statment by Ford in this scenario, but the contact itself is what was inappropriate (tell me you’d take a call from the WH for any reason and not feel any kind of pressure) and the “source’ never denies that contact.

        We both agree that this story needs more facts… and yet you’re angry at TTAC for shining a light and hosting a debate on Mr Howes’s column. This is the “truth about cars” not the “facts verified by at least two sources about cars”… can’t you engage in the discussion without damning TTAC for failing to live up to the standards of an outdated, one-way form of communication? Would you rather be discussing this at the DetN comments section?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Mr Howes is the Associate Business Editor at the Detroit News.

        I don’t care if he’s the Queen of Sheba. He’s still obligated to follow basic journalistic standards. There is no title on his business card that changes that.

        He made a simple claim

        No, he did more than that. He made an allegation which not only appears to lack support, but that is also contradicted within the piece itself. I’m showing you the logical disconnect between alleging a claim and attempting to “prove” it with a statement that says exactly the opposite.

        yet you’re angry at TTAC for shining a light and hosting a debate on Mr Howes’s column.

        I think that you’re reading what you want to read. I’ve been talking about Howes and the poor quality of his work in this particular column. I haven’t really mentioned TTAC at all.

        Truth be told, I think that you’re allowing yourself to be played. In your eagerness to find a scoop, you’re not providing enough scrutiny to the allegations that supposedly support it.

        Accusing anyone of anything improper is a big deal. It’s a big deal, even if you are inclined to not like the person or institution that is being accused. Journalists should make an effort to support their accusations prior to making them. Quoting a source that contradicts the allegation as if it proves the allegation looks weak, to say the least.

      • 0 avatar

        Since you want a news story, here’s a challenge for you — go find the alleged journalists who attended the “press conference” that comprise those ads, and get details of how they were involved and what they were told it would be.

        I’ve attended more than a couple automotive press conferences. The closest thing to a staged event with softball questions has been a Nancy Pelosi press conference at the NAIAS. Actually, that’s not completely true. In those Ford ads, the Ford owners are saying what they think, not what they think we want to hear.

        At least at Ford’s staged pressers, Ford is paying for the microphone. Nancy et al show up and expect a free soapbox.

        According to the company that produced the Ford ads, those were real journalists. Now whether they were all mommybloggers and trackday wannabes, I don’t know, but I can see how they might invite actual journalists to an event where they can interview Ford owners and that actual journalists might attend the event.

        When Chevy staged a centennial parade down Woodward with 50 Volts driven to the event from around the country, they invited journalists to the pre-parade reception, just so we could schmooze with the Volt owners.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        I am with Pch on this one. The article states, as in states as fact, that the WH made a call to Ford. He never even actually proves that a call was made. Just that the response “never meant it to be an attack on policy. There was not any pressure to take the ad down.” Really this doesn’t prove that a call was made either. Only that ‘a source familiar to the situation’ answered a question with this response. It doesn’t say where that person even works at.

        What if the industry insider worked Ford and was asked if the ad was an attack on policy and if GM applied pressure to take down the ad. You would get the same response.

        My theory, which I don’t believe, holds about as much water as this gov’t conspiracy theory that the WH is taking time to make sure that companies don’t make commercials that make the WH look bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I think an important yet overlooked point has to do with the way statements are interpreted. Put simply, do we interpret the statement “There was not any pressure to take down the add” literally or non-literally.

        Pch101 seems to think we should interpret the statement literally: The person said what he meant and meant what he said. ‘It’s plain and simple, there was no pressure.’

        Ed and others seem to be suggesting that we should not interpret the statement literally, but should read it ambiguously as a veiled form of ‘doublespeak’ if you will: The person said one thing, but given the context likely meant something else. ‘I’m saying there was no pressure, but you all know from the context that there really was pressure, I just can’t openly admit to it.’ (or something like that)

        In all honestly, both interpretations seem plausible and it would require further investigation to determine which of the two is the more likely.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Pch101 seems to think we should interpret the statement literally: The person said what he meant and meant what he said. ‘It’s plain and simple, there was no pressure.’

        Where are you getting that from? I never said that.

        The only thing that the article says that even vaguely makes its case is this: “The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.”

        I want to know what that is supposed to mean. What questions were supposedly asked, which agency or individual asked the questions, who was asked these questions, and under what circumstances? And what kind of source provided this information?

        If you know the answers to any of these items, then you’ll need to spell it out, because none of that is nowhere to be found in the op-ed. This article really presents no facts of any kind.

        On the contrary, Howes has a source that says the opposite of what he claims. Yet he skirts right over that contradiction and flips back into accusation mode on a dime, again without any facts.

        For the amount of verbiage that is provided in the op-ed, there is remarkably little data. That should make you question what you are reading. Surely, within the 700+ words contained in the piece, there was room for providing support for the claim. But since no such support was provided, I can only assume that it is an empty accusation without any meat to support it.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I’m not disagreeing with you on the quality (or lack thereof) of the op-ed. I’m simply pointing out that when you say that “Howes has a source that says the opposite of what he claims,” you are implying that what the source says should be interpreted literally.

        If you interpret what the source says as a piece of contextually-recognizable ‘doublespeak,’ however (as some other here seem to be doing), then Howes’ source is no longer saying “the opposite of what he claims,” but is in fact supporting what he claims.

        Thus, whether the source is contradicting or saying “the opposite” of what Howes is saying depends on whether you interpret the source’s statement literally or as a form of ‘doublespeak.’

        I personally am not advocating for one interpretation or the other, and I do agree that the kind of claims being made in the article should be supported by more evidence. Otherwise it is the worst kind of innuendo.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m simply pointing out that when you say that “Howes has a source that says the opposite of what he claims,” you are implying that what the source says should be interpreted literally.

        I don’t know what that is supposed to mean. If someone claims to prefer chocolate over vanilla, I wouldn’t interpret that to mean that he prefers vanilla over chocolate.

        In his column, Howes makes reference to “the situation.” From this story, I don’t even know what that “situation” is supposed to be. I would be happy to know what they are, but Howes doesn’t bother to tell us anything about what they might be.

        There are investigative standards, which are completely ignored here. Accusations are made without adequate support. I am pointing out that Howes’ own source doesn’t particularly support his own argument.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This is a particular sickness of modern journalism: false balance.

      Editors and journalists are encouraged to ensure there are two sides to every story (and to invent one, if it doesn’t exist) to give a story a kind of credibility. There’s a real need to not appear biased, even if one side has empirical evidence on it’s side and the other relies on drug-induced hallucinations.

      So we get things like “Scientists say the world is round, but some disagree on this controversial issue.”

      Add in the necessary weasel words that imply but don’t state and the hyperbole needed to get play in the 24-hour cycle and you get, well, this.

      • 0 avatar
        FleetofWheel

        Except that theories like global warming et al are not any where near as settled as the Earth being round or 2+2=4 and other silly examples that are cited to rationalize making the New York Times/NPR/left-centric world view the de facto standard of fair and balanced reporting.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        No, AGCC is pretty much settled.** Something like 98% of the people in the field agree that it’s happening. The debate is on minutiae, not the general principle. You have to pretty much resort to “all climate scientists are in on the conspiracy!” to believe the contrary, at which point you must give equal credence to, eg, the lobbying efforts of the oil industry.

        You may as well say that gravity isn’t settled in that we haven’t completely sorted out quantum mechanics. it doesn’t change that things fall down into gravity wells.

        That it isn’t settled is a tired talking point of those with ideological problems with AGCC.

        ** (and please, don’t bring up the 30,000 unverified person petition that’s filled with, eg, medical doctors)

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Does this mean that when I die I can’t have a funeral pyre after all?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This has been happening in America for a very, very long time. Usually it’s inter-corporate pressure (eg, advertiser A pulling money from network B to kill story C) but it’s not unheard of (it’s less common, by a wiiiiide margin) for government to tighten the screws as well.

    It’s admittedly getting worse because the press is pathetically weak: instead of journalism, most agencies rely on proxied information from independent agents and access to press corps rather than doing hard (and more expensive) work.

    A huge, huge part of what’s wrong with sociopolitical discourse surrounds how badly broken the media is.

    ETA: this wasn’t a reply to TR4, but to a post much, much higher in the discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      That’s the old media. The new media is quite robust and healthy. It’s anything but “broken.” The complaints about modern political discourse are made by those who can no longer control the discussion, as their old allies – CBS News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time – are rapidly declining in influence and prestige.

      They can thus no longer solely determine what constitutes news, and what “spin” each story shall receive.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        No, the new media is no better, and often much worse, than the old.

        I don’t make any pretense to liking traditional channels, but “New Media”, with few exceptions, takes the worst aspects of “Old Media” (the tendency to play Chinese Whispers, false balance, editorialising presented as content, oversimplification, Post hoc ergo propter hoc) and adds a healthy dollop of “No attention span” and “No accountability” atop it.

        Remember the Toyota SUA scandal? New media makes it even easier for a lie to run around the world before the truth has got it’s boots on.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The difference is that the new media does not make a pretense regarding objectivity, as the old media did (and still does).

          As for the Toyota SUA scandal – it was merely the latest in a long line of stories built on hype and selective reporting of facts involving a vehicle.

          This started with the 1960-63 Corvair handling controversy, extended through the 1971-76 Pinto fuel tank issue, the Audi sudden acceleration hysteria and the side-saddle fuel tanks on the 1973-87 GM full-size pickups.

          The difference this time is that, thanks to alternative forms of media, the story was more quickly and effectively debunked, despite the nonsense carried by the mainstream media.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            The difference is that the new media does not make a pretense regarding objectivity, as the old media did (and still does).

            The new media certainly does pretend to be objective, with the exception of the wingnut fringe (and even then…). Most of the are just very bad at it. Conversely, the Old Media is gradually dropping the pretense of objectivity (Fox, being the obvious example, accelerated this trend, but Paul Krugman’s column in the Times is not exactly pretending to be objective content).

            The difference this time is that, thanks to alternative forms of media, the story was more quickly and effectively debunked, despite the nonsense carried by the mainstream media.

            Maybe we’re spoiled because TTAC actually did some legwork and analysis, but I don’t recall many “new media” sites trying very hard until popular opinion forced them to do so.

            New media might react a little more quickly to base populism, sure, but that’s very much a double-edged sword. There’s the way that erstwhile news scorches it’s way across the new media landscape regardless of things like, oh, truth and accuracy. For pete’s sake, we have people using Twitter trends as credible sources!

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Paul Krugman writes editorials, not articles. He was never remotely objective, and I never expected him to be.

            Editorials have always been partisan in nature, whether appearing in the “new” media or the “old.” They were never objective – that is why they appeared on the editorial page.

            psarhjinian: Maybe we’re spoiled because TTAC actually did some legwork and analysis, but I don’t recall many “new media” sites trying very hard until popular opinion forced them to do so.

            It only takes one site…that is enough. The good work of one site will spread quickly. Other sites quickly picked up on TTAC’s work.

            APaGttH: What sunk Ford, just as what sunk Toyota was their callous attitude, documented on paper, and leaked out to the media. When the now infamous Ford Pinto memo was leaked, that concluded it was cheaper to pay for the occasional roasted occupants versus do a design change/repair – it was only then the story blew up.

            The memo didn’t deal with the Pinto…it was a standard cost-benefit analysis of a proposed regulation. This analysis was actually required by NHTSA. Mother Jones misinterpreted its content and purpose.

          • 0 avatar

            A worse smoking gun was the fact that Ford engineers had suggested an improvement, specifically mentioning the problems with the original design.

            With both the Corvair and the Pinto, the cars were vulnerable to safety criticism due to management overruling engineers. The Corvair was supposed to come with sway bars. Instead the bean counters decided to go with widely unequal front and rear tire pressures. The Pinto gas tank fix was already designed but not implemented as soon as it could have been.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            Really?

            If you’d ever driven one of those model Corvairs (as I have) you would appreciate that they had rather vicious handling characteristics, especially in the rain. Namely, they would transition quite abruptly to severe oversteer that was just about impossible to recover. To be sure, first generation Porsche 911s did the same, as did the VW Beetle . . . but the Corvair’s limits were reached much more quickly and it was sold as a family car, not a sports car.

            The original Pinto had its fuel tank hung underneath the rear of the car and behind the rear axle, just like every other American car of the era and before. The problem is the Pinto’s smaller structure did a worse job of protecting the tank from being ruptured in a rear-end collision.

            I would not put the Corvair — or the flaming Pintos — in the same category as the “sudden acceleration” of the 1980s Audi 5000 or of the recent Toyota/Lexus “stuck accelerator,” both of which I agree were chimerical.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            The federal government and independent investigators ultimately cleared the Corvair. They noted that its handling was actually better than many contemporary small cars that were not criticzed by Nader.

            An article in the September 1981 edition of the Rutgers Law Review compared the fire-related fatality rates for the Pinto with that of other small cars of the time. It found that the Pinto was in the middle of the pack. The AMC Gremlin was actually worse. I don’t recall any articles or crusades surrounding the AMC Gremlin, and I would have known, as I learned to drive on a 1973 Gremlin.

            The article also found that Mother Jones had misinterpreted the infamous “smoking gun” memo (it had nothing to do with the Pinto) and overstated the number of fire-related Pinto deaths.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            I’m not sure what “cleared the Corvair” means. The problem was real enough that GM recommended running the front tires at ridiculously low pressure to remedy it…which of course no one did. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/04/in-defense-of-the-chevrolet-corvair/

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Russycle: I’m not sure what “cleared the Corvair” means. The problem was real enough that GM recommended running the front tires at ridiculously low pressure to remedy it…which of course no one did.Both the federal government and independent investigators found that the car’s handling was not unduly dangerous.

            In a 1972 report, NHTSA found that the Corvair’s handling compared favorably with both foreign and domestic competitors – the Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, VW Beetle and Renault Dauphine. In some cases, the Corvair’s handling was actually superior.

            The results were based on severe handling tests conducted by the agency with all the cars, along with national accident data for the vehicles in question.

            Tests conducted by organizations without an axe to grind – or books to sell – ultimately determined that the car was not dangerous. Please note that “different” is not synonomous with “dangerous.”

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            That is what I always under stood – that in the end the Corvair was vindicated – but that isn’t to say that it wasn’t an over steering beast when unsettled and that GM bean counters made short cuts in production.

            Do you have a source to this? I’m not questioning you at all, I want it for my own education and back pocket.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            The report is numbered PB 211-015 and can be obtained from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).

            Was the original Corvair a GREAT car? No – except for its styling, which heavily influenced subsequent vehicle design in both Europe and Japan. But it wasn’t the death trap that Nader made it out to be.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            Just a point: Nader did lead off with the Corvair in “Unsafe at Any Speed”, but he pilloried several vehicles, of which the Corvair was one.

            The intent of the book as to prove a point about the culture of vehicle design at the time: that safety wasn’t a priority in automotive engineering, and fell well back of styling and profit. That GM eventually got around to fixing the worst of the Corvair’s deficiencies, and that they were pretty low-hanging fruit, and that the argument for not doing so on the basis of cost (when styling added as much or more) was really weak.

            Partial vindication of the Corvair doesn’t change or disprove the premise of the book.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            He used the Corvair as the centerpiece of his attack on Detroit, and the simple fact is that the car was later vindicated, and not just partially.

            I don’t recall any other vehicle being specifically mentioned by name in Unsafe at Any Speed, except for the 1953 Buick (which I’ll discuss below). Nader did later attack the original VW Beetle, but that was in a separate book.

            Even after federal safety standards for vehicles were enacted in response to his book, it would have been legal to build a vehicle with the handling characteristics of the Corvair. Which suggests that handling characteristics really aren’t a good foundation for claiming that a vehicle is inherently dangerous.

            In the end, this is what happened in court, as the main Corvair suit, stemming from a fatal 1962 accident involving a 16-year-old driver whose stepfather was a lawyer, ended up being settled in GM’s favor.

            Nader actually had a much stronger case with the failure of power brakes in the 1953 Buick. The cars had a defective O-ring, which would cause total failure of the power brakes. GM never issued a recall, instead instructing dealers to repair the cars when owners brought them in for service (or with total brake failure).

            This led to the system that requires automakers to recall cars with known safety defects. This was an important advance. But, by 1965, 1953 Buicks were over a decade old, so the press and Nader pretty much ignored that one.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            I haven’t read the report, and can’t find it online, but I assume they followed manufacturer’s specs and inflated the tires correctly. Unlike most of the people who actually owned the cars. It would be interesting to see the accident data.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            The problem wasn’t the location of the Pinto’s gas tank. If you do the math on the total number of Pinto’s (and shared platform vehicles) and the total number of deaths and injuries, one could craft a strong argument that this was the result of very severe crashes, and outliers of a handful of vehicles (that argument works on exploding Panther platform vehicles when severely rear-ended).

            What sunk Ford, just as what sunk Toyota was their callous attitude, documented on paper, and leaked out to the media. When the now infamous Ford Pinto memo was leaked, that concluded it was cheaper to pay for the occasional roasted occupants versus do a design change/repair – it was only then the story blew up.

            Consumers generally don’t give a crap. Regardless of its tendency to blow up like a Hollywood prop when struck from the rear in severe accidents, the Pinto was still a steaming pile of crap on its own.

        • 0 avatar

          There wasn’t any “new media” around in 1986 when CBS News’ 60 Minutes show said that Audi 5000s had unintended acceleration. New media also had nothing to do, in 1993, with NBC hooking up model rocket engines to a Chevy pickup to make the gas tanks catch fire.

          Actually, when there were only a handful of news gatekeepers, it was much easier to propagate a lie. You’re just unhappy that people can now refute the accepted NYT narrative.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            You’re just unhappy that people can now refute the accepted NYT narrative.

            No, I’m unhappy that stuff like the story above gets play. Sloppy is as sloppy does, whether it’s The Wall St. Journal or Pravda.

            Worse, I’m unhappy that in less than a half day we have an fictional, or at least wholly unsupported allegation, being represented as truth by virtue of it’s being passed, Chinese Whispers-style, from agency to agency.

            Even worse than that, there’s no accountability for this kind of thing. Each participant in this little game of “pass the bullsh_t” adds just enough to make it not actual lying.

            I don’t like the modern media, “new” or “old”: it’s a perfect storm of opportunism, lack of accountability and a willingness to wreck people’s lives and lie like a rug when the money is there, and it’s made all the worse for it’s targets having very little recourse.

            And please, don’t make this a right-versus-left thing. I’m sure you’d be just as knickers-in-a-twist if this was Daily Kos spreading crap instead of, eg Breitbart or LGF or someone on “your team” just as you’re quite willing to quote academics authoritatively about the bankruptcy when they agree with your take on it, but denigrate academia as a whole on a position you don’t like.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            The “old” media did things like this – and worse – in the bad old days.

            The rigged fuel tanks to show the “dangers” of GM’s full-size pickups in 1993 by NBC’s Dateline was far more egregious than this editorial, or anything put out by the “new” media today. As someone who was around at that time, I distinctly remember that the initial invective was directed at…the parties who dared to question the Dateline narrative.

            The ideas that things are somehow “worse” today, and that the decades before the advent of the internet represented some sort of Golden Age of Objective Reporting, are false.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            I see the point of misunderstanding: I’m not saying there was a golden ago of media, not all. I spent too much time around Media Studies people to harbour any delusions.**

            I’m saying that new media, while it has a democratizing influence, is also subject to base populism, short attention spans and even less accountability. On the whole, it all balances out.

            ** interesting little tidbit: my first-year residence room in university was Marshall McLuhan’s old office.

          • 0 avatar

            Excuse me, but LGF hasn’t been anywhere near the right side of the spectrum since Johnson went off the rails about intelligent design.

            As for Daniel Howes, I like his writing and don’t think he’d publish an unsourced article. I’ve emailed him asking him to clarify what his various sources say.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Remember the famous Lincoln ads of the 1980s that noted the lack of differentiation between Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile? Supposedly Ford pulled those ads after a call from Roger Smith of GM. The ads were effectively ridiculing GM’s downsized luxury cars. Cadillac sales weren’t that hot while Lincoln Town Car sales were quite robust.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Freedom of speech is alive and well. Heil Obama!

  • avatar
    Durwood

    What about GMs lies when they say they paid the money back already? They haven’t paid back crap. That last 5 billion they said they paid was just some of the money they didn’t need is all. Meanwhile we the people are stuck with all these stocks that will never hit the $131.00 that it would take for us to break even.It’s one thing to bail them out and get paid back the money , but it is another to never get it back when they said we did. Ford has a right to say anything they want and is still more truthful then GM.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    I do hope everyone involved in perpetuating this tragic stain of reporting enjoys their vacation in the land of conclusions. Let’s stir the pot a bit more and insinuate people are getting paid to parrot this piece…

    None of this is exactly new media; it’s taking advantage of chaos and uncertainty which has been pretty effective in spreading ideas since Martin Luther, at least.

  • avatar
    evan

    I love the quote in the article: Bailouts are so un-American.

    Ah, the irony.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    This is all very amusing.

    White House pressures, Ford pulls.

    But, what’s classic is how Ford plays on the ignorance of 99% of the public–”We didn’t take no bailout!”

    If GM had closed, enough of it’s suppliers would buckle, and Ford would have failed. That’s why Ford endorsed the bailout.

    The real con job is Mullaly’s–$55 million to save Ford, when the Feds did it for him!

    Priceless!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    You can’t have your editorial cake and eat it to.

    December 21, 2010, The Truth About Cars…

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/blue-ops-the-clandestine-bailout-of-ford/

    Blue Ops: The Clandestine Bailout Of Ford

    From March 2009 through August 2009, Ford was the biggest borrower from that heretofore undercover lending facility for carmakers in need.

    Knowing that he will be torn to shreds unless he has impeccable evidence, Fry presents a complete timeline, from the first withdrawal from the CPFF on 10/27/08 through Fords refusal of government aid on 1/29/09 (same day: Ford Motor Credit rolls over $1.488 billion of CP with the CPFF) to multiple transactions in the summer of 2009.

    Follow the timeline, and read the article in Fry’s article at The Daily Reckoning.

    Those are Bertel’s words. Yes I get Bertel and Ed are two different people. But if TTAC stands behind Bertel’s piece, then the Ford ad was misleading, at best, false at worse. And let me remind the editors of TTAC, they were the ones who rolled with the word “bailout” in the headline about Ford’s taking of ‘guberment money – it is not me putting words in anyone’s mouth.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Exactly. I’m wondering if the White House’s question was “Does this mean you won’t be asking for any more loans from us?” It’s hardly coercion to stop handing out money to someone who’s busting your balls for handing out money. Hey, this speculation stuff is fun!

  • avatar
    VelocityRed3

    This thread started out kinda nebulous & then it got downright tenuous. Kudos, TTAC, Kudos!

  • avatar
    thornmark

    In response to some irresponsible assertion that climate science is settled.

    Science trumps climate change alarmists:
    CERN experiment overturns global-warming orthodoxy
    The 20-year-long global warming debate is in its final stages, the controversy having been settled over whether manmade causes such as carbon dioxide or natural causes such as the Sun dominate climate change on Earth.

    First, the global warming doomsayers lost the argument in the court of public opinion — barely one-third of the U.S. public, for example, now believes that human activity can lead to dangerous warming.

    Then, the doomsayers lost the economic argument when attempts to develop renewable energy proved utterly futile. The world is instead rapidly developing its fossil fuels, recently discovered to be so plentiful that they can meet mankind’s needs for centuries to come.

    And now, the global warming doomsayers have lost their pretended monopoly on the official science. Their long-standing claim that only a scientific fringe denies the dominant role of humans — a claim that was never true — has ended. One of the world’s largest and most prestigious scientific organizations — more on that later — now formally opposes the IPCC’s official position that the Sun and other natural phenomena are all-but irrelevant to climate change….
    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/09/02/lawrence-solomon-our-cosmic-climate/

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Ummm, no.

      CERN didn’t say anything at all like what the author of that piece is claiming. The article, by the way, is precisely the kind of irresponsible editorialized nonsense masquerading as journalism that I mentioned earlier today.

      CERN said that cosmic rays can’t be proven not the have an effect on cloud formation in the upper atmosphere. The whole rest of the article is wishful conjecture on the part of the author, who is citing third- and fourth-hand information and, well, lying about consensus.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    With the crony capitalism that is rampant in the US today, I am going to just keep buying Jap cars. They are better anyway. American big business is now too busy currying favor with the federal government to care much about consumers. Just look at the number of companies that have moved their headquarters to DC: http://www.bing.com/search?q=companies+move+headquarters+to+washington+dc&go=&qs=n&sk=&form=QBLH
    It’s pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      With the crony capitalism that is rampant in the US today, I am going to just keep buying Jap cars

      I hate to disappoint you, but “crony capitalism” almost perfectly describes the keiretsu system and it’s general alignment of goals of both government and industry.

  • avatar

    Swing axles were used on cars from the late 1920s into the 1960s. Nothing Nader said was unknown, swing axle cars have a tendency to oversteer (to simplify things, with apologies to Mr. Baruth). In particular, they can result in “jacking”, extreme camber changes and reduction in contact patch. Still, almost all early independent rear suspension designs used swing axles and the problems were known.

    Owners of early Triumph Spitfires knew their cars needed “camber compensators”. GM should have made those sway bars standard on the Corvair but went with the cheap solution, running different tire pressures front and back.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      May be if GM had just stencled “T.P.” on the Corvair fender-lip followed by the pressure value Ernie Kovacs would be alive today (drunken driven notwithstanding!)

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    I hate to disappoint you, but “crony capitalism” almost perfectly describes the keiretsu system and it’s general alignment of goals of both government and industry.

    Speaking of Japan, all that crony capitalism, industrial policy, and massive overspending haven’t worked out too well. What are they in, now, their second “lost decade”?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Stalin is as Stalin does.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Could Mulally have foreseen the benefit to Ford of GM and Chryco getting bailed out by the taxpayers? If so, bravo.


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