DetN Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: Kirkorian Sold Ford Stock Because of Escaping Execs
As we’ve just reported, The Detroit News seems to have abandoned the normal standards of reporting. In j-School ethics world– informed as it is by the movie All The President’s Men— if you can’t confirm a story with two independent sources, you either don’t run it or you clearly identify the info as unverified. As in “according to unconfirmed anonymous sources,” presenting the resulting material as speculation. To avoid the semantic hoops, TTAC established the Wild Ass Rumor (WAR) category. With this story on Kirk Kerkorian’s Ford stock sell-a-thon, we’re deploying WAR on the DetN’s behalf. “Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s decision to sell off his stake in Ford Motor Co. may have been precipitated by a series of high-profile departures from the struggling automaker that began less than two weeks ago with the abrupt resignation of Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair. Since then, two of Ford’s most respected board members also have tendered their resignations. Ford says the events are unrelated, but a source close to Ford’s largest private shareholder told The Detroit News that Kerkorian doubts that and is concerned that the departures signal trouble at the top of the nation’s second largest auto company.” Trouble at Ford? NO WAY! And there’s no reason Kirk would want to pin the blame for his $600m or so loss on someone else, is there? More meshugas after the jump.
“Privately, Ford executives suggested Kerkorian began selling off his shares in the automaker to protect his MGM Mirage investment. Publicly, Ford said it is too busy fixing its automotive operations to worry about where Kerkorian puts his money.” Privately, as in another anonymous source? Sounds like you need a reservation to secure a quiet corner of a parking garage in Motown these days. Or maybe we could just substitute “publicly” for reporting and “privately” for reportorial creative license.
“And while York has said publicly that he views the [Ford] family’s continued ownership as a source of stability in a turbulent industry, Tracinda has privately maintained that it represents a serious impediment to the kind of collaborations with other automakers it wanted to see explored.” You see, “Ford family members have been wary of Kerkorian’s intentions since he first began buying up shares. That contributed to the cool reception Ford gave his offer to inject additional cash into the automaker, which has lost nearly $24 billion since the end of 2005.” Which Ford family members? Oh right, they probably spoke to Bryce G, Hoffman “privately.” Sorry for asking.
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