Editorial: General Motors Death Watch 236: The MSM Wakes Up to GM C11. Then Goes Back to Sleep.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Despite General Motors’ epic slide into Chapter 11, or perhaps because of it, its defenders are busy re-writing history. It’s the Poseidon Adventure redux: a huge, well-run ship overwhelmed by a sudden, terrible force of nature. Except this ship will eventually right itself. In truth, GM really is the Titanic: a badly built vessel helmed by men blinded by short-term greed and long-term hubris headed for Davey Jones’ locker. Make no mistake: GM CEO Rick Wagoner had the chance to return GM to dry dock, repair the company’s flaws, and make it across turbulent seas. But then Wagoner is a GM lifer—his cowardice is both genetic and institutional. What’s the mainstream media’s excuse?

This is the day after GM’s auditors told the world that the automaker may not be a “going concern.” It’s also the day the MSM has finally come to grips with GM’s utter ruination at the hands of its tacitly incompetent management. Or not.

For example, Daniel Howes’ column in the Detroit News is the same as it ever was. Although Howes chastises “the skeptics, the deniers and the deluded” for not facing the truth about GM, and his tone has switched from enthusiastic cheerleader to horrified bystander, he still believes that GM has a future– under Uncle Sam’s taxpayer supported wing.

“[The auditors’ report] also should remind the White House just how perilous a GM failure could be for their friends in labor, voters in the industrial Midwest and a fragile national economy.”

As John McEnroe used to say (before CBS signed his paychecks), you CANNOT be serious. Mr. Howes has been carrying the can/pouring the Kool-Aid/providing aid and succor/kissing the ass of these GM C11 deniers for years. This morning’s minimum opus proves he still doesn’t get it: GM is toast.

It’s bizarre. An MSM industry insider reckons the auditors’ report declaring GM kaput will help his hometown heroes confront the reality of GM’s bottom line—so they can avoid the reality of GM’s bottom line. Get out of denial to jump back in. At the taxpayer’s expense. Without anything remotely resembling a coherent and believable “return to viability” plan.

It may arrive as a piercing glimpse into the obvious, but even after GM’s “we’re NSFWed” SEC filing, the agenda-driven MSM continues to view GM’s death throes through the prism of their pre-existing prejudice.

NPR’s The Takeaway interviewed me this morning about the “automotive bubble.” Host John Hockenberry seemed more concerned with the Obama Administration’s electric car future than the fact that “big bad” GM (as opposed to naughty truck-building Toyota) is going away.

Sad but true: MSM’s failure to “move the needle” in its understanding and presentation of the scope, scale and immutability of GM’s perils has enabled the company’s outrageous call on the public purse. In fact, it’s increasingly clear that both GM and the MSM see down as the new up. The worse the news, the greater the justification for the feds to hang another multi-billion dollar bag on Motown’s IV pole.

Just this morning, GM admitted that its request for an additional $30B federal “loan”—on top of the $13.4B already pissed away—won’t be enough to dig it out of its hole. You heard right. Please sir, may I have some more? (As spoken by Frank L. “Bobo” Marrapese Jr.) There’s no way GM could have gone public with this admission without a mostly complacent MSM. In a world with a properly informed and skeptical media, GM’s begging bowl would have been smashed to pieces.

I repeat: where is the media reporting on this fresh, unsustainable assault on taxpayer largesse? In the Detroit Free Press’ case, they’re chewing the fat with GM’s CFO. The Freep reports that Ray Young claims to be “monitoring the situation closely.” Not to worry; Young had “planned for a weak first quarter.” Huh. Does that mean GM intentionally low-balled their initial suckle request?

CNNMoney isn’t bothered. The simply parrot GM’s PR spinmeister’s Fastlane Blog defense of the company’s long term future. The New York Times also isn’t interested in ripping GM a new one. “The [SEC] announcement does not mean bankruptcy is imminent. But it underscores how difficult it will be for GM to successfully complete the restructuring plan that it filed with the Treasury Department last month.”

Hang on . . . didn’t Young just say GM can’t complete their restructuring plan as written?

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal continues its descent into the journalistic abyss. Once again, they’re basing a story on “a person close the matter.” This time he’s saying GM’s open to a government-sponsored C11. Yeah right.

When GM finally files for C11, the MSM will continue the spin. They won’t even blink when GM asks for tens of billions for debtor-in-possession financing. The tough questions—which should have been asked five years ago—will once again go unasked.

Too big to fail? As far as the media’s concerned, the answer’s yes. Even when it’s no.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Mar 07, 2009

    Menno: thanks for clarifying. Admirable traits all. And the link was helpful. One more indicator that I am in extremely deep waters on this site. And keep coming back to learn more from the B&B. Maybe one day I'll make the grade myself. Nice to hear about people with conviction and innate grit surviving the modern era with all the shamelessness and toxic narcissistic behavior going on at all levels. No toe stepping done on these feet.You're simply correct. Best,

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Mar 07, 2009
    nutherlogin: Tha fact is that the MSM is in the same boat. They cannot possibly be frank - they must have GM be given unrestrained handouts - for this is what they themselves will be lining up for. +1. So-called 'news'papers especially. Sure, Google's employees' contribute 80/20 in favor of Dems. But I trust their (100 percent union-free) workers to fix the news gathering model more so than today's so-called journalists.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."