Quote Of The Day: Why We Fight Edition

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

In yesterday’s housekeeping post, more than a few readers took TTAC to task for writing flame bait, and then expecting readers not to flame the site, its authors or fellow commentators. A commentator compared us to a seedy bar that expects its patrons to behave like ladies and gentlemen. Compliments on the metaphor, mate, but there’s a reason why TTAC has a ‘tude. It’s the same reason I started this site some nine years ago: the mainstream automotive press are, in the main, craven toadies living in the pocket of the industry that they cover. As a trained journalist, I can see it in the questions my colleagues don’t ask. The obsequious way they timidly point out slight flaws in vehicles, marketing or executives—-and the scurry back to the party line, hoping not to get swatted by the objects of their non-ire for daring to point out that not everything is sunshine and roses, really. With me or without me, this site’s raison d’etre: tell the the no-holds-barred truth about cars. If TTAC’s boisterous or (yes) bombastic in its editorial content, please, look what we’re up against. I present to you Automotive News publisher and editorial director Keith Crain’s revelatory masterpiece: “ Whatever Happened to Ethical Behavior” [sub].

Last week, Fortune magazine published a “kiss and tell” story by Steven Rattner about his experiences as part of the U.S. auto task force, a post he resigned last summer. He followed up with a speech and several interviews . . .

Rattner’s article and his public statements are conduct unbecoming any past or present federal official. It is wrong for him to take advantage of private meetings and private information about people and companies and blast them in public. No journalist seems to have noticed his complete lack of ethics while they chase a juicy story . . .

Regardless of what you think of General Motors and their past and present executives, no one who was regulating them and making decisions that determined the life or death of the corporation should be discussing the information and the conversations that he had.

Automotive News (AN) is a tremendous provider of information on the business of making cars. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t blog one of their stories, or chase down a story based on their heads-up. We rely on AN’s hard data for the accuracy of much of our own coverage.

But when the publisher of an industry news source chastises another reliable source (Fortune) for publishing the truth about the biggest story in American automotive history, you’ve got to wonder what the insiders at AN are hiding.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the hippies were right about one thing: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Whatever else you might say about TTAC or its inherently unbalanced posting policy, you can’t accuse us of that.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
2 of 36 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Oct 29, 2009
    An equity investor has to control the board of directors to hire or fire the CEO. Perhaps your years of legal experience have kept you too busy to read the newspapers, but you should have noticed that the bailout plan also gave control of the Board to those providing the bailout capital and largess, namely the governments of the United States, Canada and Ontario. In any case, when a DIP lender or white knight partner provides $50 billion in cash and prevents the collapse of the company, then guess who gets to call the shots. If GM didn't like it, they should have borrowed the money from someone else. The bailouts were not an entitlement program, the cash had strings attached. If anything, there should have been more strings, not fewer of them.
  • Jamie1 (of Ford) Jamie1 (of Ford) on Oct 29, 2009

    http://www.speedsportlife.com/2009/09/21/avoidable-contact-28-lincoln-and-cadillac-mkt-and-cts-v-one-last-time-to-the-death/ As if proof were needed that journalists from all sides view and review vehicles in a very different way, check out this review by TTAC's own Jack Baruth on the MKT and then compare this to Robert Farago's view. We can all make up our own minds which article we find more amusing, or better written, or carries more weight. Both views exist - it is important to weigh them all up before deciding if they are either wrong or right. Me, I read these things for amusement and entertainment but not for authority per se. That is my job when I head down to the dealer to try one out for myself.

  • Tassos Generally I prefer that exploited labor remain domestic like in the service and trade industries. Given the complex and global integration of supply chains and materials sourcing I accept that most manufacturing must be managed by foreign 'kapos'.
  • Lorenzo 1 million barrels is 42 million gallons. The country uses 368 million gallons a DAY. The reserve was set aside after Hurricane Sandy caused a gasoline shortage for emergency vehicles. The hurricane season starts on June 1 and is predicted to be active. Nice going.
  • Chuck Norton Toolguy- I have. It's hard on the knees...
  • EBFlex Welp the corpse is at it again. They think they can buy votes by selling off from the SPR. The best thing they could do to get votes is close the border and start deporting people. That would guarantee them a win in November. As of right now though, they are not doing that and Trump is rising in the polls every day.
  • Jalop1991 What is this "dealer" thing Ford speaks of?