Posted by: David Kiley on November 12, 2008
I had a couple of conversations and e-mail exchanges with people inside General Motors and with those doing business with GM about the fact that the company is getting its hide ripped off.
You know what material info I got back? GM has cancelled its press briefing at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week and withdrawn the availability of vice chairman Bob Lutz.
I blogged earlier today about the inane column in The New York Times today written by Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman, who usually is the smartest guy in the room, has long had a burr in his pants about Detroit. He also has a blindspot for truth and reality.
It was a little distressing to see MSNBC today during two of its shows, Morning Joe and Hardball, to give Friedman an unchallenged microphone to amplify what was a pretty wrong-headed column.
Look…I am not carrying water for GM or Ford. I am carrying water for the truth. And while there was some truth in Friedman’s column, it was out-shouted by the innaccuracies and distortions about the true state of play in Detroit.
What I can’t figure out is why, except for TV spots on Fox Business News and Bloomberg TV by GM CEO Rick Wagoner last Friday, two very low-rated TV programs, why there isn’t a credible witness for the Defense on TV.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has been on TV sticking up for her industry. And GM dealers have, I am told, have made 10,000 legislator contacts in the last week. But what’s missing is the discussion beyond jobs to point out to nay-sayers that GM and Ford have narrowed the gap with the Japanese to an almost statistically insignificant gap on quality, and can go vehicle to vehicle with Toyota on fuel economy.
How about GM president Troy Clark or GM sales and marketing chief Mark LaNeve to give their side of things; provided they were well prepared with sharp arguments and not blithering talking points.
This is not a quiet period. Yes, Congress is deliberating an aid package. They are also deliberating what kinds of restrictions and handcuffs to put on the executives in exchange for the money. Yes, GM is runing out of money.
But exactly what are you waiting for before you start bringing a compelling case to the public on why you deserve to be saved.
The low point today for me was listening to Friedman turn up the volume on his rant on MSNBC, followed by Mississippi Governor Haley Barber (Mississippi is home to Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing)effusively agree with him. (Um…Governor…you may be interested to know that Nissan’s plant there isn’t a raging success since the company fell on its face with pickup truck and a big SUV.)
I’m trying to find the precedent that shows how a company on the ropes—financially and with most of the public—succeeded by going dark.