Monday, June 01, 2009

Euphemisms (Spin Control)

As I sit in mourning for old fashioned journalism, I ponder what has happened in the last few years. News has become show business, both in the print media and television, mostly but not all, in the TV industry.

For the last week, we have been reading about the upcoming bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors.In the case of General Motors, the plan is for the, "Tax Payers" to own 70 % of GM. This is where spin comes in. First, I as a tax payer will not own any of either corporation. The U.S. Government will. It was tax payers that originally owned both. When GM comes out of bankruptcy, those taxpayers that used to own this huge company, will be stuck with worthless stock certificates.

In the old days of news reporting, this dodge, (no pun intended) would have not been thinkable. Some ask why didn't the company and the US government act sooner, like a year ago? The simple truth is that we, the public have short memories. In the case of the so called recession, most active young people, and even many middle aged, have never experienced a serious downturn in the over all economy.

Sure, logging and mining, here in North Idaho have seen serious slumps and in many cases, especially logging, these large, labor intensive businesses are gone. One such mill is now the Resort Golf Course. Others, lined the Spokane river, from the north end of Lake Coeur d'Alene, to Post falls. Now, just the forlorn pilings south of the Hwy 95 bridge, stand sentinel as the vacant log booms of yesterday are long gone.

To put this all in perspective, General Motors is 100 years old.That means that they were an automotive manufacturer since 1909, which eclipses the great depression. Our fearless leaders, not wanting a general panic, as happened in 1929 and the subsequent depression which was mostly lack of confidence in our ability to come back, lasted another 8 years or more. This is why GM wasn't forced into bankruptcy a year ago.

The spin, is by definition, a statement of fact that tends to hint at something other than bare truth. It is time for the news industry to stop playing Patsy with the government and admit that when this is all over, the US government will have taken over most of our privately held heavy industry as well as a large chunk of the finance sector. At the end of the day, if this isn't stopped, we'll be more socialist than Russia.

Let's look at the alternative. If GM had just gone bankrupt, new owners would have popped up, bought the business from the courts and started over. Maybe GM gobbled up two many smaller car companies and got too large. Don't forget that names like: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Plymouth, Dodge, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chrysler,Willy's, the maker of jeeps, were not just model names. These were separate car manufacturers that were gobbled up by what is now General Motors,and Chrysler, which will exist no more than one month from now. A new company will sprout from the old, run principally by the government, not stockholders. How many of you think that government can run a business better than private enterprise. In the coming years, look for the Supreme Court to be very, very busy.

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