Another Michael Moore Howler

I was listening to NPR in a cab a week ago Sunday and heard an interview with Michael Moore on the [then] impending bankruptcy of GM.  It is perfectly logical to interview Moore on such a topic, as he has been a long-time critic of GM's management, and I was curious to see what he would say.

In the interview, Moore was asked why GM failed.  I wish I had a transcript to ge the exact words, but in effect he said that 1) GM failed because it did not pay its workers enough and 2) GM failed because the US has not promoted enough mass transit.

Huh?  This is certainly a unique perspective, that GM with some of the highest manufacturing labor costs in the world, failed because its labor costs were not high enough.  His "logic" seems to have been that by not paying its workers enough, GM caused real middle class income to stagnate for decades which therefore reduced demand for its cars.   And don't even get me started on the proposition that GM was worse off because the government did not subsidize competitive transit modes enough.   I guess it does not really surprise me that Moore, who wants the US medical care system to emulate Cuba, would be so illogical.  But how does a seasoned journalist just let this stuff pass in an interview?  Incredible.

  • DrTorch

    Unprovable assertions, the mainstay of political discussions.

    I would challenge Moore's assertion that GM's "low" pay hurt the US middle class. This is not the 1940s, the US middle class has grown well beyond auto factory workers.

    Moore's fantasy preoccupation w/ the Flint of his youth has blinded him to the possibilities of job creation and economic growth. Not only can he not see the possibilities, he can't see it when it surrounds him.

  • nom de guerre

    used to listen to NPR occasionally when all the other stations were doing that famous "synchronize the commercials to run at exactly the same time" stunt they do so well. gave it up after awhile: you could tell that they clearly thought of themselves (and, by natural extension) their listeners as an intellectual elite (LOL) and they were just so PROUD of themselves it became ludicrous. add to that the template for **each and every story filed from a foreign land** began in *precisely* the same way: 1)open with noise specific to the locality in question - a buzzing bazaar; toucans calling from a tropical rainforest; Noble Native Americans chanting as they dance around a fire....2)enter with reporter making an attempt to enhabce the earlier local color even more with a trenchant descriptive phrase - "spring comes late to the ural mountains"; "the day starts early for diyya and his fishermen friends as they sail their small fishing boats into lake ngombamba" - 3)interview 1 (and only 1) "spokesperson" who will parrot the line NPR wants to sell that day, which is ALWAYS 4)"it's all america's fault".

    as for interviews, in all the time i listened, they never - not once - challenged any assertion made by a leftist, no matter how ridiculous it might be. so of course, fatboy moore's whoppers passed muster. (this rule did not apply, of course, on those rare occasion when a non-liberal was allowed near an NPR mic.)

    finally gave it up. as bad as the jock-sniffing asskisser player groupies on sports radio might be, at least there's a diversity of opinion allowed occasionally. ("the raiders suck!" "do not!" "do too!" no, YOU suck!!" "do not!" etc.)

  • Tim

    Michael Moore's assertion is that GM should be redirected, by their new majority shareholder, to constructing light rail trainsets. Of course, the irony of
    that is that GM's hybrid bus technology has saved more petroleum than all of the
    Priuses and Insights put together.

  • DrTorch

    ndg- That's the funniest post I've read in a long time.

  • Obloodyhell

    > But how does a seasoned journalist just let this stuff pass in an interview? Incredible.

    Worry more about how many viewers watch without grasping the flaws you describe. THAT will be the downfall of America.

    > he can’t see it when it surrounds him.

    Well, let's face it. It's not easy for *anything* to "surround" him. He gives his tailor fits. I hear the textile output of entire nations is involved.

    :oP

  • Michael

    When I hear "Michael Moore" and "seasoned", I think of food not journalist.

  • kebko

    Here is his essay, at Huffington Post, which covers the same ground:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/goodbye-gm_b_209603.html

    It is HIGHLY entertaining. Maybe the funniest thing I've read in months. The comments are depressing, though. Here is but one example. This line still has me laughing out loud, days after reading it:

    "The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal."

    There's no parody like self-parody.

  • mishu

    “The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven’t used it, is criminal.”

    That's stupid because technology exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 6 hours.

  • Bill

    It's not unusual for some on the far left to argue the key to economic recovery and growth is to increase wages so that workers will have more to spend on consumption, thus increasing "aggregate demand."

    These folks should read, at a minimum, the "Enough to Buy the Product Back" chapter of Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson."
    http://jim.com/econ/chap21p1.html

  • Larry Sheldon

    "But how does a seasoned journalist just let this stuff pass in an interview?"

    Sort of a self-answering question, innit?

  • MJ

    There is a great deal of irony in Moore's claim that GM has failed because it produced vehicles that consumers didn't want, but that the answer is for the federal government to commandeer auto plants and to force the automakers to build equipment for other types of transportation that consumers have demonstrated they don't want.

  • kebko

    Mishu:
    Oh, that's just one of many reasons why it's funny. Reason #2:

    After the photojournalists leave, how many times do you think Michael Moore would take that 17 hour train ride from New York to LA? Answer: 0.

  • Michael
  • Allen

    It was probably the same reporter that took the recent study on acupuncture that found that acupuncture is no better than it's placebo and ran with it as though acupuncture was some great treatment. 3/4th of the way through they finally mentioned that it hadn't faired any better than the placebo in the study. Instead of the radio article being something like "hey, we've got another medical study showing acupuncture doesn't work" despite knowing about the placebo they still went with the "acupuncture helps back problems" angle.

    I couldn't find the transcript of that interview either. But straight from the horses mouth :

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/1/737485/-Goodbye,-GM

    It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars? History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.

  • Jim Collins

    The main problem here isn't what the reporter writes, it is the number of people who believe him. For this I blame our educational system. Only problem is,that our educational system is doing exactly what it is designed to do, dumb down the population so that they will believe the liberalist crap that is being spouted by Obama and Michael Moron and conveyed by a biased media.

  • HS

    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.

    The same reasons why GM failed is the same reason the US will fail. From a free, hard working entity, producing great products and creating wealth, to an over-regulated, lazy dependent blob too complacent to change, even in an obvious bankruptcy.

  • guessingtwice

    I used to listen to NPR regularly as I drive a lot and also am very interested in news. I realized that NPR was a left leaning source of news but they do have some slick programming, very easy to listen to (Not like the dim-wits at Fox News - really, where does Fox come up with these morons?)

    However, with the hard left bias that was demonstrated by NPR during the time of the Bush administration I just couldn't stomach them anymore. I almost never listen to NPR anymore and don't intend to go back. If I want to listen to left-wing propaganda I can find a source that is not supported by my tax dollars the way NPR is. As a matter of fact, for those of us who say we aren't going to purchase vehicles from the new GM (Government Motors), wouldn't the same principle hold true in eliminating NPR from our radio stations we listen to?

  • SunSword

    Both Chrysler and GM are toast. They will emerge from bankruptcy slimmed down but -- their fundamental problem is that (a) conservatives will now simply NOT buy from "government motors" and (b) leftists don't buy from them anyway. So who are they going to sell to? Well, they will sell to the federal government for government vehicles. But that's a pretty limited market. So in another couple years, both Chrysler and GM will be returning to the well for even more taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately...by then we will have climbing inflation, higher taxes, and still have a double digit unemployment rate (I believe).

  • tomw

    Hmmm. How can these people that cannot afford to buy GM built autos be well off enough to purchase all those shiny new Toyotas and Hondas? Something wrong with the logic here, no? Besides the fact that some, not all, of the Toyotas and Hondas are built right here in the good ol' US of A. By 'murricans...!
    Moore is a hypocrite. In more ways than one. See: starving children picture compared to his multiple chins... Okay, I'm being rude. I'll quit.

    tom