Where Are Your Priorities?


1959 Caddy. But does democracy hinge on this?

Washington, it seems, is not prepared to let the auto industry and Detroit go down the tubes.

The bail out is going to happen, even if the White House has to fund it itself from the $700 billion rescue fund.

While cars are nice, and everyone understands the impact of Ford, GM and Chrysler going Chapter 11, one must wonder about the impact of losing The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and The LA Times… not to mention a few others.

While Senators and Congressmen fall all over themselves to bail out the failed American car industry, not one person raises a single voice to bail out the failing American newspaper business.

Strange culture we have.

The newspaper business is the only industry enshrined in the US Consitution. The First Amendment guaranteed the right to a free press.  Perhaps, had the US Contitution been written in the 1950s, it might have guaranteed every citizen the right to cheap and dependable transportation – but it does not.

A free press, as the Founding Fathers made clear, was the cornerstone of a democratic society.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost”

Jefferson did not, as far as we know, say anything about our liberty being dependent upon a reasonably priced automobile that is manufactured in the United States.

Automobiles are still going to be made.

They are going to come from Japan and Germany.

No one will go wthout a car who wants one. In fact, you will be able to get a good car for less money from Japan, just as you do now. Who can tell? Lexus? Why not?

But let the newspapers die and you will be hard pressed to replace The New York Times with the Asahi Shinbum.

It says a great deal about our society, and none of it good by the way, that we are willing to countenance and watch as detached observers, the death of the American newspaper industry, yet we are seemingly unable to do the same with cars.

I say, the time has come for a bailout for the American newspaper industry.

A few billion dollars to cushion the blow as they make the difficult transition from print to online only.

Help keep the journalists, with their many years of experience, in place.  Believe me, a great reporter is a whole lot harder to replace than a line worker in Detroit.  Once you lose them, they are gone forever.

Let the publishers of The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The LA Times go down to DC for Senate Hearings. They won’t take private jets – they don’t have any.  Let them explain to the Senate and to the American people just how important quality journalism is to a functioning democracy.

Let’s set up a loan fund for the papers, just like we’re going to do for Detroit.

You are on a sinking ship and you can only rescue one: A Chevy Aveo or The New York Times, which do you pick?


9 responses to “Where Are Your Priorities?

  1. We are not the USSA, United Socialist States of Amerika. Not quite there yet.

    This is a free press. We know it really isn’t, but the government can not be involved with pay for play when it comes to using taxpayer money to bail out the New York Times.
    Anyone who thinks that’s OK for the government to be involved with paying the media, is ready for PRAVDA.

  2. all these media companies would be wise to declare chapter 11 now.

    the car companies should do the same.

    chapter 11 has some great advantages/protections for the debtor. and trib’s filing last week provides ample cover.

    of course, they’ll be FORCED to reinvent themselves… maybe that’s what’s holding them back?

    that’s certainly true for the detroit auto industry.

  3. p.s. i’ve seen too many of these lately-


  4. Duane Halgrimson

    What are My priorities! This what the priorities are for a majority of americans.
    Twenty years ago I was a General Manager for a Small Car Dealership in a small western state town that had been in business for nearly fifty years. I had a friend running a family newspaper for about the same length of time. Basically the same thing that is happening now with the credit /money crunch and the same view toward the car companies and car dealers. The view of the car company was as it is now ,that there was too many dealers.

    I should point out that vehicles are sold to dealers BEFORE they are sold to the consumers.
    Thats why they have to either have the money CASH or a Flooring credit plan to finance vehicle inventory. Ask Henry Ford how he demanded his money for vehicles in bad economic times when the vehicles were not even ordered , but he still kept the production lines running! Henry Ford II brought McNamara to finally bring order but the old rule still applies When the car hits the ground the dealer starts paying for it or trades it with another dealer or hopefully sells it to the consumer for a profit. The factory/manufacturer got paid when it hit the ground! How much the factory makes as percentage on the building of a vehicle has been a deep dark secret in any car company. but it can be derived by various means which would take too long here. lets just say that the car companies make ten to twenty times the profit that the dealer does depending on the vehicle!
    Ok so attrition of the dealers was allowed and ignored to close shop and depending on where that was ,and what the manufacturer made etc, etc. Yeah lots of reasons why I”m sure but I believe a explaination of manufacturers business model would explain it better.

    Why was there so many dealers in the first Because everybody made MONEY!!! Because the manufacturers could not do the whole thing! They had their hands full just making cars. Try As they wanted they had to share the wealth begrudgingly! A short version is greedy. SAme as you view with the telephone and anything of created and percieved value.

    Fast forward to today. The car companies are still trying to reduce operating costs but maintain profits according to the rate of inflation .thats a whole other story! If they could sell every car over the internet, they would but cars are not quite there YET But they will BE shortly. So a whole lot of NEW Car DEalers are gone from small towns and places that were the reason for those places to exist because of the technology of the day. Whats replaced them? Sometimes nothing, but alot of the time , Independent USED car dealers and Independent repair shops, Yes I know they may not as good or maybe they are fantastic . but a second economic tier never the less.

    OH MY friend that ran the family NEWSpaper business? Well about ten years ago they sold out to Gannett and became a subsidery of that chain and operated it for the chain. Him and his brother wrote Editorials, still do, But they live in another larger town 80 miles away. They commute when they have to. I heard that the store front they have the office is going to close and the web site of the paper will take care of most daily needs, and the town will get one reporter for local content.

    Does the business model sound familiar?

    OK How come there is one american company that keeps going into country after country and keeps maintaining its profit margins and continues to opening more stores and by the way decreasing the size of the stores I might add. Communities fight them in the courts when they hear they are coming. They do it all Its all in house. It doesn’t matter where in the world . Are they gready? are they cheap? depends on how you look at their business model .
    Will we want to bail them out if they ever need it? I doubt it!!
    That Company? WALMART

    If I get my news from a server or router from India or China I won’t be surprised. JUst don’t expect me to learn a foreign language. BEing greedy or cheap is being American. The rest of the world wants to like us and at the same time hates us because of it.

    Priorties? I’m like everybody else ! Me First!!

  5. Pingback: - Are You Riled Up? - » Blog Archive » Where Are Your Priorities? « Rosenblumtv

  6. Not for nuthin’… (or whatever that means…)

    I would buy American cars. I really would. I would even put up with a certain level of problems with them. I love the great old American cars. I have no romance for a ’60s Honda. I want to support my fellow countrymen in their work.

    But, dammit, it’s like they just don’t want me as a customer.

    I travel a bit, and am usually put in an American car when I rent. Sometimes now, I get one that even looks kinda cool. (The Dodge Charger ain’t bad. The Ford Mustang’s OK.) Then you drive the things. Plastic interior. Loud road noise. Uncomfortable seats. Cheap-looking dash. Flimsy trim.

    Then look up the repair records at any non-biased site. The US cars are usually at the bottom.

    There’s no public outcry to save these folks because we feel they have taken something great (The American Automobile) and turned it into crap, all while trying to shame us into buying it. They’ve lied to us in the dealership, reluctantly succumbed to the information age, and refused to adapt to quality controls that would mean harder work.

    Now – the ultimate insult. We won’t buy their cars, so we have to pay them.

  7. Safran wrote:

    “There’s no public outcry to save these folks because we feel they have taken something great (The American Automobile) and turned it into crap”

    Exactly what’s happening to television productions, they are taking something great and turning it into VJ, and the end result is the same, just like the US automotive industry, financial demise. Will management ever learn.

  8. Duane Halgrimson

    Well at least you guys ” Nino and Safran ” are consistent on perpetuation of urban myths!

    When the Horsemen of the 1800’s saw the first automobiles, I’m sure the first thought was , It will never be better than a horse ,better yet SELL! Too complicated!
    Since the car business and carriage business before it, the car business has used components from other industries and other car manufacturers. What kind of components?
    Well how about engines, transmissions etc etc just about anything!
    The car Industry was one of the more complicated assembly industries involving selling it to the final consumer until electronics came into the picture.

    I’m Not a COMPANY carman Never was Maybe thats why I’m not in the business now.
    Things are a lot more complicated NOW.

    Do You know GM is a major component supplier to foreign car manuafacturers?
    What do these all these vehicles have in common?

    This was in the 1980’s mind you!
    Chevy Impala
    Chevy Pickup 4×4
    Rolls Royce
    Checker Cab
    2 ton GMC commercial delivery truck
    Winnabago Motorhome

    The component? A GM Turbo 400Hydromatic
    Transmission. Its still going on today! A 2004 BMW 3 series uses a GM automatic transmisssion or a ZF /German transmission
    depends on engine size ordered .

    Ford and Mazda made cars together in one factory and each contributed components for both models Ford made the glass for both a world leader and supplier of glass I might add, and Mazda made the seats and interiors and they each supplied a version of engines for the other to use.
    Funny and strange though.
    Fords version was called the Probe.
    Mazdas version was called MX6
    Ford had nearly twice the warranty rates as Mazda for the same components!!! That Mazda had supplied!!!
    When it was percieved as domestic it was thought as inferior! Same assembly line workers
    Same management. different DEalers.

    Mazda was a fairly new upstart compared to Ford and didn’t have a history of retailing vehicle in the US. Ford on the other hand had been selling vehicles for some eighty years!
    Same thing with GM and Toyota and Suzuki plus other Asian .

    Until JUst lately Lexus was only sold in the United states But made in Japan, but not sold there. Now Toyota is pushing the brand with exclusive Lexus DEalers,but the japanese car buyer is slow to to step up and purchase a vehicle they see as a rebadged toyota, and for a twenty percent more asking price!!
    I wonder what they see or don’t see!!!!
    Am I forgetting the Germans?
    About ten years ago German Taxi Drivers picketed the mercedes production plant that built mercedes automobiles for Get this “Quality Control!!!!” Seems as the cars weren’t standing up to taxi duty as the owners/operators expected!!!

    Mercedes as admitted just lately of quality issues in the last couple of years.

    One Korean car company has just introduced a sedan that is a clone of a BMW I like it!
    Much cheaper though I like it even more!

    VJ Cheap? Of Course! Not everybody has the money or time to get a degree in journalism better yet buy a TV Station or Newspaper!!

    But the people that watch a specific video don’t care about what was done before .Only what they like TODAY!!

    I can hardley wait until the medical industry/profession realizes that they are going to go down the same road as all professions changed by technology Its not about them Its about why the technology is there in the first place!! Whats that oath they take?
    Thank You

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