Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hopping on the misinformation band-Wagoner, GM-style

I received the following from Media Matters:

The media failed and they failed hard this week when it came to news that General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner had resigned at the request of the Obama administration. ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed of the resignation: "[S]omebody said it's like The Apprentice, White House-style." We're not sure who Sawyer's "somebody" actually is, though it is worth noting her comments were far from the worst on the subject. Take, for example, Fox News' Andrew Napolitano, who said that the resignation was "an absolute power grab, and it's the road to fascism" and that "this is Mussolini on the Potomac."

Worse still, many in the media falsely described Wagoner's resignation as unprecedented. A Washington Times editorial labeled Wagoner's departure from GM just that way -- as "unprecedented." At no point did the editorial mention that the government had required AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac in September 2008 to replace their CEOs as a condition of receiving government funds during the Bush administration. Similarly, the Los Angeles Times and CNN's Lou Dobbs uncritically repeated Sen. John McCain's false claim that the government's Wagoner decision was "unprecedented." Despite the facts to the contrary, MSNBC's Chris Matthews called McCain's assessment "very correct," while Fox News' Steve Doocy actually claimed "the last president who fired a CEO was Putin" and conservative leader Rush Limbaugh said the White House had sought Wagoner's resignation as "payback for the unions."

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