The New York Times’ Tom Friedman created quite a stir in Motor City when he called GM America’s most “dangerous” company after it offered $1.99 a gallon gas to buyers of its gas guzzling models in Florida and California for a year. In his 5/31 column, Friedman equated GM to “a crack dealer looking to keep his addicts on a tight leash.”
GM and the Detroit News did not take it lying down. A Detroit News editorial said Friedman “and his fellow effete elites in New York City” fail to understand that “if the domestic manufacturers go down, they’ll take a big chunk of the American economy with them.”
Washington Times’ John McCaslin highlights the continuing saga of how GM was denied what they believed was their fair chance at a rebuttal. GM corporate communications spokesman Brian Akre wrote on GM’s blog that he tried, and failed to get a response published in the NYT. Akre cited a 200 word limit imposed by the NYT, and a series of edits. After the paper refused to call allow Friedman’s column to be called “rubbish,” stating that is not the tone used Letters, GM withdrew the letter.
Friedman told the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz he was trying to “grab their attention … Nothing would make me happier than to see GM become a hypercompetitive company.”
Good save Tom. But Kurtz has more up his sleeve. More when you click below….
Kurtz also grilled Friedman on Sunday’s “Reliable Source,” calling him out for switching his version of an Iraq timeline. Kurtz: “Now, I want to understand how a columnist’s mind works when you take positions, because you were chided recently for writing several times in different occasions ‘the next six months are crucial in Iraq,’ the next six months. And now you’ve written a column saying that Americans are simply not going to tolerate this kind of anarchy for another two years and deadlines have to be set. Were you conscious that you were now shifting your position on this?”
Friedman: “Not really. You know, the problem with analyzing the story, Howie, is that it doesn’t — everyone, first of all, this is the most polarized story I’ve certainly written about, so everyone wants, basically, to be proven right, OK? … And the fact is that the outcome there is unclear, and I reflected that in my column. And I will continue to reflect.”