Bailout Ballyhoo for Obama, Boos for Romney

In anticipation of Michigan's GOP primary the liberal media have been playing up Barack Obama as the savior of Detroit and turning Mitt Romney into its villain. Even though the auto bailout has cost taxpayers $14 billion the liberal media have been championing Detroit's "comeback" as a victory for the Obama administration.

On Thursday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds practically crowed, as he asked GM Chairman Daniel Akerson: "Did President Obama save General Motors?" Reynolds then pointed out how Romney "argued the bailout was unnecessary, and that the regular bankruptcy process would have made GM and Chrysler stronger companies" and asked, "Would that have happened?" Akerson, dutifully responded that if not for the bailout: "you could have written off this company, this industry and this country." (video after the jump)

 

Over on ABC's World News, anchor Diane Sawyer cheered: "What a comeback, tonight, for an American giant, General Motors, announcing a $7.6 billion profit last year -- the biggest in the 103-year history of GM. And this rebound comes just two years after GM emerged from bankruptcy, with the help of that bailout by taxpayers."

NBC's Brian Williams, couldn't wait to tell his viewers about the success of the government bailout as he opened Thursday's NBC Nightly News: "Good evening. After something of a near death experience, a huge government bailout, and a lot of hard work General Motors, that thoroughly American brand name, is tonight reporting its largest ever profit for last year,  $7.6 billion."  The previous night Williams proclaimed: "The fight for Michigan as Mitt Romney scrambles to explain to the voters in his home state why he thought the auto industry should be allowed to fail."

On Thursday morning, CNN's Soledad O'Brien also cast Romney as the enemy of Detroit as she grilled Republican Congressman and Romney special advisor Mike Rogers: "He was against the bailout, and the bailout looking back now, has been successful. Isn't that just standing on the wrong side at the end of the day?"

On Wednesday's World News ABC's David Muir, in a preview of the Michigan primary, charged: "Michigan was once considered hallowed ground for Romney, it's where he grew up, where his father George was President of American Motors in the 1950s and later Governor." Muir continued: "Tonight, Romney is hoping voters remember those roots. But many blue-collar voters here remember something else, what Mitt Romney said about the auto bailout, writing this op-ed, 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,' arguing: 'If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout, you can kiss the American automotive industry good-bye.'"

Muir then found three Chrysler workers to brag about how the Obama administration's auto bailout had "worked" and "it would have been devastating" if Romney had his way. Muir, as the MRC's Brent Baker noticed, went on to cue up the workers to confirm "all of you had your jobs saved?"

Muir did note that "Romney says it's the billions in government bailout money that came with it that was a sweetheart deal for the unions,' but countered with a sympathetic 'Michigan mother' who declared: "It worked. The results show for themselves. We are on our way back. We are being profitable again." Muir proceeded to a man who, he relayed, "says it wasn't just his job saved, it was the police officer, the teacher." Muir did challenge the mother: "There is an argument, that it shouldn't have been the government. It should have been a private entity," but then allowed her to rebut, "Yes, but who? Who has the money? What private entity would have saved an industry? Oprah? Where are we going to get that money from?"


Viewers of the current hype over Obama's bailout got an early preview of it, in the furor over Clint Eastwood's Super Bowl ad. On the February 8, 2012 Today show, advertising executive Donny Deutsch condemned critics who thought the ad doubled as a campaign contribution to Obama as he denounced: "Republicans should be quiet because by saying this is a Barack ad, you're saying this is America the beautiful, America is on its way back....They're looking like fools....And by the way, Barack did make the move to save the auto industry. Like him or not, that's a fact." Earlier in the discussion, Deutsch's fellow panelist, attorney Star Jones, expressed the same sentiment: "The truth hurts. I mean, if, in fact, the country is coming back and it benefits this administration, then they reap that benefit."

NBC's Matt Lauer laid the groundwork for the current round of Obama bailout celebration and Romney criticism back on the December 8, 2011 Today show when he pushed Romney endorser and former Vice President Dan Quayle to admit that the former Massachusetts governor was to wrong: "[He] said, 'You know what? Let Chrysler fail.'...There would have been thousands of jobs lost. Did he get it wrong? Did President Obama get it right by bailing out the auto industry?"

Going even further back, NBC's David Gregory, back on the June 3, 2011 Today show hailed that the auto bailout was a "gutsy call by the President." That same morning, over on CBS's The Early Show, the aforementioned Reynolds cheered: "the President is coming to this Jeep assembly plant his policies have directly affected. It was closed shortly after Chrysler declared bankruptcy, and the company's future as a whole was in serious doubt. But two years after the government rode to the rescue with taxpayer dollars, Chrysler is humming along, posting a 10% increase in sales in May, upgrading facilities, and returning people to work."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.