NYT's Tom Friedman Attacks GM As 'Dangerous' to America, Demands Gas Tax Hike

New York Times columnist and best-selling foreign-policy author/guru Thomas Friedman appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, mostly to address the administration's Iran initiative. But MRC's Brian Boyd also noticed Diane Sawyer turned to Friedman's harsh but very green Wednesday column beginning with the sentence: "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors?"

Sawyer: "[B]oy, did you cause a stir yesterday with your column saying that it's time for Toyota to take over General Motors because General Motors has offered what to subsidize gas for people who in effect buy gas-guzzlers?"

Friedman: "Yeah, well, General Motors started a program of $1.99 a gallon gasoline in California and Florida for people who will buy certain GM cars including a Hummer, a 6,400 pound car that gets what, 9 miles per gallon. At a time when we're in a war on terrorism, with people funded and fueled by our energy purchases, I don't think that's real smart. I've got a documentary coming out on this on the 24th of June on the Discovery Channel [plug, plug!]and I think this is the biggest strategic issue facing us today."

Sawyer: "But you're really tough, because you say that there will be more soldiers in Humvees in the Middle East if there are more people in Hummers here in the United States. And you're even saying that there should be a tax that takes gasoline prices up to $3.50 to cut this addiction."

Friedman: "Diane, the only way we're going to get, we're going to break what President Bush called our addiction to oil is if we price oil at a level that people are not going to want to buy these gas guzzlers and companies therefore aren't going to make these gas guzzlers. You know, the fact is we never can tell the truth to an Iran or any of these other Middle East potentates unless we end this addiction. Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers."

Friedman's column lectures for a gas-tax hike this way:

Not only is GM subsidizing its gas-guzzlers, but not a single member of Congress, liberal or conservative, will stand up and demand what most of them know: that we must have some kind of gasoline tax to compel Americans to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles and to compel Detroit to make them.

Where are the presidential aspirants on this issue? I have yet to hear John McCain, Mitt Romney, George Allen, Al Gore or Hillary Clinton support at least a $3.50 floor price for gasoline, so that it will never fall below that level and the alternatives can really flower and spread...

President Bush remarked the other day how agonizingly tough it is for a president to send young Americans to war. Yet, he's ready to do that, but he's not ready to look Detroit or Congress in the eye and demand that we put in place the fuel-efficiency legislation that will weaken the forces of theocracy and autocracy that are killing our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — because it might cost Republicans votes or campaign contributions.

This whole thing is a travesty. We can't keep asking young Americans to make the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan if we as a society are not ready to make even the most minimal sacrifice to help them.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis