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Reply #1: Detroit to Rachel Ouch That One Hurt! [View All]

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Nancy Skinner Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-23-09 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
(Cross-posted from my blog at )

Ok Let me set this up right. Im a huge Rachel Maddow fan. I enjoyed her radio program, and often quote her and credit her insightful interviews on my show (i.e. this is not an Alec Baldwin thing). I respect intelligent, likeable women like Rachel who have been able to break the male political host opinion barrier as she has done. Kudos.

But I gotta say.On my show over the last two days weve had this raging dispute among listeners as to whether there will be enough media oxygen to allow both the prosecutions of Bush administration officials for violations on torture and passing cap-and-trade (a/k/a climate change a/k/a the biggest preventable future threat to humanity) legislation, or whether we should time them with a little more political calculation. We could have a good (and rightfully deserved) bloodletting now, which will make us all feel better, but Obamas capital reserves will surely pay a price that any stress test could readily detect, and well spend all our energy bailing out the Dems in a partisan food fight while watching our dream of finally passing cap and trade (READ: kiss green jobs, oil independence and a rescued planet bye-bye).

We were essentially debating tipping points in media coverage. Tonight I got my answer. I live in Detroit. The Detroit Free Press headlines in the local paper TODAY included these gems.

GM to furlough all US plants for 9 weeks. Sales down 49% in Q1. Wont make June 1st debt payment. Thousands to lose wages and rely on state unemployment (which is already well over 12%).
(Note to the US: Michigan has been in a technical recession for eight years, not one like the rest of the country).

Anxiety over Chryslers fate runs high. Health care, plant closings, pay concerns as April 30th deadline draws near.
After repeated Letem go bankrupt rants from cable TV pundits and polls show 75% of Americans dont seem to care if their companies fail .
Governor Granholm: Bailed out banks suffocating. Chrysler: Who knew that bailing out the banks would mean that they would kill the auto industry? said Granholm.
Cash-for-Clunkers plans run into competing legislation. (Turns out that even though the Big 3, the UAW and environmentalists are all behind this bill, foreign automakers are strongly opposed and its holding up because they want US tax dollars to help them even though theyve been subsidized for decades by their own governments.)
So, an industry that created the middle class and is now desperately trying to re-invent itself is being held hostage by banks that care only about liquidating an industry, an event that will have enormous shockwaves on the economy. And people, good, decent hard-working people, and businesses have pulled together in a time of crisis in this, the most favored of punching bag cities to pull through together.

(When GM could no longer afford to sponsor the Detroit Tigers Fountain for $2 million dollars, Little Caesars Pizza and Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who had offers from foreign car companies, declined and has donated the sponsorship to all Big Three automakers in a show of solidarity for the love of a city that apparently the whole country reviles.)

Were now eight days and counting from the Katrina-like slow motion collapse of a state and real human suffering will be a consequence. (Chryslers deadline is May 1st, but we all know the domino effect with suppliers and the other Big Two.)

So after a good 40 minutes on Rachel Maddows show on the torture memo reporting (courtesy of our beloved Carl Levin), I was beyond shocked that the next story was devoted to ridiculing the perfect 0-16 record of the Detroit Lions football team and the fact that the team had changed its mascot design a bit to be meaner.

Not eight days until auto Armageddon, no rallying cry to maintain the manufacturing base in our country, no concern for the legacy of the autoworkers who lost their lives to form unions to give us a middle class and became the arsenal of democracy during World War II, the same retired folks who stand to lose the lions share of their pension and health care. Hell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger was here this week and said he believed that Detroit was not far behind in building the advanced technology to meet even Californias emission standards and deserved the governments help to get there.

But just eight days from collapse, we got ripped because our football team totally sucks. Ouch, my friend Rachel. There are real people here who are hurting in ways the rest of the country hasnt yet seen (and we dont want them to). That was a kick in the gut to a player down on the field. Im sure you didnt intend it that way, but someone from Detroit had to say ouch.

And I cant help but think my point about media oxygen and tipping points just may have some merit.
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