The Auto Bailout Propaganda Battle Begins
So there I am, in the midst of a wickedly intense doubles racquetball match, when the question came up.
Me and my partner, Tony "the sausage king" were destroying Shorty and the Cheesehead when Shorty asked me, "Have the Big 3 started their big push to win over Congress for a bailout?"
"Yes," I told Shorty after yet another bulls eye return for point, "The PR game is in overdrive."
The lobbying machine is kicking in gear and he Big 3 are out spinning their message. It's pretty simple: get us the bailout or the American auto business will never be the same.
Today, a survey firm hired by GM to poll Americans about the need for a bailout, is putting out results of a poll that shows overwhelming support for the feds to step in and help the Big 3. That doesn't do much to sway your opinion? Don't worry, there will be a steady string of industry experts out on the circuit the next two weeks claiming Detroit's future hinges on congress acting now.
For better or worse, the CEOs of GM, Ford, and Chrysler have bought into the idea that this "spinning" is the way to win over the public and law makers. They are no doubt being told that this is the way to stop people from believing Detroit brought many of these problems on themselves.
Maybe they've forgotten about Lee Iacocca. When Chrysler was on death's doorstep in 1979, Iacocca did commercials looking straight into the camera where he leveled with Americans about what he would do to transform Chrysler. Schmaltzy PR? Yes. But the public bought it because it was sincere and straight forward.
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Compare that with last week when the Big 3 CEOs went to capital hill, met with congressional leaders, then ducked out of town without saying a word. My point: get ready for a spin game as the Big 3 go before Congress next week. How appropriate: a city fuelled by lobbying is the place that will decide if Detroits spin doctors are successful. _____________________________________Click on Ticker to Track Corporate News:- Ford Motor - General Motors page90GMfalsetrue42pricetruefalsefalsefalsefalse0QuotefalsetrueChartfalsetrueNewsfalsetrueProfilefalsetrueAdd to Watchlistfalsetruetruehttp://api-cdn.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.aspGE4true3- Nissan page90NSANYfalsetrue32pricetruefalsefalsefalsefalse0QuotefalsetrueChartfalsetrueNewsfalsetrueProfilefalsetrueAdd to Watchlistfalsetruetruehttp://api-cdn.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.aspGE4true3- Honda Motor page90HMCfalsetrue42pricetruefalsefalsefalsefalse0QuotefalsetrueChartfalsetrueNewsfalsetrueProfilefalsetrueAdd to Watchlistfalsetruetruehttp://api-cdn.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.aspGE4true3_____________________________________Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com