Why is ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper Such a Complete and Utter Tool ?

T H I N K  P R O G R E S S jaketapper_-douchebag

Last week, in an appalling show of corporate greed, “a small group of speculators” sank the Obama administration’s proposed Chrysler deal for just “an extra fifteen cents on the dollar.” The selfish greed of the hedge funds may, however, have produced a good result by forcing Chrysler into the bankruptcy process. The New York Times reported on Friday, “whatever the outcome, this bit of brinkmanship — which many characterized as a game of chicken with Washington — has become yet another public relations disaster for Wall Street.” But instead, this story of corporate greed has now been turned into a right-wing attack on President Obama. Here’s how it happened in three simple steps.

Step 1: Right-Wing Radio Gives Corporate Hedge Funds A Venue To Attack Obama In an interview with Detroit-based conservative talk show host Frank Beckmann on Friday, Tom Lauria — a corporate lawyer representing the hedge funds calling themselves the Committee of Chrysler Non-Tarp Lenders — alleged that one of its members, the investment firm Perella Weinberg, was “directly threatened by the White House” if it did not cooperate with the Obama’s administration’s rescue plan. (Perella was Rahm Emanuel’s former investment partner.) Lauria claimed that Perella withdrew its opposition to the government deal because the White House threatened “that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.” (Listen here.)

Step 2: Right-Wing Pressures White House Reporters To Take Up Its Attack After the story was cooked up by right-wing hate radio, it was peddled to members of the White House press corps, at least one of whom took the bait. On his radio show on Friday, right-wing talker Mark Levin discussed Lauria’s claims against Obama, and then called on his listeners to pressure the White House press corps — specifically ABC’s Jake Tapper — to report the story:

LEVIN: Somebody needs to pursue what’s going on in the White House behind the scenes! And stop playing games and making nice! American citizens — whatever walk of life they’re in — should not be threatened by the White House! Should not be told we’re going to drag you through the mud with the White House press corps! So confident is the White House that they have the White House press corps wrapped around their little finger! Maybe Jake Tapper will take a look at this. Ask that doofus — Gibbs.

Listen here:

Levin works for the ABC Radio Networks. Tapper works for ABC News. Step 3: ABC’s Jake Tapper Picks It Up, Drudge Promotes It A day after Levin’s show aired, ABC’s White House correspondent Jake Tapper gave the right-wing attacks the platform they were looking for. Tapper reported, “A leading bankruptcy attorney representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms.” After Tapper reported it, Drudge linked to his story and helped give it further amplification: ddrudgeauto1 Both the White House and Perella Weinberg have released statements to ABC News denying the accusations made by Tom Lauria and the right-wing echo chamber. Bottom line: the right wing has morphed a story of corporate greed into a false political attack against Obama.

Day One Of Total Shutdown For All Chrysler Plants; Greatest Schmatest


DETROIT | In response to plunging vehicle sales, Chrysler said Wednesday that it would close all 30 of its North American factories for at least one month, starting at the end of this week.

All U.S. automakers have been taking bold steps as they have struggled to survive the recession. Chrysler and General Motors Corp. fear they might not have enough money to pay their bills in a matter of weeks and are attempting to avoid imminent collapse while the Bush administration ponders a rescue.


With automakers suffering through the worst U.S. sales since World War II, Chrysler’s move — which will idle 46,000 workers — hinted at the dramatic actions that could follow soon without government aid.

Foreign automakers have been reacting to the slowdown, too. Toyota Motor Corp. said this week that it would delay work on a factory in Mississippi that would build the Prius hybrid.

Honda on Wednesday issued its third profit warning of the year, the latest sign of the drastic drop in demand that has hammered the global car industry.

Honda lowered its full-year forecast for net profits by 64 percent, to 185 billion yen ($2.11 billion), for the year ending March 31. That highlighted how tough the market has become as consumers, constrained by tight credit conditions and worried about the gloomy economic conditions, hold back spending even on the smaller and more fuel-efficient cars that had been expected to help Honda survive the current crisis better than many of its rivals.

Honda, Japan’s No. 2 carmaker, said it was cutting first-quarter production by 119,000 vehicles.

“Every day, the hardships we face are getting worse and worse. And there are no signs of recovery,” Honda President Takeo Fukui said at a news conference.

Nissan, Japan’s nation’s third-biggest automaker, added to the dismal news by saying it was reducing domestic production by an additional 78,000 vehicles and cutting 500 temporary workers.

As for Detroit, normally the Big Three automakers — Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and GM — close their plants for about two weeks at the end of the year.

But following a 47 percent decline in sales last month, some Chrysler plants will be closed until February.

In addition, Ford said Wednesday that it would extend the holiday shutdown at most of its plants to a third week. The two exceptions, according to spokeswoman Angie Kozleski, are in Claycomo and Dearborn, Mich.

GM said last week that it would temporarily close 20 factories across North America and make sweeping cuts to its vehicle production. Many of those plants will be shut down for the month of January.

GM, attempting to cut costs, said Wednesday it was delaying construction of a new engine factory in Flint, Mich., in an effort to conserve cash.

The plant is to make 1.4-liter engines for the Chevrolet Cruze and the Chevy Volt plug-in electric car, two key products in the century-old automaker’s plan to turn itself around after relying on highly profitable truck and sport utility vehicle sales.

The plant’s engines will extend the range of the rechargeable Volt, GM’s high-profile, next-generation vehicle that will be able to travel 40 miles on electricity alone. They will also power the Cruze, GM’s new small car that is supposed to get around 40 miles per gallon.

GM announced plans in September for the new engine plant, but the company is delaying the purchase of big-ticket items needed to build the factory, such as structural steel, said GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel.

Compiled by The Star’s Greg Moore from The New York Times, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, and the Detroit Free Press.

Nobel Winner Krugman: U.S. Auto Industry Will Likely Disappear


Nobel winner: U.S. auto industry will likely disappear

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Nobel economics prize winner Paul Krugman said Sunday that the beleaguered U.S. auto industry will likely disappear.

“It will do so because of the geographical forces that me and my colleagues have discussed,” the Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist told reporters in Stockholm. “It is no longer sustained by the current economy.”

Krugman won the $1.4 million Nobel Memorial Prize in economics for his work on international trade patterns. Some of his research on economic geography seeks to explain why production resources are concentrated in certain locations.

Speaking to reporters three days ahead of the Nobel Prize ceremony, Krugman said plans by U.S. lawmakers to bail out the Big Three automakers were a short-term solution, resulting from a “lack of willingness to accept the failure of a large industry in the midst of an economic crisis.”

Facing massive job losses, the White House and congressional Democrats are negotiating a deal to provide about $15 billion in loans to prevent the weakened U.S. auto industry from collapsing.

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