NBC Reverses on GM Due to Success in China

     Perhaps the near monopoly NBC will enjoy in broadcasting the Summer Olympics from China beginning August 8 has encouraged the network to be more kind to struggling American businesses.


     Whatever the cause, the August 6 “NBC Nightly News” actually noted the Chinese people’s love of beleaguered U.S. automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM), a sign it interpreted as an acceptance of capitalism.


     “What would Chairman Mao think?” CNBC correspondent Phil LeBeau asked. “Six decades after the Communist Revolution, China has become the hottest capitalist engine on earth. And ironically, some of the most revered symbols of success in today’s China are Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet.”


     According to LeBeau’s report, Buick is “hip” and that has made GM the top-selling automaker in China. Overall the automaker has made $1 billion this year off of Asian sales – although it lost $9 billion in the United States.


     “Waggoner knows staying on top in China won’t be easy either,” LeBeau said. “But when GM’s U.S. troubles keep him up at night, he can remind himself, at least for now, Buick is Chinese for success.”


     But less than two months ago, on June 26, “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams raised the possibility of the auto manufacturer going out of business. The report suggested GM and other American carmakers were unwilling to switch to smaller, more fuel efficient cars, which are in higher demand due to high gas prices.


      NBC chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson saw automakers’ struggles as a blessing because it suggested Americans are resorting to smaller fuel-efficient cars – which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions – rather than sticking with big American-made gas guzzlers.


     “There’s plenty of talk about high gas prices, but still no clear path to energy independence,” Thompson said on the July 16 “Nightly News.” “So it might surprise you that Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the biggest car dealer in the country, is happy to see $4 gas.”


     Jackson told Thompson gas prices had to remain high for him to succeed in selling more of these automobiles. “The technology exists for much greater fuel efficiency,” Jackson said. “We have the technology. But if gas is cheap, people will not pay for it.”