This letter is in response to a recent “Motion Monitor” eNewsletter about troubled U.S. auto manufacturers.

Big Three blues

Capitalism operates with ruthless efficiency. Take for example the janitor in a UAW plant. At first he was a low-level person who came and cleaned up. He walked around pushing a garbage can on wheels with a broom and a dustpan. Then the UAW decided he should be part of the union and that three union members should do that job: One to push the cart, one to push the broom, and one to hold the dustpan. Such excesses are common among the work rules in labor contracts. Take for example the “rubber room,” also known as the Job Bank. UAW members are guaranteed a paycheck from the Big Three to show up and do nothing. They punch a time clock and play all day, occasionally filling in for a sick worker.

Also consider the executive who receives a new company car every year or two. He doesn't have to buy it with his own money and try to get it to last 150,000 miles. He doesn't have to take it to be repaired on his own time or pay for repairs. He has no idea why customers are defecting to Toyotas, Hondas, and other low-priced, dependable cars. His own parking lot has only 35% vehicles from his company! Many company employees don't even believe in their own products.

And we should spend our tax money to try to revive the dead GM, Ford, and Chrysler industries? I don't think so. Let them die. The demand for autos will remain — and be satisfied by fit companies that pay more attention to customers than themselves.
Karl Sieg
Pittsburgh, Pa.

The following letters are in response to the December issue's “In the Loop” editorial column, which explored the topic of bias in the news media.

Bias should be banned

You've published an editorial by a media writer complaining about the bias in the media and citing a list of “liberal” media people who show “how far the media is willing to go in its malicious attempts to manipulate the news” and end with a call to action to clean it up. It's very interesting to me that there is no mention whatsoever in your editorial about the at least equal abuses from the “conservative” press and the distortions promulgated by, say, Fox News. Nevertheless, I completely agree with your call to action. We should hold media corporations responsible for slanted, biased reporting. I am “alarmed by how freedom of the press is being abused to influence the political process.” Therefore, please remove my name from the subscriber list to your publication. Let's all do our part to stop this sort of one-sided reporting!
Steve Miner
Ashland, Oreg.

In all fairness

Per your article, “What would ‘Joe’ do?” — I couldn't agree with you more. I wonder how much longer it will be until the “Fairness Doctrine” is imposed and honest comments like yours will be restricted?
Rob Woodring
Stillwater, Okla.

What this Joe would do

I don't believe you've described the whole problem. I believe our society and the media are on a path that our Founding Fathers would have found foreign. You see, it is society in general that steers what the media displays. In addition, you only listed half the problem. You listed the “liberal” media billboards, but did not give any attention to the “conservative” media billboards like Mark Levine, Rush Limbaugh, and many others. I hope that you omitted these media influences by accident. I further hope you were not trying to advertise one political agenda or stance over another in your article.

I also agree that Big Media distorts the truth about candidates who run for office, and that a significant portion of the American people love drama. These are the same people who are interested in the peripheral personal issues of any candidate — and the more salacious, the better. Personally, I am more interested in what a political candidate plans to do once they are elected over anything else. I couldn't care less about what church they attended or the political or racial beliefs of the minister there, or how many homes a candidate owned, as long as he earned them the right way and is not corrupt.

The most important factor should be the candidate's plans, policy, and organization. These are subjects that the media ignores because it bores most Americans. I am proud that this election drew a record number of people to vote, though I know there are many people who have their hopes way too high, while others believe that our next president is an Arab, Muslim, or Terrorist. Both ideas originate from political billboards, conservative and liberal.

The only way we can prevent this is to either change the desires of the American people or develop media that has integrity and standards that are equal to the greatness of this country. I work as a mechanic in a sausage factory and that's what this “Joe” would do.
Paul Broadway
San Diego, Calif.