I've spent months watching a lot of frustrating Congressional hearings on various aspects of the financial crisis this past year, but one of the most frustrating was the June 3, 2009 Senate hearing into the closing of dealers due to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies.
It was an illustration both of the limits of hearings and the wholesale failure of the media to act as news organizations.
The primary failure of the hearing was to get an answer to a central dispute: the dealers asserted that they were not cost centers, that they cost GM and Chrysler absolutely nothing, that they paid for everything they got (cars, signs, advertising, etc.) so, since the two dealers there were profitable, they didn't understand why they would be closed. GM and Chrysler asserted that they had to close dealerships to become profitable.
Now, this seems to me to be an issue of fact, not opinion. But, after listening to all the questions and the responses of GM and Chrysler, I still don't understand the issue. Isn't this something that CNBC or Fox Fin., at the very least, should have been reporting on and explaining?
Nor, during a week of endless commentary about right-wing-nut opposition to Sotomayor, did any of the major "news" networks think it might be interesting to, say, identify which Senators complaining about dealer closings opposed the bailouts, insisted that union employees had to "share" the burden, etc., argued that these companies should be allowed to go bankrupt (what did they think would happen to dealerships during a bankrupcy?). One would think that an hypocrisy watch would be at least as entertaining as debates over whether a Latina woman would be a better judge than a white man. But, of course, that would take research. They'd have to check the voting records, watch the hearing, match up questions with voting records. Gossiping with each other about "racist" statements is, after all, so much easier.