Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nine Worst Anti-business Stories of the Last 50 Years

Some of the biggest challenges to American business come, not from competitors or regulatros, but from the media. The US media. They often approach any business story with the assumption that the entrepreneurs and managers have no concern at all for the health and safety of their customers. And there are proven cases where trusted, major news outlets have intentionally staged abuse - the "abuse by business" they are reporting on they themselves committed. More often their anti-business bias leads them to believe the worst without checking the facts. Business & Media Institute : Nine Worst Business Stories (of the Last 50 Years) :
Some of the toughest obstacles American businesses face come not from other companies or the economy, but from the media – journalists exaggerating an issue to make a story sexier or anti-business groups influencing the media to advance their agenda. Four of the stories on the following list started with a press release or report from an environmentalist group, labor union or “consumer group.” Those exaggerations or manipulations resulted in lost jobs, lost revenue, unfounded health scares, unnecessary government intervention, and even deaths. The Business & Media Institute has compiled a list of the nine worst business stories (of the last 50 years).
NBC and GM Trucks
Imagine being in a low-speed side-impact collision during which your truck bursts into flames, engulfing the cab and burning you alive. On Nov. 17, 1992, NBC’s “Dateline” made that fear a reality in one of the most notorious Worst Stories. “Dateline’s” report focused on an abnormally large number of fires resulting from side-impact collisions on certain models of General Motors trucks. The trucks featured gas tanks mounted outside the frame rails, where they were, according to NBC, more vulnerable to crumpling and explosion in a side-impact hit. To demonstrate the danger, “Dateline” commissioned test-run collisions. The first, a 40-mile-per-hour side-impact crash, resulted in absolutely no fire. But the second, a 30-mile-per-hour collision, erupted into flames engulfing both the truck and the car sacrificed for the visual effect. There was some basis for the report itself – “Dateline” cited accident statistics showing GM trucks were “more than twice” as likely as other pickup trucks to be involved in fiery crashes. GM faced numerous lawsuits over the truck, including one civil suit in early 1993 that ended in a $105-million penalty against the manufacturer over the death of a 17-year-old Georgian. But the powerful visual effect for “Dateline’s” report had been staged. In a press conference in February 1993, GM showed that the test runs were rigged. Screen captures taken moments before impact showed “plumes of smoke” from underneath the truck, the result of small igniters placed on the gas tank to ensure a fire.
That's just one. They also feature the Audi cars that were not in fact defective; the scare over the chemical alar in apples that crashed the price of apples at great cost to my state and I will have to do a separate entry on DDT. Via Newsbusters

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