Since last year Fox News pundit Neil Cavuto has seemingly made it his mission to kill the Volt in the cradle, but recently he contrived an attempt to give a Volt owner a fair audience.
Of course “fair” is a qualified term these days. As you can see in the video, Cavuto asks whether the Volt has a floor or you push it with your feet like Fred Flintstone. He asks whether back seat passengers are like Gumby in order to be contorted to limited space.
He admits he is only teasing, but he unashamedly uses his platform to push his unique biases and we have to wonder how anyone in his position can be so one-sided.
Volt owner Eric Rotbard does a good job of answering, and we credit him for keeping his cool as Cavuto makes snarky remarks while suppressing smiles at his self-perceived cleverness.
Rotbard does his best to answer in a more straightforward manner. He mentions he gets over 200 mpg routinely, and in response to Cavuto’s asking why he did not buy a hybrid, Rotbard says on a 160 mile trip his Volt made a Prius-beating 60-plus mpg.
Cavuto says Rotbard looks like someone who has lots of bucks implicitly suggesting he is part of the socioeconomic upper percentile – though certainly Cavuto is not likely impoverished either.
At the end, without having convinced Cavuto, Rotbard says it was “an honor” to be on the show. Some might say this is being too kind and humble, but it does not matter because his testimonial speaks for itself in defense of the Volt to a known hater.
Cavuto has said that the Volt is “a piece of crap” and other poison-laden statements that go so far beyond the pale of what a journalist is supposed to do.
Actually, Cavuto needs someone to refute him more assertively with more facts.
These would include facts like what Kiplinger demonstrated: In five years the total cost to own a Volt was only $1,600 more than an economical Chevrolet Cruze which cost $19,000 less.
Or facts like a Volt can get many hundreds of miles per gallon to over 1,000 mpg, all while using domestically produced energy that costs and pollutes far less than the often-times imported petroleum other vehicles require.
Or facts like GM has over engineered its powertrain, and while it has yet to be proven because it’s still brand new, the Volt may be able to go 600,000 miles before needing an overhaul.
Or facts like the purported Flintstone-mobile has 10 million lines of computer code, and is one of the most sophisticated vehicles ever produced.
Or facts like the Volt represents emerging “disruptive” technology that was deliberately rolled out in just seven states in limited numbers, so of course sales have not been high yet.
Many people do not even know General Motors makes an electric car, and it is well documented that consumer understanding and tastes do not change overnight.
But Cavuto routinely attempts to trip the Volt out of the gate. He says the Volt will be popular with people in the White House thus using the Volt as a whipping boy to make sarcastic criticism of the political issues that obviously drive him.
At other times he has said he cannot abide by any vehicle “with a plug,” and objects to the federal government’s various initiatives to help subsidize, save or augment the automotive industry, American market, and more.
His points are understood, but regarding his Volt reporting tactics, we are calling Cavuto a “pundit,” which in our estimation is a downgrade from being respected as a legitimate journalist.
On behalf of journalists with higher integrity still trying to do honorable work, I apologize for what is being passed off by Cavuto as reporting.
I know many people do not know what to think listening to those whose job it is to inform. I often hear criticism of the media, and sad to say, there is truth to it, but this unnecessary phenomenon is really only a symptom of those who are ethically challenged.
When I got my BA in journalism, my professors had thoroughly ground into me that while absolute objectivity is impossible, there are time-proven methods to do a very good job at presenting a story.
Americans have been given a nearly sacred trust by the First Amendment to be free to share views. While what one defines as “acceptable” is wide open to debate, for those in the business of disseminating information to the public, the intellectually honest high road has been well mapped out.
Despite Fox News tipping its hat to this basic teaching and saying it is “Fair & Balanced,” Cavuto’s treatment of the Volt is a mockery to the profession. Being fair and balanced should mean one stays neutral and does not work from preconceived feelings attempting to shape the story to prove one’s points.
In contrast, Cavuto uses sarcasm, passive aggression, emotionally laden comments, and his personal charisma (as seen by his supporters) to sway viewers to his very well documented personal perspective.
What he is doing is actually part of a broader trend in the media, a departure into unknown territory where objectivity and truth may or may not be adhered to, and personal bias is accepted as good.
Unfortunately there are audiences for such tactics. The responsibility does not rest only on the media which would not do it unless it was enabled by information consumers.
Some info consumers can be just as biased as those turning out the diatribes and news of questionable objectivity. These are the ones who gravitate to the pundits, screed artists, etc., who can churn out a subjective blend of information viewed as true or compelling.
In my view it is part of a problematic state of affairs in an increasingly divisive society in which various ideological camps are so at odds with others that they have jumped onto a slippery slope whereby they believe the ends justify the means.
Such people fail to understand that “two wrongs do not make a right,” and apparently do not realize these kinds of attitudes may well be precursors to more divisiveness and failure in a nation where it has been said, “united we stand, divided we fall.”
But this is what we have: An info market created by people who either make their living by, or enjoy having their ears tickled by the decrying of other peoples’ perceived lack of accountability, while really being no more than “the pot calling the kettle black.”
This said, Cavuto has a right to say what he does about the Volt. He has the right to be wrong.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.