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Should Ford, Chrysler and General Motors be bailed out with taxpayer money or allowed to suffer the consequences of bad management and uncompetitive products? Could federal aid force them to change their ways and save millions of jobs? We talk with industry insiders. Also, consumers freeze in the face of the ongoing financial crisis, and Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain campaign advisor and cable news commentator who doesn’t really exist.

Banner image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (2nd-R) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (R), along with other House Democratic leaders, participate in a meeting with (L-R) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors Richard Wagoner, Chairman and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Robert Nardelli, and current president of the trade union United Auto Workers Ron Gettelfinger on Capitol Hill on November 6. Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Making News Consumers Freeze in the Face of the Financial Crisis 5 MIN, 58 SEC

A huge decline in purchases of automobiles led a record drop last month in retail sales, but the biggest retailer of all is doing fine. WalMart saw a ten-percent increase in third-quarter profits. Sudeep Reddy is economics reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal (@Reddy)

Main Topic Should Detroit Be Bailed Out? 36 MIN, 40 SEC

Democrats want $25 billion for Ford, Chrysler and GM, which auto experts warn could go under before the end of the year. The Bush White House and Senate Republicans say there are better ways to spend taxpayer-bailout money. Many insist that bad management and inferior products are to blame, and argue that a bailout will only postpone the inevitable. Directly and indirectly, the Big Three employ millions of people who buy goods and pay billions in taxes. Should they be washed down the drain? Could a bailout be used to force innovation, rewrite union contracts and clean out executive suites?  We get several opinions. 

Daniel Howes, Detroit News (@detroitnews)
Kenneth Elias, Partner, Maryann Keller and Associates
Mark Brenner, Director, Labor Notes
Aaron Robinson, Hagerty Magazine

Reporter's Notebook How to Become a Policy Advisor to a Presidential Candidate 6 MIN, 8 SEC

In the aftermath of the presidential election, Fox News reported that Sarah Palin did not know Africa was a continent, attributing the news to an unnamed advisor in the McCain campaign. Other news outlets wanted to know who that was. Martin Eisenstadt came forward, as reported by MSNBC. But Eisenstadt doesn't really exist, except as a virtual character on the Internet. At least that's what we're told by Eitan Gorlin, a filmmaker who invented him.

Eitan Gorlin, fake McCain policy advisor Martin Eisenstadt

Holy Land

Eitan Gorlin

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