GM puts out rebirth advertisement, files for bankruptcy protection. General Motors filed for Chapter 11 yesterday, but right before it did the company put out this sixty second advertisement:

The ad, with it’s repeated football imagery and cliche ridden dialogue makes GM look like they’ve kind of forgotten what business they’re in — particularly the shots of people getting off trains. For those who don’t know, GM was directly responsible for demise of rail transport in the United States last century. Conveying rebirth with pictures of butterflies, car factories and this s-xy shot of a car coming out of the waves Bond girl style, GM signs off with this statement: “Because the only chapter we’re focused on is chapter one”. Denial anyone? — Eleri Harris

Indians are wimps. Bravo to Jack the Insider of the Oz for standing up for Indian victims of racist mugging, by, er arguing that Indians are wimps:

The notion that Australia is a racist society has reared its ugly head again in separate incidents. Most alarmingly, there has been a spate of attacks on Indian students. Police have stated that the robberies and assaults are not race based.

Let’s not mess around with semantics. The attacks are racially motivated; if only as a form of abhorrent targeting by the thugs who set upon these young men and women. Indians are passive by nature. They are soft targets for bashings and muggings.

Fantastic — a rare example not merely of racism (hatred towards people of a particular race/culture) but actual racialism (attributing essential characteristics to a people). India may be a billion-person civilisation with half a dozen violent insurgencies currently underway, hundreds of terrorists attacks over the past ten years, and a militant history of revolution and uprising against colonial masters, but really — they’re just kittens, really. Just as cactuses send down deep roots by nature and greyhounds chase rabbits, so those chirpy little curry-munchers with the sing-song accents wouldn’t hurt a fly. We’ll send you some books on the 1857 uprising, Subhas Chadra Bose, the Naxalites and the Mumbai hotel attack. We’ll even put em upp your a-se so you can reade em more easily. — Guy Rundle

Who is right? The Sydney Morning Herald led the paper’s front page today with this story:

The Rees Government will not spend a cent on expanding the congested M4 or M5 motorways this year, with just $22 million put aside to improve air filtration in the M5 East tunnel, according to a copy of the roads budget obtained by the Herald.

Despite asking Canberra to fund a duplication of the smog-filled M5 East tunnel, and an enormous $9.7 billion underground motorway through the inner-west, the state’s budget has ignored both projects.

All up, $4.3 billion will be spent on the state’s roads, according to the documents, in what the Government will trumpet as a “record” amount of spending – but capital and maintenance spending on rural and regional roads will be cut.

The Daily Telegraph had this story:

Premier Nathan Rees has approved a rapid acceleration of major road projects across Sydney and NSW, with a record $4.4 billion expected to be announced in the state Budget in two weeks.

In a sign Mr Rees is ready to send the state’s $2 billion deficit deeper into the red, Cabinet has approved a $400 million increase in roads funding.

The Daily Telegraph has learned the Government plans to use road construction as the key plank in its overdue stimulus package.

The 10 per cent increase, at a time when the state’s revenues are collapsing, will create 5000 new jobs over 12 months.

Reading both stories, they are the same, but you couldn’t tell from the SMH headline and opening paragraphs, while the Daily Tele’s story is certainly not “exclusive. — Glenn Dyer

Murdoch can’t spin hard enough to dethrone Chernin. Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that he can’t replace Peter Chernin as CEO from within the ranks of News Corp, no matter how he spins earlier management changes. Whispers have been growing that he has been talking to Chase Carey, a former senior News executive who joined Murdoch roughly at the same time as Peter Chernin did.

Carey runs DirecTV, which he has done since it was sold to John Malone’s Liberty media several years ago as Murdoch settled a brawl with Malone that had threatened News. Malone had snapped up 19% of News’ voting shares during the time News fled Australia for US residency. Murdoch had owned Direct TV, but sold it to Malone (plus some other assets) in exchange for the shares and a standstill agreement.

Since then then DirecTV has been the best performing US broadcast media company, as it has ridden out the recession well, incurring lower revenue losses, losing fewer customers while maintaining reasonable profits, than any other group, especially News Corp.

The Financial Times reported overnight that Carey was negotiationing directly with Murdoch. Mr Carey’s contract with DirecTV finishes in 18 months and a return to news will take him back to a company where he was considered a better executive than Mr Chernin for much of his time there. He is a former chief executive of Fox Television, Sky Global Networks; a former co-chief operating officer of Fox Entertainment and served on News Corp’s board until 2007. — Glenn Dyer

Cruise ships + wine flu = great time for the whole family. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Punch no knockout for journalism. Punch’ s aim of egalitarian engagement on social and political debate is worthy. It’s not a particularly novel concept, despite its claims, but the more the merrier. Its mix of writers is a fairly intriguing list of The Usual Suspects along with some new names and, hopefully, some new ideas. It’s a clean and effective blog-style website mercifully free of News Limited’s cross-promotional clutter. It should succeed, with enough push from News and its many titles and properties, though it’s hard to see it being wildly successful given the content matter.

But let’s just focus a little on what The Punch is not. It’s not, Penberthy proudly states in his welcome, a “fancy, la-di-dah site aimed at people with three university degrees”. No, because you wouldn’t want expert, educated people participating in the debate. It’s also, most importantly, not a place for reporting the news. Certainly not for investigating reporting. That’s fine; News has plenty of newsrooms (with dwindling numbers of journalists, mind you) to do that. But as an “investment in journalism” it is a dismal failure. As a clue as to how big media — and the thousands of journalists they employ — will operate in a new media world it is futile.

The Punch is a blog — immediately the country’s most well-resourced, well-marketed blog, perhaps, but still just a blog. Opinion is not journalism. And the distinction is important not just in definition. The really crucial reasons why journalism must survive into the future are not served by blogging. — Importance of Ideas

Swine Flu strikes American Vogue. A memo just went out to Condé Nast employees informing them that an “employee working on the 12th floor at 4 Times Square” has tested positive for Influenza A. “According to CDC,” the memo notes, “the H1N1 virus is a sub-type of Influenza A.” As you may or may not know, the twelfth floor of the Condé Nast building is the home of Vogue. — New York Magazine

Free newspaper plan for Scottish teenagers. The Scottish Government has been asked to back a scheme to give a year’s free newspaper subscription to every 17-year-old in order to give a boost to the industry. Distribution firm Menzies Group has approached enterprise minister Jim Mather with the free subscription proposal and is awaiting a response. A Menzies Group spokesman said the proposal was similar to that introduced in France earlier this year. In February, French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that every 18-year-old in the country would get a free daily newspaper of their choice. The newspaper groups cover the cost of production and the French government pays for the papers to be distributed to homes. — Press Gazette

Arianna Huffington lifetime award for journalism? WTF? Funny how the fact that The Huffington Post fails to pay most of its bloggers didn’t come up when Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham gushed about the blog mistress in a prepared statement: “Arianna Huffington was ahead of the curve with HuffPo. She embraced the use of new media but never forgot that no matter where or how you tell the story, content is still king. This is what we teach our students.” Content, in Arianna’s world, is not king, and it never was. Link bait is king; opportunism is king. If content was really honored at The Huffington Post , the site wouldn’t have gotten in trouble last December for lifting content wholesale from other sites that do pay for their own content. — Advertising Age

Mexico offers reward in reporter’s murder. Mexico’s top prosecutor on Thursday offered a $380,000 reward for information in the kidnapping and murder of a newspaper reporter who was found beaten and dead in an irrigation canal in northern Mexico this week. The Attorney General’s Office said it would pay five million pesos to anyone providing “true, useful, relevant and opportune” intelligence that helps to identify and detain those involved in the killing of Eliseo Barron Hernandez. The agency said it was the first time it has offered a reward to help solve the death of a journalist. — Editor and Publisher

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