Editor’s Note: EarthTechling, always looking to forward the cleantech revolution discussion, is proud to bring you this article via a cross post from partner Green Car Reports. Author credit goes to John Voelcker.
Recently named by Gizmodo as the second most viral person on the Internet (ahead of Ashton Kutcher!), Matt Drudge is the go-to guy for headlines guaranteed to feed red meat to the right-hand side of the U.S. political spectrum.
And he hates electric cars. Boy, does that man hate anything with a plug.
And if it’s the “failed” Chevy Volt, from the bailed-out “Government Motors,” that goes double.
UPDATE: The article you’re reading was originally published Monday, December 20. Neatly proving our point, a day later, Drudge posted not one but two new anti-Volt headlines.
Amusingly, one is a video clip of Neil Cavuto of the Fox “News” Channel “interviewing” an “expert” from the notorious National Legal and Policy Center, which produces “studies” and “reports” with a bias against GM in general and the Volt specifically.
With a graphic design that smacks of 1998 and a great deal of bold-faced and underlined type, CAPITAL LETTERS, exclamation points !!!, and bright red copy, his eponymous Drudge Report is hard on the eyes but undeniably successful in propounding a very specific world view.
Unfortunately, one of the several skeletons hiding deep in the Drudge closet is that his Volt headlines are monumentally flawed jeremiads that don’t come close to qualifying as journalism.
Often using a single fact, conspicuously free of context–whether it concerns the global autoindustry, consumer car-buying behavior, technology rollouts, or just plain old accuracy–most of them are meant to do only one thing: tear down the Volt to an audience that believes it’s a failure and an example of everything that’s wrong with the world today.
Oh, and it’s all Obama’s fault, by the way.
A simple topic search shows that Drudge has published a total of 12 headlines about the Volt, comprising links to 10 stories (the last two stories were repeated a day or two later). So let’s go through them.
The most recent pair feel the most desperate, and by far the most laughable. Under the banner headline, “AUDI Chief on Chevy Volt: ‘A car for idiots’,” Drudge links to a story covering Audi chief Johan de Nysschen’s comment about people who buy Volts.
There’s just one problem: That comment was made more than two years ago, well before journalists had driven the production car, any actual Volts had gone on sale, and any cars had been purchased by real live–and very eager–human beings.
That’s called grasping at straws.
“Gov’t Motors,” so very 2009
Then there are a pair of links to an Associated Press story discussing the potential failure mechanism that allowed a battery pack to catch fire–three weeks after the fact–after it and the Volt that contained it were destroyed in an NHTSA crash test.
Drudge’s headline there? “BAILOUT: Gov’t Motors offers to buy back Chevy Volts”.
That’s technically accurate (the “Government Motors” slur aside), though you would have to read fully nine paragraphs down to find the news that CEO Dan Akerson said GM would buy back Volts from any nervous owner.
Since then, GM says, “a few dozen” owners have requested loaner cars or asked GM to repurchase their Volts. Hardly a rush for the exits.
Good heavens, an accurate headline
Following that are two comparatively accurate headlines (though again with the “Govt’ Motors” thing–isn’t that just a little 2009, Matt?).
They cover GM’s loaner-car offer to Volt owners and the news of a second battery pack fire, though you’d never know that fire was in a battery pack that had deliberately been wrecked. In a lab. By government employees.