I thank Peter Brown for his column in support of my company, General Motors. His perspective on Thomas Friedman's New York Times column is very welcome.
I've made an informal study of the anti-GM bias that really became evident in the 1960s. For some reason, baby boomers labeled GM as the poster child of the military/industrial complex. They characterized the company as greedy and without moral conscience.
To a limited extent, those in the pipe-smoking and blue-state crowd were thinking rationally since they never really bought into the principles of free markets. Their conclusion, however, that the Japanese and all other non-U.S. firms were somehow driven by altruistic motives was equally wrong.
Two generations have grown up thinking that GM and domestic auto companies are run by halfwits incapable of doing much of anything right. They believe that Toyota and Honda are good corporate citizens and can do no wrong.
I saw some research a decade ago that summed it up for me. When Honda owners who had experienced a mechanical failure were surveyed, they said they either "got the only bad one they made" or "weren't a good owner and didn't properly maintain their vehicle."
When the same question was asked of domestic owners, the typical response was "They're all junk." To some extent, I think half of the U.S. public has been brainwashed by 40 years of media criticism.