TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.


Marianne Paskowski

Obama Needs More TV Time

November 18, 2008 10:03 AM

Sure, I know it’s a delicate line to walk for president elect Barack Obama, as he bides his time until January when he is officially sworn in as the nation’s 44th president.

And that’s a mistake. Every cable news network should be crawling all over him right now, as the economic picture worsens. And I hope we see the president elect roll up his sleeves and not stand on protocol.

So how really delicate is that president-elect fine line? Not at all, I say.

For years we’ve had a lame-duck president, who can’t do a thing now. Witness just this weekend an unproductive G20 conference in Washington, where economic leaders from all over the world just put lipstick on the global economic meltdown pig.

Of course nothing came out of that. How could it?

This past Sunday, CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft scored an interview with Barack and Michelle Obama, and yes, I was among the 24.5 million viewers who tuned in to see what he had to say—mostly the economy.

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Basically, I liked what I saw, but Obama was tentative.

Today, just a day later, I hear that Obama, president elect, who has been tiptoeing around economic issues during this transition period, will play some role in this week’s plea by General Motors to secure a bailout at the Fed window.

Obama needs to be at that table. And I encourage all news gathering organizations to prod Obama to push aside protocol and not stand on formalities to jump-start our great nation.


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Comments (15)

What a wonderful twist! A President Elect who can articulate his thoughts, plans, hopes and his homelife.

After the last nearly eight years of contrite verbal stumbling...followed by nothing substantive from our "Commander-be-Lost" White House occupant, oxygen is returning to my lungs!

I've been holding my breath so long hoping to get through one created debacle after another from Bush and his co-conspirators, the red is starting to turn to pink in my tired, sore eyes.

My sleaves are rolled up to join with the President Elect to begin cleaning up the messes Cheney, Bush & CO. have left for us.

But make no mistake, due process SHOULD be applied to assess the damages and WHO is responsible. Mis-deeds and the perpetrators of same should be pursued and subject to all applicable laws. This we must do, or this recent history, (or worse), will be repeated.

Yes, the new Administration should take an unprecedented place in governmental decisions these next sixty plus days. It is a fine line Constitutionally speaking, however, and on that I am not informed enough to know how it should go.

God Bless our nation, our recovery efforts and our new Administration.

Now, get a mop, a broom, a dust pan and summon the Grand Jury for January 22ND!
Peter Bright

Marianne Paskowski:

Rules need to be flexible, especially during these times. Even though Obama is president elect, he will play a role in the GM bailout plan.

GM will not last until January 21 when Obama takes the reins.

And if Paulsen can change the TARP plan as situations change, these rules of turning over the baton must be changed in this time of crisis.

Andy S.:

Both Obama and McCain voted for the $700 billion financial bailout plan, which is designed to provide taxpayer money to those who have already ripped the taxpayers off. All indications are that Obama favors a $20 billion bailout plan for the big 3 automakers, which together are worth about $7 billion, and whose business models are clearly disastrous. Someone please explain to me how this approach will result in anything besides more trouble?

Obama doesn't need TV time, he needs time for his economic advisors to get through to him with some ideas that make sense, instead of continuing the willful defrauding of American taxpayers.

Marianne Paskowski:


Yes McCain and Obama signed off on the TARP, a bailout plan that today bears no resemblance to the plan they originally blessed.

Personally, I think GM should be allowed to fail and re-emerge from bankruptcy as a leaner and better run company.

The big three will get their $25 billion, but I hope the package has tight restrictions: get rid of the CEO of GM, no executive bonuses and a real plan about the futre. As we speak the dudes from Detroit are presenting their plans.

And guess what, we drive Toyotas:)
Thanks for your post, and again we agree to disagree. Thank God we at least have free speech left! m

All three of the US automakers have been clients of mine periodically in the last fourteen years.

I am not surprised that they are in the condition they are in.

I dealt directly with the tops of all three and there were one or two who knew what they were doing. The rest, and their cadre, were off to business as usual, which meant they were headed straight for the fire that is now engulfing them.

The last good leader at Ford, Jacques Nassar, was driven out by Bill Ford's ego and ineptness. Mr. Ford's stock would be worth something today had he just stayed home the last ten years and let Nassar, and others, continue their twenty year plan.

As for Chrysler, the germans got out of that bad deal late, but in the nick of time!

"Good Thinking & Due Dilligence"...Case in point: GM bought the Renaissance Center (their Headquarters) from Ford ten plus years ago for a lot of money. A year or two after they moved in, one day one of their "Execs" inquired of another, "who has the parking contract here?" Turned out it still belonged to Ford and they had been paying Ford unbelieveable amounts of money all that time to park all the GM employees.

Bottom line: Ford sold it to them at a nice profit on top of the rent they had collected for two years.

The Detroit Trio collectively have had a deliberate, destructive, advisarial relationship with their suppliers. Beat them up on prices, make them wait 180 days for payment, threaten under their breath not to order "new" business unless the "old" business price was reduced (again). A real "Bull in the China Closet" mentality with complete disregard for civil discourse.

Now SOME were professional and considerate, but there was this overbearing quality that was found across the industry, that, if you don't like our business and how we're mis-treating you, then we'll get somebody else.

I saw great design ideas and engineering concepts get wiped out for poor decisions by those unqualified to make them.

The management style was: if you're not moving up the corporate ladder at least every eighteen months, then you're dead and soon to be out.

Therefore people were rotating in and out of positions faster than they could ever really grasp what it was they were supposed to be doing and with whom they should do it.

I attended many wasted meetings and soon became know as the exec who went to the bathroom never to return. I knew what I had to do to get things done and sitting in meetings listening to people trying to figure out their job AND the project at hand, and cover their ego, was not for me.

I don't like wasted time or energy. The "Trio" were/are masters at it collectively.

Too bad. There are many great people scattered throughout Ford, GM & Chrysler with some very impressive, progressive plans.

IF they get a helping hand from Uncle Sam, there had better be some very stiff stipulations on results tied to the calendar.

The ecomomy has been screwed by Wall Street, Bankers, Insurance companies and others. The "fixers" in DC have questionable conflicts of interest...If Mr. Obama and Co. can come up with a plan that will work, more power to them.

It has taken years and concerted effort to screw we U.S. taxpayers out of our diverse valuables...it can not be fixed quickly, but a healing direction and constant review on a common goal may save our collective tush's. We all better hope so.
Peter Bright

Marianne Paskowski:

What a fascinating tale. As I write I'm watching the three U.S. car czars testify and I cannot believe how defensive they are.

GM coming out with 19 models next year? Sure nine are hybrids, but the rest?

And then the dude from Chrysler acknowledging he made a mistake, trying to capture the second home market with people schlepping stuff from home to the vacation house and needing large vehicles.

GM's Wagoner is on now, again, blaming the housing bubble. Well,sounds like more of the past 40 years, will be interesting to hear what our new leaders conclude.

Thanks for sharing, m

David Cohen:

What would really help matters -- and this is not Obama's responsibility -- would be the Big Three making cars people actually want to buy.

Marianne Paskowski:


Oh we all know the auto makers will be bailed out. It's Obama's onus to tell us why. I'm not hearing that, yet. Hope so, soon.

Meanwhile, my Toyotas will last for years, thanks for your post, m


Yo, Blondie --

"Tentative" might not be the best word for Obama's current behavior. How about "thoughtful" or "deliberative" in the face of unprecedented crisis, as Obama pulls his team together and the inevitable confusion in Congress plays itself out. Rather than more of the kind of destructive hip-shooting as we've seen from Bozo Bush, confidence exudes from our president elect, who wisely avoids stirring a constitutional crisis and more political angst by trying to depose Bush before Jan. 20.

Cruisin not bruisin


I like my GM car. It gets over 25 miles to the gallon and has been incredibly reliable to me for almost six years. It has well over 150,000 miles on it with no end in sight (knock on wood). That said, when the day comes that I will buy a new vehicle, I'm not sure GM will be getting my business again. When GM or Ford does hybrid, it's often some freakishly insane looking vehicle that even Al Gore wouldn't drive. That's the problem with these companies. Way too much emphasis was placed on the gas guzzler SUV. When gas prices sky rocketed, people traded em in for something they could afford the gas on. Now with gas prices low again, I'm sure we'll see another push of the SUV. Yes, I'm sure some of them will be hybrids, but what's the point if the hybrid can't get 25 to the gallon? My next car will get 30 miles at least highway gas mileage. I hope GM figures out a way for the Monte Carlo or the Grand Prix to be that way, but I'm doubting it. Onto Toyota for me. They're American made too.


Marianne Paskowski:


You're probably right, I'm just so sick of Bush I want change, m

Marianne Paskowski:

One of our Toyota's was made in Japan, the other here. Frankly with the growth of Toyota and Honda, there is no need for three American car companies.


Andy S.:

"What would really help matters -- and this is not Obama's responsibility -- would be the Big Three making cars people actually want to buy."

That's not the core of the problem. The problem is that they lose money on each car they sell - the more cars they sell, the more money they lose. Why the government would want to throw taxpayer dollars at that business model is beyond me. They should allow the Big 3 to go bankrupt and reorganize in a more sensible, sustainable way.

Marianne Paskowski:

I agree, I'd like to see Chrysler, Ford and GM merge and figure out the mess they created. I'm watching one of the bozos blame Congress for the mess by creating the TARP for banks!

You can't make this stuff up, m

Marianne Paskowski:

I told you so! NBC broke the news about 20 minutes ago that Obama will name NY Fed head Tim Geithner as head of Treasury.

Market seems to like it, nice rally going for now, up 400 pts!

About time Obama said something finally about the meltdown, will name the rest of his financial advisory team on Monday.

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