Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Situational Rhetoric of the Ford Motor Company

If the Royal Lifestyle commercial I discussed in an earlier blog (23 April 2012) is perhaps one of the most honest promos to come along in years, the famous or infamous Ford we didn't take any auto bailout money commercial is one of the most dishonest, disingenuous, and demagogic.

In 2008 Ford had "real Ford drivers", who they presumably paid, say, at mock news conferences, that they bought a Ford because Ford the Good didn't take a government handout. Ford may not have taken automobile bailout money from the governments of the US and Canada in 2008 but it and its dealers did take advantage of the CARS, Car Allowance Rebate System or "Cash for Clunkers" programme initiated by the US government and a similar programme in Canada in 2009.

Ford's we didn't take government monies advert, of course, was clearly aimed at the we hate the bailout crowd. A year later, however, and much more quietly Ford was putting its hands out in the direction of the federal government for rebate monies the feds were giving out in their "Cash for Clunkers" programme (

Ford's anti-federalist handout rhetoric and behaviour then was situational (situational ethics). Ford, or perhaps more accurately Ford dealers, dealers Ford could have advised not to accept a federal handout, accepted a federal handout in 2009, it didn't, or so it claims, in 2008. It is this inconsistency in Ford's rhetoric, in its behaviour, and in its continuing crowing about being the only US automobile company not to accept government welfare or wealthfare that is the reason why Ford must be numbered among the many dishonest and disingenuous demagogues in contemporary American society.

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