GE vs. Bernie: Of Strawmen and Fukushima

Remember the days when Bernie was ignored and laughed at by the mainstream press? Apparently those days are over.

How so, you might ask?

Well, the Washington Post favored us with an unabashed corporate propaganda piece disguised as an “op-ed” by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Its title: “GE CEO: Bernie Sanders says we’re ‘destroying the moral fabric’ of America. He’s wrong.”

Immelt (or more likely, his PR department) had this to say:

We at GE were interested to read comments Monday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who told the New York Daily News editorial board that GE is among the companies that are supposedly “destroying the moral fabric” of America. The senator had been asked to cite examples of corporate greed at its worst. Somehow that got him to talking about us.

That’d be great, except Bernie never uttered the phrase “GE is destroying the moral fabric of America.”  The only thing he said about GE specifically is that they are good at tax avoidance, which happens to be true.  Why didn’t the GE CEO defend that practice in his free, feel-good ad for GE (that was an “op-ed” in name only)?  I take that back, he did try to defend that practice, by simply saying Bernie is lying about it.  Yeah…swing and a miss.

That’s the tactic–strawman. Argue against a position your opponent didn’t take. It’s a logical fallacy.  Immelt made his fallacious argument flawlessly—perhaps because he wasn’t arguing so much as he was advertising.

Also, he didn’t see fit to mention the Fukushima nuclear reactors designed by GE that blew up in 2011, poisoning not just Japan but the Pacific Ocean with radiation.  Reactors which GE’s own engineers said were unsafe and had critical design flaws. Why didn’t he mention that in his PR stunt?  He also failed to mention that there are 20-odd of those same reactors in the US. But let’s focus on how god-awful socialism is and how guileless and wonderful GE is, that oughta fix the nuclear reactor problem.

So clearly we can see that the powers that be have entered the classic third stage of a movement’s march to victory: they tried ignoring him, they tried laughing at him (“he’s not a serious candidate,” “‘democratic socialist’—hardy har har”), now they’re fighting him because they now see (indeed, they always saw) that he is an actual threat to them. And we all know what comes next, right?

Bernie wins.

(Part two is here.)

About eggsistense

Writer, musician, cartoonist, human being
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