GM PR Adviser Appears as 'Auto Analyst' to Argue for Bailout

Full disclosure, you can take the day off.

CBS’s “The Early Show” included a statement in its Dec. 18 report on the Big 3 bailout from “auto industry analyst,” Dan McGinn. Letting the massive car companies fail “would be like 10 Katrinas hitting America at the same time,” McGinn asserted. “The American public understands that.”

What the report didn’t say is that McGinn is also an adviser to General Motors. Furthermore, TMG Strategies the public relations firm McGinn heads, lists GM as a client. McGinn has been making the case for an auto bailout in many news stories and issuing some compelling statements on behalf of his client.

On MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” McGinn was labeled as an “auto industry consultant,” Dec. 4. There was no mention of his link to GM.

“I mean, come on, are we going to protect the 401ks for people but we aren’t going to protect the jobs for people,” said McGinn to Matthews. “Chris, this is about jobs, this is about little leagues, this is about churches in America. I worked in West Virginia, my dad worked in a factory for 43 years to get a pention.”

It could be that CBS and MSNBC were simply mistaken. After all, why wouldn’t an “analyst” and “consultant” to the auto industry list only one automaker among the IBMs, Texacos, Cokes and 3Ms of its client roster?

But others got it right. CNBC mentioned McGinn’s link Dec. 12 when he appeared on “Street Signs.” There he said, “I don’t believe that in the chaos we are in today that we should take the gamble, essentially Russian roulette, and let the biggest industry in the country go down.”

Fox News also cited McGinn as an adviser to GM on Dec. 3, when he said, "It's a crisis ... This is going to be one of the most important votes these members of Congress ever cast. We're talking about millions of jobs.. Everybody is frightened by the prospect. If we lose any of these jobs, it could be the fastest road from recession to depression."

On Dec. 11, the Washington Post correctly ID’d McGinn as a GM adviser as well as the fact that he is also the chief executive at TMG Strategies.

TMG Strategies is a public relations firm based in Arlington, Va., and claims on its website that, “We have been highly successful in engaging critics, responding to major national news reports and diffusing tense media situations.”

The firm also offers “executive coaching,” claiming that it has helped CEOs develop their messages and approach to the media.

McGinn has definitely been working hard for his client, telling PRWeek Dec. 12 that “GM's in a critical time,” and, “We will deliver whatever service support they need to succeed.”