We love a good Jon Stewart take down rant. The Daily Show host has grown to be a master, taking aim at targets as common as the politics and as unusual as Chicago-style pizza (to this day, one of his funniest and most accurate tirades). While Stewart is not a car-crazed comedian like Jay Leno, he's addressed the industry in the past, most notably with the "Toyotathon of Death." Now, he's put together a piece on General Motors and its ignition switch recall.

As he so often does, Stewart points out the absurdity of the recall story, but not before starting with CEO Mary Barra's introduction by Dan Akerson. He then goes on to point out GM's failure to address the situation, which has been known about since 2001. It's all kind of downhill from there. And yes, this is all done while showing a Russian market Cobalt, which you can see in the image above.

Stewart isn't done there, though. He also points out the curious timing of Mary Barra's promotion to CEO, implying, in no uncertain terms, that she may be the fall "gal." Finally, GM's protection from liability is addressed in a scathing take down that sees Stewart reference serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Fair warning, there is some bleeped cursing here in both clips. Scroll down to see what Stewart has to say.




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  • 76 Comments
      Quattro_2
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am a current Mechanical Engineering student in the Midwest. My lifelong dream was to get into the automotive field once I graduate, but after interning for Chrysler last year I have changed my mind. Both Chrysler and GM have been too slow to change - even incapable of doing so. There are many politics diluting the ways that they continue to run their companies. They can not adjust to changing markets and continue to produce less than stellar products, which is depressing. There are many dedicated people at these companies, but also many that have NO AUTOMOTIVE passion which shows in every new car being created. The new Chrysler 200 is an improvement, but if I were in the market for that type of vehicle I would definitely buy something else. The auto market is more competitive now than ever - which the they are going to continue struggling in. I feel like they will both be hurting again in a decade as the market changes too quickly for them to adapt to. I'd rather work for a company that values my ideas and forward thinking, rather than conform to their "old ways" and corporate brainwashing of mediocracy. Back on subject: Akerson should be testifying, there is NO WAY he didn't know about this!
      TCM
      • 1 Month Ago

      Jon Stewart's ignorance of this subject is almost as bewildering as his willingness to speak publicly about things he obviously knows nothing about. 

      If, as he says, he would "love to see a non-corporate person try that," he should just head over to the nearest U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where he will see plenty of "non-corporate" persons absolved of pre-petition liabilities.  Yes, even a wrongful death claim, if that claim is included in the bankruptcy petition, may be discharged in an individual's (i.e. "non-corporate person's") bankruptcy proceedings.

      He is also completely wrong about the wrongful death claims--even though GM could have included personal injury claims in its bankruptcy petition, thus protecting its successor (New GM) from such claims, the fact is, IT DID NOT.  New GM expressly assumed any personal injury claims in the 363 sale, even though it did not have to.  It did this presumably because not doing so could destroy its public image (although with their poor PR job on this situation they destroyed their image nonetheless).  

      The question at issue in all of this was never whether New GM was going to pay personal injury claims--those claims were expressly assumed by New GM.  Rather, the question was whether New GM would pay claims for economic damage; for example, whether they would be liable for a current owner's loss in value to their car on account of these defects (perhaps pre-ignition defect their car was worth $10k on the used car market, now someone is only willing to pay them $8k).  That was the question at issue, not whether New GM was liable for wrongful death or personal injury claims..  So Jon Stewart's rant about personal injury, while well-delivered, and hilarious, is completely irrelevant, based only on his own confused understanding of what was going on.

      Finally, his Jeffrey Dahmer bit, while again very funny, ignores completely the difference between criminal liability and civil liability.  I assume even Stewart understands this difference, but it bears mentioning nonetheless.  If criminal charges are brought against the individuals involved, the prior bankruptcy proceedings would have no effect whatsoever on those criminal proceedings. Bankruptcy does not serve as a shield against criminal liability.

      I just saw this and, as an attorney, was a bit bothered by the way he portrayed our laws, as though the whole system is a big joke.  The American bankruptcy system is one of the most well-developed bodies of bankruptcy law in the world and works very well, helping to preserve jobs in valuable but liquidity-constrained corporations, and helping many individuals in financial trouble to obtain a fresh start.

      knightrider_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      Meanwhile 9000 people are dying in Texas every year because Rick Perry refused to expand medicaid. I wonder why he is not being investigated...
      scion_tc
      • 8 Months Ago
      I will dance a happy dance on the front steps of GM next year as they soon go bankrupt AGAIN.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @scion_tc
        [blocked]
      Mbukukanyau
      • 8 Months Ago
      Americans are funny. You think for one Moment Germany, Korea, Britain or Japan would attack one of their national companies like this? While criminal liabilities should be investigated to the fullest extent, sometime, Americans go too far in hurting their national interests.
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        Our national interests are to protect American citizens and punishing offending corporations is one tool to achieve those interests. If anything, far too many businesses are treated with ridiculous leniency.
          Jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          How many corporations get away completely with killing people? We're pretty tough on things like this. You can't say we're being too lenient just because we're not going to imprison oil executives for a $0.09 a gallon increase in fuel prices. We are not too lenient when we KNOW they did something that's truly wrong.
          CT
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          How many businesses today do you know get away scot-free after killing unsuspecting customers?
        LokisWager
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        huh..... I can't tell if this is a troll, or if you seriously don't get the concern here.
        Chsutera
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        I like some of GMs cars like the corvette but after their whole scandal they deserve all the hate.
        360_AD
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        Protecting the rights of American consumers (whether from foreign or national business) IS in the interest of the nation.
        bullitt2605
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        When we want you opinion we will give it to you.
        CadiVetteFerrari
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        Yea, because it's in our best interest to not punish american companies who knowingly put people's lives at risk due to gross negligence. Idiot.
          Jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @CadiVetteFerrari
          @Mbukaka-whatever. I actually agree with that in some ways, but you sound like UAW troll. The definition of a corporation is basically a group of people working as one. You can't demand thanks be given to the entire team when times are good and then shift all the blame on the one person at the top when times are bad. I suspect GM is still as screwed up as it was before the bankruptcy. They may have a checkerboard of problems that involves many people. Something isn't right with GM. It may have been a handful of people that made these decisions with this recall, but I'm sure there are many more problems that need to be addressed over at GM.
          Mbukukanyau
          • 8 Months Ago
          @CadiVetteFerrari
          read my post. Punish the executives who made these decision, and do not hurt the employees who have nothing to do with the criminal liability.
        b.rn
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        In principle, I agree with Mbukukanyau. This country loves to assume the worst about itself. If it's foreign, it must be better? The truth is that all countries have their good and their bad. We need to start looking at the good and stop assuming it's all bad.
      knightrider_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE, MY FRIENDS! repeat after me
        r53CooperS
        • 8 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Nobody gets sarcasm evidently.
        AcidTonic
        • 8 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        People that live hundreds of years and never eat or sleep. Being in multiple jurisdictions at one time..... Sure they are people.... As much as my car is a person.
      Jacel
      • 8 Months Ago
      GM should have never been bailed out. Their practices were shady well before 2001. In fact the s-10 which was a total POS was sold essentially the same for a decade. Was a death trap and had parts that would disintegrate or fall off it which the minimum amount of pressure. GM's recal practices during the 90s and 2000s was, recall a smaller amount of cars than the ones that actually have problems so the feds think we are doing the right thing. But actually save money by only patching 5% of the cars back.
        The Other Bob
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jacel
        I drove an S-10 for 11 years. I put about $150 in unscheduled maintenace in it the entire time. Not sure what your problem was.
        rbnhd1144
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jacel
        Im not defending GM, not at all, but Most corparations make these kinds of decesions, they know the financial risk/cost, Id sooner see the CEO who knowingly Ok'd this be put behind bars, thats the only way to make a serious change, plus all thier pay and bonuses would go to the families they destroyed.
      Adrian Hosein
      • 8 Months Ago
      And this is why i will never, buy, recommend or even speak GM's name to anyone i know, for i do not want anyone to die. Worst car company short of a Chinese brand.
      mazda_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      GM needs to clean house. Fire everyone in high management positions that has been there since bankruptcy and replace them with new progressive thinkers. People that think outside of the box but build better products and not worry too much about profits. Build great products and the profits will come. Just look at Mazda. Since GM will never change because of this bureaucracy and the idiots that hold key management positions, I would never buy a GM product.
        LBFTPSEC
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mazda_6
        Just look at Mazda why? To see how they don't have any cars that lead their segment, how they have little to no industry first innovations and that their lackluster styling is hokey at best? You can make up an imaginary idea in your mind about GM, but the fact of the matter is that the products they're putting out are class leading in all senses. Trucks, cars, and sports cars. Innovation on all fronts.
          Schwy
          • 8 Months Ago
          @LBFTPSEC
          I would never buy a GM product before and after this debacle. I always knew the company was too big globally to handle these types of issues. They are like a high priced football player that think they can't do anything wrong and know we have to deal with their bull on and off the field. Mazda puts 10 times more effort into their vehicles then GM and are small enough to care when something goes wrong.
          bubba_roe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @LBFTPSEC
          LOL!!! Hey LBFTPSEC, pass the crack pipe!
          mazda_6
          • 8 Months Ago
          @LBFTPSEC
          LBFTPSEC: This coming from the guy who apparently haven't followed the auto industry at all. The Mazda 6 is highly rated as one of the best midsize sedans in the segment, the Mazda 3 is as well. The CX-5 sold an insane amount of units for a small car manufacturer. Look at the amount of CX-5s compared to let's say a Buick Encore or Saturn Vue. Now having said that, I'm not saying GM doesn't make any good cars. The Chevy Impala is nice. There's maybe 10-20% of the cars they make that are actually good. But for a large manufacturer like GM, this is not acceptable. I've interviewed for GM before. And having worked for some fortune 100 companies in the past, GM's management is a mess. The high ranking managers don't care about what the other managers are doing despite the fact they're in the same department. They also tend to have a hatred of HR and keeps called them useless. Not a company I would every want to work for.
      Mbukukanyau
      • 8 Months Ago
      How soon before all your cars are made in foreign countries like your TV's or everything else fools. Or if they are made here, by foreign cooporations. Shoot yourselves in the foot. Even your armed forces uniforms are made in foreign countries. The computer chips are made in China and other places, by your so called intel corporation. Hate all you want, but there has to be a balance between prosecuting criminals, (like those criminally liable) and killing your national industries) How difficult is that for you to grasp? Have you noticed only American car manufacturers on your soil are unionized? You squeeze them on all sides and in the end you loose.
        Carpinions
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        I know people that work for Intel and have worked for them myself at multiple different locations. A great many of their chips are developed and made IN THE UNITED STATES, period. The China part of their business is a small fraction of their total manufacturing might, and can't come close to matching how many fabs they have here. I get your point, but on Intel you are emphatically wrong.
        bubba_roe
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mbukukanyau
        I agree with you but American cars still suck.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why isn't Congress grilling the guy who was CEO and in charge when the cover-up was actually green lighted? Or does that guy get a free pass and get to keep his millions in salary for his awesome job performance because...umm...something?? Why do CEOs who make horrific long term decisions never face consequences? It's time we brought back personal accountability to American corporations.
        rbnhd1144
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        I totally agree with you, We have to start at the top and make it hurt them financially, they'd not be seen driving a risky cobalt.
      mary.keana
      • 8 Months Ago
      Mary, Mary, quite contrary How does your company grow? With Golden parachute bells and stop those sales And pretty bailouts all in a row.
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