REPORT: Cable And Network News Silent On General Motors' Return To S&P 500

Cable and network news outlets barely covered the announcement that General Motors will return to the Standard & Poor's 500, a landmark achievement for the company that was booted from the index after filing for bankruptcy four years ago.

GM Set To Return To S&P 500, Four Years After Being Removed

After Filing For Bankruptcy, GM Removed From S&P 500 In 2009. According to a June 2009 Associated Press report, General Motors was removed from the S&P 500 after filing for bankruptcy. [Huffington Post, 6/1/09]

S&P Dow Jones: General Motors Set To Join S&P 500. In a June 3 press release, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced that General Motors will return to the S&P 100 and 500 indices on June 6, replacing H.J. Heinz Co. [S&P Dow Jones Indices, 6/3/13]

USA Today: S&P Announcement “Another Milestone” For GM. Reporting on S&P's announcement that General Motors will rejoin the S&P 500 index, USA Today remarked that it represented a significant achievement for the auto company since it filed for bankruptcy in 2009:

The news is sure to buoy the mood at GM's stockholders' meeting the same day. And it will mark another milestone since GM filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2009 and, as a result, was kicked out of the S&P 500 slot it had held since the index began in 1925. [USA Today, 6/5/13]

GM's Success Attributable To Government Intervention

Dean Baker: Without Government Bailout, General Motors Would Have Failed. Writing in April 2009, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Dean Baker noted that if GM had filed for bankruptcy earlier, it would have been “forced to shut down:”

Had General Motors and Chrysler been allowed to go into bankruptcy last fall, it would have quickly led to a chain of bankruptcies by a whole set of parts suppliers, all of whom are owed large amounts of money by these two companies. It is virtually certain that these companies and their suppliers would be forced to shut down, because no one would have stepped forward to provide credit to operate through bankruptcy without a government guarantee. [Center for Economic and Policy Research, 4/3/09]

Mark Zandi: “Without Aid” GM's Failure Would Have Led To Mass Layoffs. Writing in 2008, Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi explained that without aid from the federal government, the U.S. auto industry would certainly fail, leading to massive job losses:

The U.S. auto industry desperately needs financial help, and the federal government should provide it. Without aid, the industry seems headed toward a quick liquidation, which would mean hundreds of thousands of layoffs at just the wrong time for the sliding U.S. economy. [, 11/21/08]

Cable And Network News Largely Silent On GM's Comeback

Cable News Spends Less Than Two Minutes Covering GM's Return To S&P 500. In the day following the announcement that General Motors will return to the S&P 500 index, cable news spent only one minute and 28 seconds covering the subject. CNN led all cable networks with one minute and 15 seconds of coverage, followed by Fox News with 13 seconds of coverage. MSNBC did not cover GM's return to the S&P 500 in the period analyzed.


Network News Provides No Coverage. None of the major networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- covered GM's return to the S&P 500 in their nightly news broadcasts during the period analyzed.


Media Matters searched internal TV archives and closed captioning as well as the TVEyes database for the terms “GM” and “General Motors” from 6:00 p.m. on June 3 (the approximate time of the S&P Dow Jones Indices press release) to 12:00 a.m. on June 5 for all Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC shows, and nightly news broadcasts on CBS, NBC, and ABC. 

Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.