Department of Textual Analysis

Who else thinks that the Chrysler PR department has been doing a little light editing of its wikipedia entry?

In October 2008, Cerberus and General Motors discussed an exchange of GM's 49% stake in GMAC for Chrysler, potentially merging two of Detroit's "Big Three" automakers.[26] These talks did not come to fruition, and were discontinued the next month.[27] On October 24, 2008, Chrysler announced a 25% cut (5,000 jobs) in its salaried and contract workforce in November 2008.[28] Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced that she, along with 5 other governors, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke requesting emergency funding for the Detroit Big Three Automakers. On the same day, General Motors asked the Treasury Department of the United States for $10 billion to help restructure both their company and possible future sibling, Chrysler so that in turn, they can become one massive company.

On October 23, 2008, Daimler announced that its stake in Chrysler had a book value of zero dollars after write offs and charges.[29]

On November 5, 2008 it was published that Chrysler sales in the US market have fallen 34.9 percent in only 12 months.[30] A week later, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli said, in a speech at an Ernst & Young conference, that the company can only remain viable by forming an alliance with another automaker, domestic or global, as well as receiving government assistance in the form of an equity stake.[31] Several days later, Chrysler together with Ford and General Motors, sought financial aid at a Congressional hearing in Washington D.C. in the face of worsening conditions caused by the automotive industry crisis. All three companies were unsuccessful and were invited to draft a new action plan for the sustainability of the industry.[32]

On November 25, 2008 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released their Top Safety Pick awards for the year. Seventy-two vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick award for 2009. This is more than double the number of 2008 recipients and more than 3 times the number of 2007 winners. However Chrysler LLC. is the only major automaker still lacking a single Top Safety Pick.[33]

At the beginning of December 2008, amid the 2008 automobile crisis, Chrysler announced that they were dangerously low on cash and may not survive past 2009. After the defeat of the auto bailout in the Senate, Chrysler stated that they would most likely file for bankruptcy and shut down all operations permanently. On December 17, 2008, Chrysler announced that it planned to halt production at all 30 of its manufacturing plants through January 19, 2009. In addition, Chrysler announced that it would charge fees on dealers holding inventories of new cars and trucks that are unsold after more than 360 days, and will require immediate payment of all remaining balances on inventories of used vehicles that remain unsold after six months.[34] On December 19, President George W. Bush announced a $13.4 billion rescue loan for the American automakers, including Chrysler.

Chrysler's 2008 performance was hard hit among the Big Three U.S. automakers,[35] with 398,119 automobiles and 1,055,003 trucks sold during the year.

On March 7, 2009, Chrysler Vice-Chairman Jim Press stated that current sales volume is sufficient to keep the company going as sales should rise in the coming months. The Chrysler executive also noted the automaker's February retail sales were better than Ford's as Chrysler continued to curtail lower-margin fleet sales. He also said the volumes being forecast for 2009 are within the estimates Chrysler envisioned in preparing its viability plan for the federal government.[36]

On March 30, 2009, the White House announced it would provide an additional $6 billion in further support to Chrysler contingent on the company finalizing an alliance with Fiat before the end of April.[37]

The common tendency of sock puppeters is to overshare good information--at least, the ones who get caught.  Mary Rosh knew too much about lesser-known high points of John Lott's life, and indeed, his wikipedia entry seems suspiciously full of relatively obscure bits of information, such as the fact that "Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said that 'John Lott has few equals as a perceptive analyst of controversial public policy issues.' "  "Rick Ellensberg" et al seemed to be in possession of a master list of everyone who had ever praised Glenn Greenwald.    Sprezzatura had an almost deranged regard for the writing of Lee Siegel.  Etc.

Now, this is not always a sign of sock puppeting.  I'm always shocked when someone pops up with a defense (or criticism) of me based on an apparently detailed familiarity with my life story, which they have apparently carefully harvested from my blog.  And I was frankly a little creeped out when someone in India added the correct birthday to my wikipedia entry, which is also surprisingly detailed. (I've edited it once, to correct a wrong piece of information).  That Wikipedia entry now notes that "In November 2008, various of McArdle's blog posts arguing against the proposed federal bailout of the U.S. auto industry were quoted approvingly by conservative commentators David Brooks,[3]Michael Barone[4] and John Podhoretz,[5] among others."  On the other hand, the Wikipedia page also contains errors--I started at The Economist in 2003--which I haven't corrected because I've since learned that editing your own Wikipedia entry is a no-no.  (Side note:  it looks like I'm up for deletion again, being un-notable.  Sob.)

More to the point, those citations were the kind of thing a fan might know, and they're in the relevant sections.  And there aren't a zillion of them.  The fact that Chrysler won a design award doesn't really belong in the section on the financial crisis.  I say Chrysler, or their flacks, are editing it.  What say you?