When the Wall Street Journal op-ed page published a piece by the CEO of General Motors, Ed Whitacre, under the headline, "The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full," we called it "misleading," and "nonsense." Now the Journal itself is essentially admitting as much, taking the unusual step of publishing a follow-up op-ed piece by Paul Ingrassia that calls Mr. Whitacre's claim "not the whole truth" and noting that the loan repayment trumpeted by Mr. Whitacre represents only about 10% of the money it got from the governments of America and Canada. About $52 billion hasn't been repaid, the "Paid Back in Full" headline notwithstanding.
"Mr. Whitacre should have acknowledged that directly," Mr. Ingrassia writes. "The new General Motors should trumpet its triumphs. But it should be more careful to present them in proper perspective." Good for the Journal for correcting the record. Mr. Ingrassia's piece doesn't, though, address the question of what responsibility, if any, the Journal had in the first place in publishing a piece and a headline that wasn't the whole truth.
Update: Senator Grassley calls the GM "Paid Back in Full" announcement "really just an elaborate TARP money shuffle," and explains, "The repayment dollars haven't come from GM selling cars but, instead, from a TARP escrow account at the Treasury Department."