Steyn v. Beckmann on Chrysler Ad

by Henry Payne

The Chrysler Eminem ad divided conservative talk radio Tuesday, though WJR host — and Michigan’s Number One conservative commentator — Frank Beckmann and Mark Steyn largely talked past each other. Beckmann saw it as commercial selling Detroit cars. Steyn — a frequent visitor to Detroit — saw it as a commercial extolling Detroit as a great city.

The Detroit News reports:

Local radio host Frank Beckmann took issue today with a peer who used the airwaves of Beckmann’s WJR-AM 760 on Monday to blast Chrysler’s Super Bowl commercial that focused on Detroit, rapper Eminem and its new car, the 200.

Beckmann, during his regular morning show, criticized Mark Steyn for being “elitist” in his scathing rebuke of the car ad. Steyn, a conservative commentator filling in for Rush Limbaugh on Monday, said the commercial wrongly placed Detroit in a positive light. “We’re now being told that this is the model for America in the 21st century,” he said. “If it is, we’re all doomed.”

Beckmann, who interviewed Steyn during his show today, said he missed the point of the ad and said suggestions that it falsely hid the decay that has gnawed at the city were ridiculous. The goal of the ad, Beckman said, was to sell cars, not tell the world the seemly details of Detroit’s problems.

“We know those problems, he’s not the first to notice them,” Beckmann said. “(The ad) shows a gritty side of Detroit. It shows us how we are.”

On Monday, Steyn referred to a book published last year that showed the city’s ruins, comparing Detroit to European cities reduced to rubble during world wars.”Unlike European cities, no bombs fell on this American city,” he said. “This American city did it to themselves.”

Beckmann said he agreed with Steyn on some issues: the roots of the city’s decline lay with unions, liberal political leaders and a sense of entitlement.

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