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Frying Matty’s bacon

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When a bastion of capitalist pig-ism starts bashing you for being a monopolistic cash hog, is it time to reconsider the way you’re makin’ all that bacon? This porcine musing squealed its way into our thoughts while reading Forbes magazine’s latest issue, which features a none-too-flattering article on Manuel “Matty” Moroun. You might not know the reclusive Mr. M, but you are certainly familiar with one of his possessions: The Ambassador Bridge that links Detroit and Windsor.

We’ve always found it astounding that an individual could own such a crucial piece of binational transportation linkage. That’s not such a surprising observation coming from the commies here at News Hits. But for Forbes magazine — where the company jet is christened Capitalist Tool — to be tsk-tsking about Matty’s monopoly is noteworthy.

Or, as Dan Stamper, president of Moroun’s bridge company, says, “I didn’t know Forbes was a socialistic magazine.”

You didn’t need to get past the headline to figure out the story’s slant, unless you think that a piece titled “The Troll Under The Bridge” might somehow portend positive spin.

Stamper accuses reporters Stephane Fitch and Joann Mueller of coming to the project with a hidden agenda. “I took some time talking to those writers, and they gave the impression that they were writing a balanced story,” he says. “Then they produced a one-sided crucifixion. All the stuff that was written was written in a way to throw stones and bash the bridge.”

Among other things, the article decries the lack of regulatory oversight authorities on either side of the river have over the span. Here’s a taste:

“Moroun often operates with impunity. Federal rules bar corrosives, explosives, radioactive waste and other toxic materials from crossing the bridge, but Moroun says the ban doesn’t apply to the Ambassador. He gives ‘authorization letters’ to certain truckers to haul some banned contents across his bridge. He won’t let state troopers nab trucks on the bridge — they must ticket them upon leaving.”

Stamper finds it particularly curious that the reporters, while slamming Matty and giving props to a potential competitor attempting to establish a new truck tunnel beneath the river, fail to mention another proposed project that would result in the construction of a second bridge downriver from the Ambassador.

Something’s not kosher, Stamper insists.

Fortunately, Matty has, according to Forbes, about $1 billion a year in net revenue from his various holdings to help soothe those hurt feelings. He also appears to have a number of acquaintances ready to jump to his defense. Stamper tells News Hits that since the article appeared, his phone has been ringing with calls from folks who say they provided the Forbes reporters with much favorable info about Moroun, but that none of the good stuff found its way into the article. The editors at Forbes will be getting many letters of complaint, Stamper predicts.

Which just goes to bolster a point of view long held by News Hits: You never know who’s waiting to fry your bacon.

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