I've been doing these commentaries on 60 Minutes for 28 years now and a few weeks ago that set a record.
The record was for angry mail.
I get more e-mail than letters now. I said we no longer make the best cars in America and a lot of Americans are buying Japanese-made cars.
Well, you'd think I had thrown the American flag on the ground and stepped on it. Here are some sample letters:
"As an employee of General Motors I am insulted by the Andy Rooney story on GM, Ford and Chrysler."
"I do not believe it is lack of quality that has adversely affected General Motors - the product has been getting better and better. The problem is that the intellectual elite have decided it's un-cool to drive American.
Marilyn Hersey DeWeese
A lot of letters blamed the unions.
"To lay the blame on the auto manufacturers' naming policy and ignore the fact that unions have brought the GMs and Fords to their knees is poor reporting."
"Last year GM spent $5.2 billion on health care for its employees, retirees and dependents - that's $1,525 for every car they made."
Several letters praised our auto industry for having provided good wages and lifelong security for autoworkers that workers in other countries do not have.
"Sometimes making purchase decisions based on nationalistic reasons makes more sense for the overall good of our country."
Ron F. Marks
I made the mistake of suggesting it was only American cars that had silly names. I was corrected.
"Toyota alone has at least 17 different models with names."
Robert Kiedrowski, Jr.
Someone sent me a bumper sticker they wanted me to display: DRIVE AMERICAN
Fred Whitt wrote a mean letter:
"I think the birds nesting in your bushy eyebrows have started pecking at your brain."
Paul Paczkowski wrote, "Isn't it time you retire?"
"After watching 60 Minutes my entire life, in the future I'm going to tune in to the Cooking Channel."
"I had no idea that Andy was part of the right wing media."
Mike Mumma wrote, "I can't wait to have a Japanese commentator come over here to take your place."
Several letters questioned whether CBS complained about my comments regarding the car companies who buy commercials. No, they did not.
I am proud to say that no CBS executive has ever stopped me from saying anything, no matter how dumb it was.
By Andy Rooney