There’s still no car dealer conspiracy

THERE’S STILL NO CAR DEALER CONSPIRACY…. In case any additional proof was needed, the Obama administration really didn’t target Chrysler dealerships owned by Republican campaign donors. As far-right conspiracy theories go, this was sillier than most, but given the excitement about the “story,” it never hurts to have more evidence that sets the record straight.

In Macomb County, three dealerships were closed in the Chrysler bankruptcy process and seven were saved. The FEC records show no noticeable difference in the political leanings of the owners of the 10 businesses.

Anthony Viviano, president of the Metro Detroit Dodge dealers’ association and owner of Sterling Heights Dodge, which will remain in operation, said politics was never a factor in the process.

“That’s just a bunch of baloney,” said Viviano, former president of the Detroit Area Dealers Association.

Of course it is. But it’s often amazing to see how popular nonsense can be.

For the record, Viviano is not some Democratic activist, anxious to debunk Republican talking points — 90% of his political donations have gone to Republican candidates.

As Eric Boehlert noted yesterday, “Trust us, this was a very big deal among right-wing true believers this week even though, as we tried to point out, all the bloggers’ dogged research was able to confirm was that car dealers in general give lots of money to Republican politicians. Meaning there’s nothing to indicate that the dealerships that survived were big Democratic donors. Clueless bloggers simply confirmed that dealers that got closed had given to the GOP in the past and then deduced the evil connection.”

Keep in mind, as silly as this conspiracy theory was, not only did conservatives continue to push it after it had been debunked, but the right’s interest led a Fox News “reporter” to ask the president’s press secretary about the “story” at a White House press briefing this week. (Robert Gibbs explained that the administration had nothing to do with choosing which dealerships were shut down.)

That ridiculous accusations with no grounding in reality can reach the level of a White House press briefing only helps underscore the problems with the political discourse.

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