Another short-lived ‘scandal’ evaporates

We talked a couple of weeks ago about a Ford Motor Company television ad that the right just loves. It shows a customer explaining that he bought a Ford because “I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government.”

There are, however, two minor details the spot doesn’t mention: (1) Ford was a strong backer of the Obama administration’s auto industry rescue; and (2) that rescue saved the industry from collapse.

In any case, a bunch of conservative media personalities are arguing today that Ford yanked this ad under pressure from the White House. If true, that would be quite a story. Unfortunately for the right, it doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality.

A Detroit News opinion columnist alleged today that Ford pulled the ad after “individuals inside the White House” raised questions about it. The columnist, Daniel Howes, backs this up by citing nothing, not even anonymous sources. He merely states that it’s “evidently” true.

The usual suspects got worked up and raised ominous questions, but as Greg Sargent explained, there’s simply no evidence to support the claim, and “Ford and the White House are both denying the tale.”

“The Detroit News story is not true,” communications director Dan Pfeiffer emails. Ford happens to agree. The company Tweeted: “we did not pull the ad due to pressure. the ad ran 4 weeks which is what the campaign called for.”

Odder still: The original Detroit News story doesn’t even allege pressure. Way down in the story an “industry source” is quoted claiming: “There was not any pressure to take down the ad.” The piece then goes on to hint that Ford might have felt some kind of pressure, but doesn’t quote anyone claiming that this was the case.

A Ford spokesperson later told Greg, “The ad was replaced with another ad, which is our usual practice when an ad runs its course. There was no pressure from the White House or the administration. This is Ford’s decision, and part of our usual practice.”

Conservatives will someday hopefully learn the story of the boy who cried wolf. Every time the right screams, “Scandal!” when the news is actually quite mundane, it reinforces the perception that conservatives are a little too desperate to latch onto nonsense.

After a while, it’s just easier to roll one’s eyes than take their latest cries seriously.