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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Newsmax, WND Latch Onto Obama-Chrysler Dealer Conspiracy
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Ken Timmerman takes a bite on the right-wing conspiracy du jour -- that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting Chrysler dealers for closure whose owners have donated to Republican candidates.

Timmerman appears to embrace the conspiracy in this May 27 article, but it's not until the latter half of his article that he divulges a major debunking fact:

Auto-dealers as an industry tend to give more to Republican causes than to Democrats, according to an analysis done by Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that compiles FEC data and operates the Open Secrets Web site.

During the 2008 election cycle, the center found that auto dealers and their associated political action committees made a total of $9 million in campaign contributions, giving by a 3-to-1 margin to Republicans.

The automobile industry as a whole made $18.5 million in donations in 2008, also breaking roughly 3-to-1 in favor of Republican candidates and causes.

That's right -- the reason it seems that more Republican-supporting Chrysler dealers are losing their franchises is because car dealers tend to support Republicans. Timmerman (or any of the other conspiracy-mongers) offer no evidence that Chrysler dealers losing their franchises are any more or less Republican than that of auto dealers as a whole.

Then, Timmerman pretends he didn't just debunk the central point of his article and launched back into conspiracy territory:

One company that stands to benefit in a major way from the Chrysler restructuring is called RLJ-McLarty-Landers, a start-up owned by Democratic Party insiders that operates six Chrysler dealerships throughout the South.

Co-owners Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, and Mack McLarty, chief of staff to president Bill Clinton, provided capital and political clout to the partnership, which they formed in September 2007.

Johnson is a major donor to Democrat party causes but sharply criticized Obama during the primaries for his admitted drug use as a young man. He later apologized to Obama for the personal attack.

Timmerman neglects to mention that McLarty didn't stumble into selling cars a couple years ago. His family's connection to auto dealerships dates back to 1921 and had grown into a group of 19 dealers by 1998, when an ownership interest was sold to New York-based Asbury Automotive Group; McLarty was later named Asbury vice chairman and, then chairman and CEO.

Timmerman made no mention at all of the other partner in the group, Steve Landers, yet his presence may very well be the key to why, as he noted, "RLJ-McCarty-Landers will retain all of its six dealerships." Landers was the owner of a Chrysler dealer in Benton, Ark., that was the world's largest Chrysler dealer for several years. Why would Chrysler sever its relationship with one of its best dealers?

WorldNetDaily -- not wanting to be left out of an Obama conspiracy -- jumped on this bandwagon as well. A May 27 article by Chelsea Schilling breathlessly taouts the conspiracy while failing to note the fact, as reported by Timmerman, that car dealers as a whole overwhelmingly support Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT

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