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Dealergate and the MSM

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 28, 2009 09:06 AM

I talked about Dealergate on Fox and Friends this morning. Will try and get the video clip up later today. I made sure to credit bloggers Doug Ross and Joey Smith, who took the lead in probing the relationship between political considerations and Chrysler dealerships targeted for closure, also Hot Air, which is where the F&F producer saw the story.

The bloggers are continuing their intriguing work. Doug has a new post here shedding more light on Mack McLarty/Robet Johnson’s dealerships. Joey has more info on Lithia Motors here.

As I’ve stated from the beginning, there is still much to be researched on this issue. Given Obama’s Chicago gangland propensities, anything corrupt is possible.

Some professional journalists, however, have shown obstinate unwilligness to get to the bottom of the decision-making process.

The Washington Post’s business columnist Steven Pearlstein was asked about the story yesterday in an online Q&A. He scoffed:

Boonsboro, Md.: A bit off the topic, but have you or anyone at the Post investigated this? Chrysler dealers shut down in Obama bankruptcy are mostly Republican? It seems a crosscheck of dealerships to be closed versus donations shows almost all the dealers to be closed donated to Republicans. http://hotair.com/

Steven Pearlstein: Oh, please. What percent of all auto dealers are Republican? I bet its (sic) pretty high.

Well, why don’t you use all your professional journalism training and find out the answer, Mr. Pearlstein? And why don’t you look at the flip side of the question — as “amateur” bloggers have been doing — and investigate the circumstances of the protected dealers?

Pearlstein is not alone in dismissing the blogosphere out of hand. The impulse to denigrate blogs is borne of professional protectionism.

Ace reflects on the conservative blog-MSM dynamic:

Here’s a dilemma for conservatives. The MSM will not investigate any of these claims, ever. So what is a conservative to do? If a conservatives admit that this line of inquiry seems unlikely to turn up malfeasance, the MSM uses such statements as pretexts to not bother to even check, and uses such statements against conservatives who are agitating for additional investigation — “Even conservatives think this is unlikely, so you guys are obviously crazy…”

Of course I want this looked into, of course. It’s my guess it’s a non-story, not my expert opinion.

But the MSM is so ridiculously biased that they make honesty a dangerous and politically counterproductive business.

The only way to even get the MSM to do their jobs and take a look is to pressure them by claiming Worst Scandal Eveh, even if we don’t all necessarily buy that. But we have to claim that in order to spur any sort of media interest whatsoever. (That interest, of course, coming in the form of stories like Conservatives Now So Crazy They Think Obama Is Closing Chrysler Dealerships for Political Advantage, which isn’t exactly the headline we seek, but that’s the best we can hope for from the MSM.)

A few quick points: I do think that eventually, the MSM will come around to investigating. If they find anything at all that confirms the politicizing of the process, they’ll either whitewash it, downplay it, or take credit for exposing it with little or no credit to the bloggers who first started digging. They’ll also ignore the fact that some of us early on have made the caveat from the start not to make too-broad claims.

I also don’t think it’s necessary to over-sell the story in order to get more mainstream coverage. The fact is, Missouri senators have already pressed the White House for more transparency on the closure decision-making process.

Do the rest of the MSM’s business journalists take Pearlstein’s arrogant “Oh, please” position that the answers are not even worth pursuing?

***

Jim Hoft has further info/commentary.

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