Auto journalist takes on AT article

William Tate
Business writer Ed Wallace has penned a scathing critique of my recent American Thinker article, Race Played Role in Obama Car Dealer Closures, about the recent, withering Inspector General's report on the Obama administration's handling of the auto industry bailout. Mr. Wallace's column reads, in part:

"(T)he most telling line of the entire report puts to shame all that Tate has incorrectly concluded on this matter. The line, on page 11, reads, 'SIGTARP (the Inspector General) found that the Auto Team was not involved in determining which dealerships to close.'

However, Mr. Wallace, who is a winner of the Gerald R. Loeb award for business journalism, fails to point out that the paragraphs immediately following his quote paint exactly the opposite picture, portraying an Auto Team highly engaged in the process of determining which types of dealerships to close:

"The representative from the Center for Automotive Research disputed the Auto Team's assumption that closing rural dealerships would not affect sales in rural areas...

...A former Chrysler Deputy CEO told SIGTARP that the 'Toyota model' studied by the Auto Team -- that fewer dealerships, located mostly in metro areas, would lead to higher sales and profitability for the remaining dealerships -- would not work for Chrysler." [Emphasis added.]

So the report specifically states that the Auto Team was actively involved in the types of dealers to close, and that the Team focused on closing dealerships in rural areas -- which Obama did not carry -- despite a consensus of industry experts' opinions as expressed to SIGTARP.

The SIGTARP report further weakens Mr. Wallace's argument by pointing out that:

"GM did not document the meetings during which decisions were made about dealerships in their networks. GM did not document the rationale for granting or denying appeal requests from dealerships. Chrysler did not document meetings held to determine dealership closures. The Auto Team did not document some of the meetings it held with auto industry analysts."

Undocumented meeting, after undocumented meeting, after undocumented meeting. Even the CIA doesn't operate in such secrecy.

As a result, the SIGTARP report hammers the whole process for a lack of transparency. The report leaves open to conjecture what was, and was not, considered when these closure decisions were being made, and whether the conclusion Mr. Wallace cited could therefor be valid.

The SIGTARP report also pointed out that the Obama Auto Team was not comprised of experts knowledgeable about the auto industry. Instead, it was made up of individuals appointed for their political connections -- or political views. Is it really plausible to believe that politics were ignored in all those undocumented meetings? Especially from a gang which seems to live by the motto, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"?

One of the end results of the closures -- along with the unnecessary loss of jobs I outlined in my first American Thinker article on the matter -- was that, as the SIGTARP report specifically says:

"Other dealerships were retained because they were recently appointed, were key wholesale parts dealers, or were minority- or woman-owned dealerships." [Emphasis added.]

That is the SIGTARP report's conclusion, not mine. I didn't "pull out the race card," as Mr. Wallace claims; the SIGTARP did.

And can anyone imagine the media reaction if an inspector general had found that the Bush administration had administered a multi-, multi-billion dollar program that, being generous, even inadvertently disadvantaged minorities and women? I would posit that the uproar would have been so loud we'd all need hearing aids by now.

As to Mr. Wallace's conclusion that bias was involved in my reporting, I would suggest that bias in other media outlets is the primary reason that most have remained mute on this topic; the shared "mandate for sacrifice" demanded by the Obama gang; and other aspects the SIGTARP's report that were highly critical of the Obama administration.

Would Mr. Wallace have me remain silent when I see bias in media coverage? Should we remain mute about policy matters that we perceive as important, just because the New York Times -- and the media pack that follows in their wake -- ignores them?

I should hope not.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author, and encourages readers to study the full Inspector General's report and to draw their own conclusions
Business writer Ed Wallace has penned a scathing critique of my recent American Thinker article, Race Played Role in Obama Car Dealer Closures, about the recent, withering Inspector General's report on the Obama administration's handling of the auto industry bailout. Mr. Wallace's column reads, in part:

"(T)he most telling line of the entire report puts to shame all that Tate has incorrectly concluded on this matter. The line, on page 11, reads, 'SIGTARP (the Inspector General) found that the Auto Team was not involved in determining which dealerships to close.'

However, Mr. Wallace, who is a winner of the Gerald R. Loeb award for business journalism, fails to point out that the paragraphs immediately following his quote paint exactly the opposite picture, portraying an Auto Team highly engaged in the process of determining which types of dealerships to close:

"The representative from the Center for Automotive Research disputed the Auto Team's assumption that closing rural dealerships would not affect sales in rural areas...

...A former Chrysler Deputy CEO told SIGTARP that the 'Toyota model' studied by the Auto Team -- that fewer dealerships, located mostly in metro areas, would lead to higher sales and profitability for the remaining dealerships -- would not work for Chrysler." [Emphasis added.]

So the report specifically states that the Auto Team was actively involved in the types of dealers to close, and that the Team focused on closing dealerships in rural areas -- which Obama did not carry -- despite a consensus of industry experts' opinions as expressed to SIGTARP.

The SIGTARP report further weakens Mr. Wallace's argument by pointing out that:

"GM did not document the meetings during which decisions were made about dealerships in their networks. GM did not document the rationale for granting or denying appeal requests from dealerships. Chrysler did not document meetings held to determine dealership closures. The Auto Team did not document some of the meetings it held with auto industry analysts."

Undocumented meeting, after undocumented meeting, after undocumented meeting. Even the CIA doesn't operate in such secrecy.

As a result, the SIGTARP report hammers the whole process for a lack of transparency. The report leaves open to conjecture what was, and was not, considered when these closure decisions were being made, and whether the conclusion Mr. Wallace cited could therefor be valid.

The SIGTARP report also pointed out that the Obama Auto Team was not comprised of experts knowledgeable about the auto industry. Instead, it was made up of individuals appointed for their political connections -- or political views. Is it really plausible to believe that politics were ignored in all those undocumented meetings? Especially from a gang which seems to live by the motto, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"?

One of the end results of the closures -- along with the unnecessary loss of jobs I outlined in my first American Thinker article on the matter -- was that, as the SIGTARP report specifically says:

"Other dealerships were retained because they were recently appointed, were key wholesale parts dealers, or were minority- or woman-owned dealerships." [Emphasis added.]

That is the SIGTARP report's conclusion, not mine. I didn't "pull out the race card," as Mr. Wallace claims; the SIGTARP did.

And can anyone imagine the media reaction if an inspector general had found that the Bush administration had administered a multi-, multi-billion dollar program that, being generous, even inadvertently disadvantaged minorities and women? I would posit that the uproar would have been so loud we'd all need hearing aids by now.

As to Mr. Wallace's conclusion that bias was involved in my reporting, I would suggest that bias in other media outlets is the primary reason that most have remained mute on this topic; the shared "mandate for sacrifice" demanded by the Obama gang; and other aspects the SIGTARP's report that were highly critical of the Obama administration.

Would Mr. Wallace have me remain silent when I see bias in media coverage? Should we remain mute about policy matters that we perceive as important, just because the New York Times -- and the media pack that follows in their wake -- ignores them?

I should hope not.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author, and encourages readers to study the full Inspector General's report and to draw their own conclusions