Fox co-host Eric Bolling invented a revisionist history of the General Motors bailout in order to baselessly accuse the Obama administration of conspiring to cover up a potentially fatal defect in some GM vehicles.
On the April 1 edition of Fox's The Five, Bolling attempted to link a defect in an ignition switch -- which has been blamed for several deaths and resulted in millions of GM vehicles being recalled earlier this year -- to the Obama administration, claiming that the administration “bankrupted” GM in 2009 in order to shift responsibility for the defect away from a new, restructured GM:
BOLLING: Bob, let me be the skeptic here, all right? So around 2008, 2009, when they bankrupted GM, no one could figure out why they would do that --
BOB BECKEL (co-host): They bankrupted GM?
BOLLING: Yeah. The Obama administration bankrupted GM and recapitalized them and recapitalized certain investments. No one could figure out why. I'll be the skeptic here, I'll be the cynic here, I'll be conspiratorial. Maybe they bankrupted them to make sure that the old GM was responsible for these deaths because they knew they had a problem and the new GM could go on with business as usual and then they would look like heroes.
Bolling offered no evidence to back up his “conspiratorial” claim, which ignores the billions of dollars GM lost before the bankruptcy filing and President George W. Bush's role in setting up a bailout for the company in 2008.
According to a timeline compiled by NPR, some GM employees were aware of a problem with the ignition switch as early as 2001, eight years before the federal government took an ownership stake in the company. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated complaints about a related issue with air bags in the vehicles in 2007 but ended it without taking action. The NHTSA recommended another investigation in 2010, but it too was dropped after no correlation between air bag issues and fatalities was found.
Despite Bolling's conspiracy theory, there is simply no evidence to prove that Obama administration officials knew of the severity of the defect at the time or that they actively conspired to hide the issue during GM's bankruptcy.