Former Marine pilot Bob Lutz has strafed some of the best-known conservative pundits for their criticism of the Chevrolet Volt, including radio host Rush Limbaugh and Fox New commentator Bill O’Reilly – the latter deserving what Lutz called “the Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism.”
The ever-outspoken Lutz, a former General Motors Vice Chairman, broke silence in the wake of last week’s hearings stemming from several fires that followed federal crash tests of the Volt and its battery pack. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration briefly opened and then quickly closed an investigation into the plug-in hybrid after General Motors identified the likely source of the problem and announced steps to reduce the likelihood of fires.
But lawmakers used the January 25th hearing as a political set piece to raise questions about the 2009 federal bailout of General Motors and alleged improprieties by the administration’s top auto safety executive. Though those themes gained little traction during the hearings the Volt has become a popular whipping boy among conservative pundits like Limbaugh and O’Reilly, the latter making it sound like the battery cars routinely catch fire during a segment with TV pundit Lou Dobbs.
“That simply isn’t the case,” said Lutz, in a column for Forbes. In a subsequent interview with the Detroit Free Press, he lamented the lack of “ethics” and “fairness” the conservative commentators demonstrated.