Obama’s auto task force used a section under the bankruptcy code to use government money to buy the “good assets” of GM and Chrysler in bankruptcy by outbidding anyone else, allowing the companies to exit in just 40 days.

If Romney’s course had been adopted, GM and Chrysler could have been in bankruptcy for months or years before exiting—and would have had much more debt on their balance sheets.

While Shepardson’s article is focused on Romney’s claims on Meet the Press, he doesn’t let Democratic exaggerations off the hook either. He counts “more than 50” speakers at the DNC who “pilloried Romney” for his New York Times op-ed, and suggested that Romney would’ve let the auto industry die. Shepardson points out that the Democrats “skirted many facts” at the convention, “including the costs [of the bailouts] and the Republicans’ role in saving Detroit.” Writes Shepardson:

Left unsaid was the fact President Bush initially saved GM, Chrysler and their finance arms. Obama’s auto task force added $60 billion to the tally and put Chrysler and GM through bankruptcy in 2009.

Altogether, Shepardson does an excellent job of staying grounded in the facts as he navigates the political back-and-forth about the auto industry—of particular interest to Detroit News readers. His doesn’t devolve into mushy neutrality: with equanimity, he points out where politicians are “not accurate” in their claims and what facts are “skirted.” As Shepardson notes elsewhere in his article, Romney intends to challenge Obama on the auto industry in all three debates. As the issue comes to a crescendo in the fall election season, more reporting like this will go a long way in keeping facts at the forefront, rather than rhetoric.

Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The Guardian, Grantland, and Salon; blogs at Isak; and can be found on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.