Skip to comments.Whoops: PolitiFact's 'Lie of the Year' Turns Out to Be True
Posted on 01/18/2013 3:36:01 PM PST by Kaslin
Last month, PolitiFact selected its "Lie of the Year." Given PolitiFact's dubious record of singling out Republicans for lying far more often then Democrats, you probably could have guessed the winner of this particular sweepstakes was a Mitt Romney campaign ad:
It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign -- that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep's parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.
And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.
"Public expressed collective outrage"? That's essentially wishcasting on the part of PolitiFact, nor are they accurately representing what Mitt Romney said in the ad. In fact, here's PolitiFact's original "fact check" on the matter:
[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China" at the cost of American jobs.
Ok. Now here's what the Reuters reported earlier this week:
Fiat (FIA.MI) and its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to roll out at least 100,000 Jeeps in China when production starts in 2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals in the world's biggest car market. ...
"We expect production of around 100,000 Jeeps per year which is expandable to 200,000," [Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, said on the sidelines of a conference, adding production could start in 18 months.
So, yes, it's confirmed that Jeep will be producing cars in China. According to the Toledo Blade last November:
Currently, Jeeps sell in more than 120 countries around the world, including China. They're nearly all built in factories in the United States.
By expanding Jeep production to China, instead of increasing Jeep production in the U.S., it's safe to say the Jeep (or more properly, Fiat, which now owns Chrysler) is choosing to create more jobs overseas instead of in America where taxpayers bailed the company out.
Now one could argueand I suspect many pro-free trade, pro-globalization conservatives would make this argumentthat expanding production overseas is good for Jeep, and what's good for Jeep in the long-run is ultimately good for the jobs they sustain in the U.S. job market. And if you dig deep into the PolitiFact ruling, that's their essential objection to Mitt Romney's ad: It implies that it would be better for Jeep to create more jobs in the U.S. in the short-term, instead of expanding overseas production. So in the end, PolitiFact's beef with the Romney ad was an entirely argumentative disagreement about what course of action Jeep should take, not a factual objection to Romney's true statement that Jeep was going to start building cars in China. However, disagreeing about the implications of manufacturing Jeeps in China doesn't justify calling Romney a liar for accurately stating Jeeps would be manufactured in China. PolitiFact didn't even dispute that, and even conceded the "Lie of the Year" was built on a "grain of truth." Rather, PolitiFact explicitly argued producing Jeeps in China is a good thing:
The production of cars in China is a sign of Chrysler's growing strength in overseas markets. It would like to build Jeeps in China to sell in China. It is not outsourcing American auto jobs.
Further, PolitiFact criticized the Romney ad for something it didn't say. Romney's ad never said Jeep was "outsourcing" existing jobs. Again, a fair reading of the ad would be that it implied that Jeep was choosing to create new jobs overseas rather than in the U.S. And if we're going to get technical, what PolitiFact reported about Jeep wasn't accurate. Here's PolitiFact quoting a Chrysler spokesman in their "Lie of the Year" ruling:
"Lets set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China," Ranieri wrote, adding, "A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments."
But that turns out not to be entirely true! As the Detroit News reported earlier this week:
[Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne said he will keep "the pillar cars of the Jeep (brand) in the United States. Wrangler is one. The Grand Cherokee is another. These are things that need to be protected because they represent the best and the essence of Jeep. If you tell me I cannot make a Patriot somewhere else, I might as well go out of the market."
To recap, Jeep Patriotsoh irony, you capricious sprite!that were heretofore exclusively produced in America and sold overseas are now going to be made and sold overseas. So there is one Jeep model that is in fact shifting production "out of North America to China," contrary to what Jeep's spokesman asserted at the time.
On that note, we all know that "fact checking" is kabuki journalism, but would it have killed PolitiFact to act like real reporters for five seconds and express some richly deserved skepticism about Jeep's carefully worded denials about producing cars in China? It was obvious that since the company had received a taxpayer bailout largely engineered by an incumbent president up for reelection, that it was not in Jeep's interest to upset the Obama campaign applecart. Michael Dorstewitz at BizPac Review points out that Jeep was pretty clearly engaged in obfuscation:
When the controversy first erupted, Italian-born Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was unequivocal in denying that Jeep had plans to move any of its operations to China. That was on Oct. 30, one week before the presidential election.
I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China, he wrote in a letter to employees, according to NBC News. Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.
However, Marchione dodged the issue. The Romney ad never said that the Jeep brand was going to move to China it only said that Chrysler was going to build Jeeps in China.
Nonetheless, PolitiFact dubbed the Romney ad the Lie of the Year and described it as a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign.
Now I'd be confounded by PolitiFact's total inability to handle basic empirical matters if their motivation wasn't so transparent. Their "Lie of the Year" write-up reads like a gleeful vindication of the Obama campaign. No really, they use the word "gleeful":
If the Jeep ad was intended to confound the Obama campaign, the reaction was the opposite: gleeful outrage.
Obamas campaign fired back with its own ad, which crowed that "Chrysler itself has refuted Romney's lie. The truth? Jeep is adding jobs in Ohio." Surrogates on the campaign trail, notably former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, mocked the ad as audiences roared with laughter.
For the Obama camp, it was a twofer: They got to remind voters in Ohio and all over the country that Romney had opposed the auto bailouts and also portray him as desperate.
Obama himself brought it up in a campaign appearance in Cincinnati the Sunday before the election, casting it as a character issue.
"And so when youre thinking about this choice, or youre talking to your friends and neighbors about this choice, youve got to remind them its not just about policy, its also about trust. Who do you trust?"
If we're really going to be scrupulous about who we trust, the fact that the "Lie of the Year" is nothing more than sophistry aimed at tearing down a Republican presidential candidate says volumes about PolitiFact's credibility.
So once again the Libs lied. Who will notice it except for the choir here? The Repubs in DC will not mention it because that might hurt somebody’s feelings and so the masses will continue to believe the Repubs are the liars. I give up.
Too freaking late. The damage is done and we get to deal with it for as long as the a$$hat is in office.
Obama would still be a community organizer making 28K per year.
OOOPSIE! Guess the press happened, just happened to not be vigilant in checking out Obama's fairy tales, while making everything Romney truthfully said into the "gaffe of the year".
There's a market out there for honest news reporting. And NOBODY will fill it and make a mint.
I fully believe it is because the US population wants to know the Repubs and Conservatives are liars, thieves, murderers, etc., etc. They fully believe the Libs are saints. So there is NO market for honest news reporting.
Gutfeld, on the 5, said (paraphrased)
The Democrats thinks the Republicans are evil.
The Republicans think the Democrats are just wrong.
Meanwhile, where is the “press” that GM has opened up a design shop in China to support it’s increased factory production, including US transferries??
So their infra-structure is moving to China!! Press crickets
Clearly Romney had inside information and Knew he was right, considering the way this played out, Congress should hold Hearings and TAKE THE MONEY BACK and CUT UP OBAMAS CREDIT CARD.
The sooner the better
The liberals can’t help but lie. It comes natural to them
For the last 20 years manufacturing has chased the idea of lower production cost. They are, however, finally waking up to the fact that production is only part of the total cost. Transport, inventory, scrap and lost opportunity are all expensive too.
If you throw away (or sell at a loss) items that customers no longer want (think of out of style clothes) what good did it do to save a buck making them? If your cycle time is doubled because your factory is in China and a defect is found at the end of the line you have double the problem.
Manufacturers are going to make their products close to their customers. This is bad if your company is making all of their products here. It’s good for those in industries that have seen jobs go overseas. Much of this work is going to be brought back home in the next 10 years.
Doubt it very seriously, anything that was made overseas will continue to be made as well as the continuing theft of intellectual property by violating EVERY PATENT LAW we have with the Express Permission of Congress and the President. You cannot unring this bell. Slave Labor will continue to thrive at our expense.
I think pretty much all ‘rats are evil.
I’m sure Polihacks will print a retraction ASAP. /s
The initial report was not really true. Jeep is not moving production to China.
Jeep is going to produce in China and in the USA. There is a difference, a big difference.
Sealy a North Carolina Company produces mattresses in Washington........ the cost of transport necessitates local production to be competitive.
So it is with Jeep. The same is true with many companies including General Motors that would not exist were it not for revenue from China operations.
Fiat is a global enterprise with capabilities Chrysler lacked. Fiat is flexing it’s muscle to increase sales in the largest auto market in the world.
IP theft is a very serious problem but the re-shoring of manufacturing has already begun.
“The Romney ad never said that the Jeep brand was going to move to China it only said that Chrysler was going to build Jeeps in China.”
What part of this don’t you understand?
I realize these Companies will try to come back, but I think it is way too late for that. The Products they made overseas will continue to be made overseas on the cheap, and Your President and Congress will absolutely allow China to continue to import Cheap copies of Patented Goods with no recourse whatsoever. They will probably even receive subsidies to do so.