Our Lie of the Year: the Romney campaign's claim that Jeep was moving production to China. bit.ly/UBaOyb—
PolitiFact (@politifact) December 12, 2012
“Lie of the Year: the Romney campaign’s ad on Jeeps made in China,” announced PolitiFact earlier today.
During a campaign speech in Defiance, Ohio Romney misstated Jeep’s plans, claiming Chrysler was considering moving “all” Jeep production to China. Most likely it was an honest mistake, probably the result of a confusing statement the previous week by Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep brand:
Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country, according to the head of both automakers’ operations in the region.
“The volume opportunity for us is very significant,” Manley, who is also president of the Jeep brand, said in an interview at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters. “We’re reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity” as well as “should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio.”
But what exactly did Romney’s ad — the one awarded “Lie of the Year” by PolitiFact — say about this?
Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.
You can see the ad for yourself above.
Liberal journalists insisted the ad was terribly deceptive even as they acknowledged that every word of it was true.
Here’s what Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote:
Technically, every word of this is true. Obama did force GM and Chrysler through a managed bankruptcy. Fiat did end up buying Chrysler. And Chrysler is thinking about building Jeeps in China. But remember my three-part test to judge how deceptive a statement is?
- What was the speaker trying to imply?
- What would it take to state things accurately?
- How much would accuracy damage the speaker’s point?
On this scale, Romney’s ad rates about 9 out of 10 on the deceptiveness scale. He’s obviously trying to imply that American jobs will be shipped overseas; stating things accurately would require wholesale revisions; and doing so would completely destroy Romney’s point. But he doesn’t care. He’s got an election to win, and if scaring Ohio autoworkers is what it takes, then that’s what it takes. It’s truly nauseating.
And here’s what Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic wrote:
Although the statements about Chrysler are true individually, together they imply that the Obama Administration’s action led to the outsourcing of American jobs. That is obviously false, both in the specific sense of what Chrysler is doing and in the more general sense of what the entire auto industry is doing.
That’s the lie of the year?
And certainly not this.
Really, PolitiFact? Really?!?
The winners write the history books. That doesn’t make it true.