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'Fact checker' Ezra Klein doubles down on Janesville GM auto plant lie

Oh, no he didn’t.

Of course, he did.

Last night Ezra Klein’s blog posted a flat-out lie last night about the timing of the Janesville, Wisc., GM auto plant closure.


Here is what was posted on his blog last night by Klein’s colleague Dylan Matthews:

The plant shut down in June 2008, when George W. Bush is (sic) president.

Here’s the screencap, in case Klein tries to whitewash the error:

That is not only really bad grammar, but it is also factually incorrect. The plant began to wind down operations in December 2008. It shut down in the spring of 2009. You may recall that the president at the time was Barack Obama, not George W. Bush.

Matthews linked to a New York Times article that  flatly contradicts the claim that the plant shut down in June 2008. The article, written in October 2008, said the Janesville plant “is a shadow of its former self” but still had 1,200 employees. Yes, the plant was still operational in October 2008. Which means it hadn’t yet shut down. How, then, could the plant have closed in June 2008, as Klein’s blog stated?

Rather than correct the mistake, MSNBC’s newest “fact checker” doubled down, standing by the incorrect assertion.

But Klein insists there was no error, this time linking to a PolitiFact article to prove his point. The PolitiFact article asserts that the plant was “effectively” shut down on December 23, 2008 but acknowledges that he plant did not actually close until four months later.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel — perhaps a more neutral observer — says the plant closed in 2009:

The Janesville plant stopped production of SUVs in 2008 and was idled in 2009 after it completed production of medium-duty trucks.


People who live in Janesville say the plant closed in 2009:

Wikipedia — not known for right-wing bias — says the plant closed in 2009:

The plant … employed around 7,000 workers at its peak in 1970, but was down to about 1,200 at its closing in 2009.

Even if one chooses to use PolitiFact’s dubious “effective” shut down date of December 23, 2008, the June 2008 date posted on Klein’s blog is incorrect.

This is not the first time Ezra Klein, who lied about his left-wing JournoList,  has played fast and loose with facts.

Back in April 2006, he falsely stated that U.C. Santa Cruz protesters “frantically called on [Twitchy CEO Michelle] Malkin to remove their [phone] numbers” from a blog post she had published. As Malkin pointed out to Klein via email at the time, this was false. None of the students whose numbers Malkin posted ever contacted Malkin. Klein never retracted the false statement, which remains on the American Prospect website to this day.


Obama lied about Janesville GM auto plant, not Ryan

Meet MSNBC’s fact-checker: Ezra Klein?!? Update: Klein’s blog falsely claims that Janesville auto plant closed in June 2008

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