JEEPers, PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year Turns Out to Be True
[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs.
And a headline from Reuters on Thursday.
Fiat sees at least 100,000 Jeeps made in China in 2014
To paraphrase commenter Dan on another thread: but, but, but … they have the Truth-O-Meter!!! How could PolitiFact have gotten it wrong???
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.”
Ah. A “grain” of truth”. PolitiFact is acknowledging that which has been pretty plain about many, many of their ratings: too often, the “Truth”-O-Meter starts with a grain of truth which it spins into a rating that doesn’t have much at all to do with that quality. (Anchor Rising posts demonstrating this about some PolitiFact ratings can be reviewed here.)
I am a big supporter of news outlets, including specifically traditional newspapers, who employ honest, talented, hard-working reporters and put them on a beat. (That latter is so important – the context that is provided by institutional knowledge is a vital component of good reporting.) PolitiFact might have started out as an admirable concept. Regrettably, however, the way that it has been far too often executed has been a major disappointment and, accordingly, a poor reflection on the hosting newspaper.
[Monique is Deputy Editor of the RISC-Y Business Newsletter.]