Busted: Politifact gets its ‘Lie of the Year’ wrong

politifact pants on fire designation

Perhaps Politifact should award itself its own “Pants On Fire” designation

On Friday, Politifact admitted that a political ad it dubbed “Lie of the Year” was in fact accurate – but the website still calls it “Lie of the Year.”

The brouhaha started when, during the final stages of the 2012 presidential campaign, the Romney camp ran an ad saying Chrysler was “going to build Jeeps in China.”

When Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchione said there were no plans to move Jeep’s production lines to China, everyone called the Romney ad a lie, prompting Politifact to refer to it as the “Lie of the Year.”

Marchionne reignited the dust up when he announced that some Jeep models would be built in China. I responded to that announcement by arguing that Marchione turned Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” into the lie of the year.

On Friday, Politifact responded to The Weekly Standard’s own report on the mischaracterization.

“Our story focused on the clear message of the Romney campaign’s ad, that jobs in the United States were being moved to China, or perhaps that Jeep was moving its entire operations to China,” Politifact told the Standard’s Mark Hemingway. “That is not the case and has never been the case.”

The clear message is contained within the ad’s words, that Chrysler was “going to build Jeeps in China” and nothing else. The ad didn’t say that jobs or production of any or all of the Jeep model line was moving to China. It’s dishonest for Politifact to read more into the ad than was there.

“The Romney campaign was crafty with its word choice,” Politifact said, “so campaign aides could claim to be speaking the literal truth, but the ad left a false impression that all Jeep production was being moved to China.”

The upshot is that although Politifact concedes that the Romney ad spoke the “literal truth,” it still refuses to remove its “Lie of the Year” designation.

On Friday, Politifact tweeted:

twitter-logo“Yes, it’s still the Lie of the Year. News reports on Jeep don’t change the deception: bit.ly/SWUxdc”

Deception? Politifact admitted to The Weekly Standard that the Romney team spoke “the literal truth,” and then tweets that the literal truth is deception. This is outrageous and shows more than anything where Politifact’s sympathies lie.

The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher agrees. In response to Politifact’s tweet that “news reports of Jeep don’t change a thing,” he replied:

“Yes, actually, they do. You are liars. MT @politifact Yes, it’s still the Lie of the Year. News reports on Jeep don’t change the deception”

Treacher followed that tweet up with:

“You need to understand this, @politifact: You are liars. And we know you are liars. Your PolitiFacts are not, in fact, facts. Nice try.”

Then this:

“Hey, you know how @politifact say they’re ‘nonpartisan’? Yeah, that’s bulls**t. Their whole operation is bulls**t. And they know it.”

In the age of information overload, fact-checkers provide a valuable service. The problem is, who do we have to check the fact-checkers?

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