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?

Related or recent posts:
Romney was right: Chrysler will build Jeeps in China

Holder’s desperate moves to keep Fast and Furious docs

Mass shootings a product of ‘white privilege’?

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About Michael Dorstewitz

Mike has been with BizPac Review almost from the beginning. Email Mike at michael@bizpacreview and follow him on Twitter at @MikeBPR.

  • Big Dem

    "The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses." Vladimir Lenin

    I see Politifact remains true to its hero's admonishment. For them, truth is secondary to the ideology to be promoted.

  • Brian

    I saw some talking head douche from Politifact (horrible misnomer) huffing and puffing on C-SPAN a few days ago. They should call the organization Politifucked, for their lack of regard for the truth.

  • phil

    Were this the only example of liars swaddled in banners proclaiming "truth", I would care less. Unfortunately the fourth-estate, our constitutionally underpinned free-press, has abandoned truth for funding and sponsorship. I don't know who to believe. So, I read the Economist … in my opinion, one of the last nearly-unbiased weekly news journals still in print. In parallel, our elected officials, including POTUS, have no conflict of ethics or character and lie without shame.

  • http://sacredbabynames.com Kjirstin

    Amen, Phil.

  • The Truth

    I think I'm gonna start a business called The Truth and just make shit up. Appearantly thats OK in this country

  • The real truth

    To set the record straight. I get so tired of the lies. This story is not accurate. Romney was saying the jeeps plant here was moving to China and they were shutting this one down. the CEO from Chrysler said it wasnt that there was going to be a jeep factory in China but it was only going to be the jeeps sold in China. http://m.nbcnews.com/business/chrysler-ceo-calls-… .. Read the past articles and see for yourself.

  • david

    Lets face it. The journalists are pumped out by the dozens from colleges that teach them liberal and communistic philosophies. These "journalists" then get hired by a paper or "news" outlet only to turn around and spout all the crap they learned in college. It's just another example of how certain institutions are being absorbed by political groups in America. Maybe a requirement for being a true journalist should be that you can have no party affiliation and not vote in any election. Or that you must do a puff piece on a political candidate that is chosen randomly.

    Rush Limbaugh is not a journalist, but if I didn't know that , I would have thought he was from the way he is talked about on the various news shows. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that the liberal news outlets are worried that someone like Limbaugh is getting more coverage than they are in the propaganda area.

    To sum it up: News organizations are becoming just propaganda for whatever side they happen to be aligned with (Democrats), and true journalism has faded from existence. Online news from sources like Drudgereport are probably going to be the only alternative to print and tv news.

  • John

    If you actually read the PolitiFact "Lie of the Year" article, the lie is not solely based on the ad. The ad was a follow up of the real lie. Romney went to Ohio and told those people that "I heard that Jeep is thinking of moving ALL production to China."

    Then he followed up with the ad that fed off the lie that he repeated to scare the people of Ohio that depend on auto manufacturing

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2….