PolitiFact's 'Lie of the Year' Turns Out to Be True
Politifact is one of the liberal "fact checkers" that calls itself non-partisan. Last month, PolitiFact selected its "Lie of the Year." Given PolitiFact's dubious record of singling out Republicans for lying far more often than Democrats, you probably could have guessed the winner of this particular sweepstakes was a Mitt Romney campaign ad:
"It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign -- that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep's parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad."
"And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false."
'[Mitt Romney] Says Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China" at the cost of American jobs.'
Now here's what the Reuters reported earlier this week:
Fiat (FIA.MI) and its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to roll out at least 100,000 Jeeps in China when production starts in 2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals in the world's biggest car market. ...
"We expect production of around 100,000 Jeeps per year which is expandable to 200,000," [Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, said on the sidelines of a conference, adding production could start in 18 months.
So, yes, it's confirmed that Jeep will be producing cars in China. According to the Toledo Blade last November:
"Currently, Jeeps sell in more than 120 countries around the world, including China. They're nearly all built in factories in the United States."
And if you dig deep into the PolitiFact ruling, that's their essential objection to Mitt Romney's ad: It implies that it would be better for Jeep to create more jobs in the U.S. in the short-term, instead of expanding overseas production.
"The production of cars in China is a sign of Chrysler's growing strength in overseas markets. It would like to build Jeeps in China to sell in China. It is not outsourcing American auto jobs."
Further, PolitiFact criticized the Romney ad for something it didn't say. Romney's ad never said Jeep was "outsourcing" existing jobs. Again, a fair reading of the ad would be that it implied that Jeep was choosing to create new jobs overseas rather than in the U.S. And if we're going to get technical, what PolitiFact reported about Jeep wasn't accurate. Here's PolitiFact quoting a Chrysler spokesman in their "Lie of the Year" ruling:
"Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China," Ranieri wrote, adding, "A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments."
But that turns out not to be entirely true! As the Detroit News reported earlier this week:
'[Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne said he will keep "the pillar cars of the Jeep (brand) in the United States. Wrangler is one. The Grand Cherokee is another. These are things that need to be protected because they represent the best and the essence of Jeep. If you tell me I cannot make a Patriot somewhere else, I might as well go out of the market."'
To recap, Jeep Patriots that were heretofore exclusively produced in America and sold overseas are now going to be MADE and SOLD overseas. So there is one Jeep model that is in fact shifting production "out of North America to China," contrary to what Jeep's spokesman asserted at the time.