Thursday, November 1, 2012

counterirritant: "Jeepers"

We haven't heard from PolitiFact critic "counterirritant" in a while, but unlike the Great Pumpkin, he did to show up for Halloween and offered us a treat. He takes aim at PolitiFact's campaign ad for Obama fact check regarding Mitt Romney's claim about Chrysler production in China:

He writes:
PolitiFact concludes that the ad is erroneous because it “leaves the clear impression that Jeeps built in China come at the expense of American workers.” [Washington Posts Glenn] Kessler reaches a similar conclusion saying that “the unspoken message is that American jobs are being sent to China, even though the ad carefully tiptoes around that claim.”

It seems pretty simple doesn’t it? The Romney ad claims that American workers will lose their jobs when Jeep production moves to China. Chrysler implies otherwise. Therefore,one can conclude the ad is false — at least if one is a non-fact-checking “fact checker.” An actual fact checkers [sic] might see the disagreement between Romney and Chrysler views to—I don’t know–perhaps, check the facts?

There is a legitimate dispute regarding the facts of Romney's claim. But don't expect PolitiFact to sort out the truth of that. Rather, PolitiFact determined the "clear impression" of Romney's words and used Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's (impartial?) claim to refute him. That's not fact checking.

Counterirritant gives readers his take:

The Jeeps currently sold in China are produced in the U.S.
...

For those slow on the uptake: Jeep vehicles that will be produced in China by Chinese workers are currently produced in the U.S by U.S. workers.

It's not entirely clear (or even a verifiable fact) that increased production of Jeeps in China will mean American workers will lose their jobs. However, Forbes automotive contributor Dale Buss points out that it's an entirely moot point with regard to Romney's statement:

Romney did not claim that Chrysler was “outsourcing” existing Jeep jobs to China but only that Chrysler is going to “build Jeeps in China.” And that is true.
...

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in an e-mail to workers this week that Jeep assembly lines in the United States “will constitute the backbone of the brand.” But again: Romney never disputed that.
Buss also points out that "...Ohio and Michigan Jeep workers...jobs seem pretty secure right now."

Whatever the facts, the bottom line is PolitiFact failed to illuminate them. Contrary to uncovering facts, this rating is either an amateurish investigation or an intentional dodge of the truth. Regardless of intent, PolitiFact assists the Obama campaign by neglecting to dig into the story and accepting Marchionne's words at face value. PolitiFact wanders closer to a role as a campaign spinmeister with each passing day.

As always, counterirritant is well worth the read. Do yourself a favor and read his short post.

For more on the Chrysler/Romney claim, check out Bryan's analysis over at his new project: Zebra Fact Check.


Afters:

It doesn't take much to spot PolitiFact's reverence for Obama in the opening line of the article:

With Ohio’s 18 electoral votes very much in play, the Mitt Romney campaign aims to blunt one of Barack Obama’s key advantages in that state -- his rescue of the auto industry.

There you have it. An objective, non-partisan fact checking group confirming the undisputed fact that Barack Obama, single-handedly rescued the auto industry. 

1 comment:

  1. Most American cars manufactured in China does not really go on sale in China. Most of them are catered on the Asia-Pacific markets like Australia where I saw Jeeps and Hummers in the monthly brisbane vehicle auctions.

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