There has been no shortage of deceptive ads, factually-distorted statements, and outright fabrications from the political left over the campaign year to choose from, but leave it to the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact to give its "Lie of the Year" award to the Romney campaign. The now infamous "falsehood" in question was Romney's claim that Jeep was planning on moving production of some of its vehicles to China. This was in fact technically true, but PolitiFact trademarked it as its "Lie of the Year."
In a fit of glee, multiple left-leaning news outlets have promoted the proclamation, including of course, MSNBC. [video below, MP3 audio here ]:
Al Sharpton ended his show Politics Nation on Wednesday with a hypocritical and ironic plea for more political honesty in the future.
It was a rough year for the truth out on the campaign trail. And we called out many of the, um, untruths. But, now, PolitiFact has named the top lie of the year. Drum roll, please. And the political lie of the year is, the Romney campaign ad that said President Obama`s policies meant Jeeps were now being made in China. They called it brazenly false. Let`s play it one more time. I`m feeling nostalgic. [...] That, of course, gets four Pinocchio from the Washington Post. PolitiFact gave it a Pants on Fire. We will be sending some Costco shirts as a prize. We`re having some fun here. But let`s hope we can play the game inside the lines from now on. We can all have our different opinions, but we can`t have different facts. The truth is the truth. Is the truth.
An hour earlier, Hardball host Chris Matthews talked with Time magazine's senior correspondent Michael Crowley and Politico's Jonathan Allen to discuss why the ad may have caused Romney to lose the election, then he proceeded to compare the supposed backlash it caused to the way the public reacted to Republicans alleged attempts at voter suppression. "I think it`s one of those things like voter suppression, it worked the other -- whiplash against it," Matthews concluded.
The controversial claim in the campaign ad stemmed from comments made by a top executive of the Italian automaker Fiat, who is now the majority owner of the bailout beneficiary Chrysler company that owns the Jeep brand. The ad simply and factually stated:
Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.
While on the stump in Ohio a few weeks before the election, Romney did exaggerate a bit when he said "all" production was moving to China. According to a Bloomberg report however, Mike Manley of Fiat admitted there were plans in the future to return some production to the Asian market in order to increase output and sales. The question of whether they would move all production back there at some point was left open-ended. The campaign ad simply disseminated this information, and the scathing reviews followed.
There were countless displays of shameless pandering and fallacious statements throughout the year that could've been chosen by PolitiFact. For example, Obama's Super PAC Priorities USA ran an ad where a man accused Romney of being responsible for his wife's death after he lost his job at a Bain Capital-controlled company. What about Obama campaign operative Stephanie Cutter or DNC chairwoman Debbie Wassermann-Schultz? Both of whom were both caught lying throughout the campaign season.
But in light of PolitiFact's political skew, this isn't that surprising. As my colleague Matt Hadro has noted in the past, the fact-checking site has a habit of taking factually accurate conservative-themed campaign ads and labeling them as false. Here are just some recent examples:
PolitiFact Rates Another Accurate GOP Claim 'Mostly False' on CNN
PolitiFact Whiffs Again, Rates Accurate Romney Claim 'Half True'
CNN Uses Bogus PolitiFact Rating to Discredit Romney Campaign Claim
(H/T- Twitchy Media)