You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a fact checker these days. There are several widely used fact-checking sites in the US and we often see in-person and online debates punctuated with lines like “PolitiFact rated that as a big fat lie!” The problem with these sites is that, on the whole, they are opinion journalists masquerading as authoritative sources. To be sure, sites like Snopes.com have a long history of giving reliable information related to rumors and urban myths. But for Snopes, politics is a minor element of what it covers. For sites dedicated primarily to covering politics, there is neither a long or reliable history.
It’s quite possible that efforts like this are the mainstream media’s attempt to restore some of the lost authority and relevance they once had in the country. To be sure, public confidence in mainstream media reporting continues to drop year-by-year. What the media does not seem to get is the fact that, as the MSM has moved left, the American public moves away. The liberal response to this is to blame conservative radio and Fox news for “deception” and to call on the federal government to increase regulation in hopes of making them go away.
This is one of the things you have to understand about hard-left liberals. They give lip service to the First Amendment while speaking openly of repealing the Second Amendment. The truth is, they hate both in nearly equal measure. To many of these elitist liberals it’s “free speech and guns for me, not for thee.” It’s an ethic which is perfectly reflected in the recent controversy over the Rockland County Times’ decision to publish the names and addresses of lawful gun owners in the area. They dd this, they say, to let neighbors know who it is that might be a danger in their area. But, after receiving what they believed were threats, what did they do? Why, they hired armed guards to protect their office of course. Please note, they did not then add their office to the gun owners list.
But the 2012 “fact check” loser of the year appears to be PolitiFact.com. As The Weekly Standard points out, their recently announced “Lie of The Year” for 2012 turns out to be true. PolitiFact accused Mitt Romney of lying about Chrysler’s intention to move jeep production overseas. Here is what they reported:
[Romney] Says Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs.
Here is what the Weekly Standard reported yesterday:
To recap, Jeep Patriots—oh irony, you capricious sprite!—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.
Now, shifting production out of North America to China is not necessarily a bad thing if you believe in a global marketplace. But that’s not what is being debated here. Romney heard a rumor that Chrysler was planning to shift some jeep production overseas. At first he claimed “all” production, but later clarified it to say he meant only “some.” It’s easy to make mistakes during campaign speeches as our current Vice President will tell you.
But the core point made by Romney is TRUE, not false. And yet, PolitiFact rated this as they “Lie of The Year.” Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to sell waterfront property in New Jersey.