Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” is true after all

Politifact is one of many “fact-checkers”  that were prominent in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. Shortly before election day Politifact ruled that a Romney ad was “pants on fire” false when it claimed that

Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.

At the end of the year Politifact labeled this ad as the “lie of the year” which was “obviously false”. But it turns out that the claim in the Romney ad is true after all:

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.

Exactly as claimed, the Italian owner (Fiat) of Chrysler is going to be building Jeeps in China — so the ad’s claim wasn’t even a lie, much less the “lie of the year”.

While “fact-checkers” would like us to think they are unbiased sources of the facts, the truth is that the people who “fact-check” are just as politically biased as everyone else. The fact that Politifact incorrectly ruled that a true claim was actually a lie — and in fact called it the “lie of the year” — calls into serious question the usefulness of “fact-checkers” and their ability to actually distinguish truth from falsehood.

(For a more detailed explanation of what happened, see The Weekly Standard.)

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