PolitiFact Lie of the Year: Romney’s Ad on Jeeps Made in China

The fake outrage bubbled up from wingnut blogs and Drudge Report, all the way to the GOP’s presidential candidate
Politics • Views: 25,938

Politifact’s Lie of the Year contest had a lot of contenders this year, and many of them were uttered by Mendacious Mitt Romney — including the winner: Lie of the Year: The Romney Campaign’s Ad on Jeeps Made in China.

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.

People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.

PolitiFact has selected Romney’s claim that Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs as the 2012 Lie of the Year.

I would have chosen the Romney campaign’s lie about the President’s “you didn’t build that” statement, because by omitting all the words before and after that deceptive catchphrase they actually convinced a lot of people that Obama was bashing small business owners — when in reality he was praising the American system that enables small business owners to succeed. That Big Lie was much more effective as propaganda than the “Jeeps in China” howler, which was thoroughly debunked almost immediately.

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Last updated: 2015-09-11 10:11 am PDT

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