Mitt’s-shameless-mendacity Dep’t

Romney ad: Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”

The Romney campaign has a new spot up in Ohio accusing Obama of having “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” David Shepardson of the Detroit News demonstrates how a real, objective reporter treats a false statement by a candidate for office.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

18 thoughts on “Mitt’s-shameless-mendacity Dep’t”

  1. Sorry, Mark, you’re flat wrong. The Detroit News story shows how to propagate a candidate’s lies while engaging in some mealymouthed covering of your butt.

    Look at the story again:
    The headline: reports Romney that Romney has made an accusation in an ad. Indeed, summarizes it for Romney in a pithy fashion.
    First thing in the story: a panel for a streaming video of Romney’s ad, queued up for you to drink it in.
    Second thing in the story: a caption for the streaming video, saying neutrally that it’s Romney’s first ad about the auto industry (it can’t be, can it?)
    Next: the first two paragraphs of the story repeat Romney’s charge verbatim (with attribution), with no analysis.
    You have to get to the fourth paragraph of the story even to see criticism of Romney’s past lies about this story – and then it says that this current ad doesn’t have the same problem. You don’t get serious criticism of Romney until the tenth paragraph – and then, it’s all in the form of quotes from Obama campaign representatives.

    This was a news story tailor-made to reinforce the lies that it halfheartedly and eventually gets around to debunking.

    1. I *think* Mark was being a wee bit sarcastic, but the details you address are all correct. Also: oy.

      1. I think I’m too wound up re the election, and especially the issue of Mitt’s constant and apparently consequence-free mendacity, to reliably detect sarcasm.

        1. No, I wasn’t being sarcastic (this once). Perhaps I was wrong (this once). But to my eye all that was left of Romney after end of the story was a little spot of grease on the floor.

          Of course, that’s what I thought about the third debate, too.

          1. OK, my sarcasm detector is on the fritz. I looked at the article in good faith, hoping that it would do a good job, but while they eventually dig down to arguments against the ad, they are presented as responses from the Obama campaign, rather than a set of facts unearthed by the reporter, and the headline / opening of the story will not alert the casual reader to the lie, and a lot of readers may bail early. The inverted pyramid is used in news reporting for a reason.

    2. Not to mince words, but you’re off your rocker, Terra. The ad is very clearly misleading on a number of fronts. It’s true that the ad does not come right out and say “Jeep will send Ohio jobs to China”, but it clearly implies it. But there are outright lies too. The way the text is structured, it states that Obama took Chrysler into bankruptcy — not that the administration managed the process to rescue the company, but, essentially, that the administration caused the problem in the first place. There is absolutely no doubt what the ad represents and what Romney people are trying to do here. The “credit” that the report gives them for not lying outright is so superficial, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. Then, if you recall that Detroit News is a conservative rag, you will realize that this was not meant to be an example of objectivity at all.

      1. I’m confused. In what way did I defend the ad, or say it’s got a word of truth to it? Quite the opposite – I criticized a news story that reported on the existence of the ad in such a way as to reinforce and propagate its message, when the news story should have had as its headline and its main theme an aggressive denunciation of the ad for the crock of lies it is.

        1. We seem to be going back to the confusion over whether Mark was earnest when posting that link or he was just pulling your leg. I expect the latter, you were responding to the former.

          Sorry about that. On third and fourth reading, I seem to agree with you more than disagree… other than picking up the sarcasm of the original post.

  2. Like all those MSM stories examining the President’s claim that Planned Parenthood performs mammograms, or that Congressional Republicans proposed the sequester, or the President’s claim to have a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion in ten years or . . . etc. There are no honest candidates in this campaign.

    1. Wait…you mean my friends who say they have had female health exams (including mammograms) at PP were LYING???

      1. Jonathan,

        Romney is outright lying. Not fudging, not exaggerating. Lying, plain and simple. If you’re ready to admit that, and further admit that this kind of baldfaced dishonesty is at the core of Romney’s campaign, I’ll listen to what you have to say. But until you stop manufacturing tu quoque crap and admit that, I’m not interested.

        You’re happy to associate yourself with the scumbag NRO operation. You know – Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s autobiography, and so on. You’re happy to help empower the Republican lunatics who are a huge threat to the future of the country. You say you accept the reality of climate change – but you’re happy to play on the denialists’ team. You’re happy to support Romney despite the fact that he’s a likely tax evader, that his proposed policies are senseless and incoherent, that his running mate is a con man who would be laughed out of any serious discussion of the budget and who wants to set up a tax-free aristocracy. Well, I’m tired of guys like you. I don’t know why you buy into the disaster that is GOP “thinking” but you do, despite being smart enough to know better. Romney might appoint a judge who smiles at you? Is that it? BFD.

    2. By the way, as to your claims about the sequester, none of that would have been needed had House Republicans – the guys you love so much – not made a big issue out of raising the debt limit – a completely idiotic issue.

    3. You’d have a tad more credibility, Jonathan, if you ever actually objected to your team’s dishonesty, as opposed to just yelling “Squirrel!” and pointing to some trivial misstatement by a Democrat. Planned Parenthood clinics don’t own mammography equipment. They perform manual breast exams, provide referrals for mammography, help patients find financial aid to get mammograms, and host visits from free mammography vans. That seems to me plenty close enough. It’s nothing like Romney’s crashing lie that he wants to protect American car-industry jobs from a non-existent threat that “Italians” hired by Obama will ship them to China.

      Here’s the test: if Obama had said, precisely, “breast examinations” or “breast cancer screening” instead of, imprecisely, “mammograms,” would the logical or rhetorical force of his statement have been impaired? Not at all. While if Romney had told the truth – that, post-bailout, Chrysler sees such a market opportunity in China that it contemplates assembling cars there – his ad would have lost all of its impact. It was all a lie, from beginning to end.

      Now, a simple question, if I might: Do you have any moral qualms about supporting a candidate who repeatedly and shamelessly lies to the voters, to a degree perhaps unmatched in American campaign history? And if not, why not?

    4. Jonathan,

      In other words, hey, PP doesn’t actually have expensive machines, so outright lies intended to shut them down are no different than a random misstatement, so I will vote to kill healthcare and cut taxes again.

      Please come back with your “both sides do it” when the party you support is better at, say, women’s health. You don’t need to be pro-choice to support Planned Parenthood, any more than you need to be anti-birth control and Catholic. But I really don’t see how you can be Republican and believe in the notion of women’s autonomy.

  3. I clicked and wondered why the article quoted campaigns quoting The Detroit News so much. Only after reading did I understand the article is in The Tetroit News. It is very good reporting facts which are highly inconvenient to a campaign and not retreating to he said/she said. However, I am never satisfied. I have a problem with “the $85 billion auto bailout” which could be miss-interpreted to mean the bailout cost the Treasury $85 billion, that it was a gift not loans and purchases of newly issued stock. It would have taken a good bit of ink, and distracted from the point of the article to explain that $ 85 billion were committed and at risk but the final cost of the bailout is less, not known yet, and predicted to be approximately $ Iforgothowmany billion. but just leaving out the $ 85 billion would have been fine. I think the article would have been even better without it.

    Sometimes just not mentioning a topic is better than mentioning it without explanation.

  4. Romney, with his Jeep jobs story, is crystal clearly, manifestly trying to scam Ohio (and Michigan) voters into believing that their Chrysler-Jeep jobs are going to be shipped away to China. Not true. False. Deeply false. Jeep is rapidly expanding its American job force.

    NOW! If top and near-the-top auto execs at GM and Chrysler have SOME courage and ANY integrity, they’ll step forward to protect democracy by telling the people of Ohio and Michigan, in forceful, clear words, that Mitt Romney is bald-faced lying to voters’ with his ‘losing Jeep jobs to China’ scam. And that if we’d followed Mitt Romney’s advice, the auto industry in Ohio and Michigan would almost surely have died. If these execs don’t step up effectively with the truth, then they should be shamed and perhaps encouraged out of American business leadership for allowing such a rotten scam to corrupt the American democratic process.

  5. And if the auto execs do step up with the truth about Mitt Romney, we should reward them by buying American cars!! (Full disclosure: I’m from Detroit!)

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