The Times is desperate to portray as false a new Romney ad running in Ohio accusing a bailed-out Chrysler of moving production to China. From characterizing the ad as “misleading” in the first paragraph, the article goes on to matter-of-factly accuse Romney of “including statements that stretch or ignore the facts”; claim that he “incorrectly said outright . . . that Jeep was considering moving its production to China”; presume that a Bloomberg article on Jeep’s thinking “had been misread by several conservative blogs” because of a “poorly worded quotation from Chrysler in a news article that was misinterpreted by blogs”; dredge up Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” headline from four years ago; and gleefully sniff, “Democrats are hoping that Mr. Romney’s latest move will draw a backlash” in Ohio.
Only one problem: Romney is right. The Times (and Chrysler, in a strident statement issued for the article) doth protest too much. In the nineteenth paragraph (out of 21), the article bothers to quote a Romney spokesman that every Jeep, including those sold in China, is currently produced in the U.S., whereas Jeep is now planning to produce Jeeps for the Chinese market in China. So it is shifting investment from the U.S. to China. Neither the Times, the Obama campaign, nor Chrysler refuted this basic fact. The article acknowledges that the ad’s wording was careful, so it seems to us that nothing in the ad was untrue and the spirit of it was quite correct. (We are leaving aside for the purpose of this post a criticism of the odious protectionist, anti-business pandering of which both sides are guilty when it comes to this issue. We deplore it, and praise the spirit of Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” thinking.)
The Obama water-carrying that this article represents is extreme even by Times standards. By the way, the article is in the news section on page A1, not an editorial. At least it didn’t run the story as a “fact check.”