Monday, October 29, 2012

Romney’s New Auto Ad

The Romney campaign, which announced over the summer that it “wouldn’t be dictated by fact checkers,” is staying true to that promise with a misleading new ad on the auto industry.

“Fact checkers confirm” that President Obama’s “attacks on Mitt Romney are false,” the ad states. “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China,” it continues. “Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.”

There’s rich irony here. The campaign that doesn’t care about fact checkers invokes fact checkers, and then disregards the facts.

It’s odd for Mr. Romney to complain that Mr. Obama “took” the automakers into bankruptcy, since he advocated a managed bankruptcy for those companies four years ago. It’s also odd for Mr. Romney to claim that he’ll fight for every American job, since he got rich, in part, by investing in companies that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to low-wage countries. And it’s preposterous for him to suggest that Chrysler is moving American jobs to China.

As Gualberto Ranieri of Chrysler explained in a blog post, “Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market.” The company is keeping its domestic workforce even as it expands overseas.

Beyond the basic false narrative–papering over the reality that Mr. Obama’s policies saved the American auto industry–the ad stirs up xenophobia. It’s intended to make viewers resent foreigners (the Chinese and the Italians who are taking our jobs), associate the president with that feeling and then go vote for Mitt Romney because he’s more American. The worst thing about it is that it’s not really all that shocking anymore in a political system that thrives on negative energy, half truths and outright lies.

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