Saturday, September 01, 2012

JustOneMinute: Checking The Fact Checkers


Calling yourself a fact checker doesn't necessarily make you one.

Let's cut to Dylan Mathews, posting at Ezra Klein's blog:

A GM plant in Ryan’s district shut down on Obama’s watch – From Ryan’s speech:
My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”  That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.
The plant shut down in June 2008, when George W. Bush is president. Ryan says it had not yet shut down Obama was elected, that Janesville was “about to” lose the factory at the time of the election. This is false, as Ryan knew in 2008 when he issued a statement bemoaning the plant’s closing.

So, what did Ryan actually say? He claimed, and Kessler confirms [or see Captain Ed for more], that Obama promised in Feb 2008 that a sympathetic government could save the plant. As of this writing, that promise has not been kept, even though the Obama-led goverment became the majority owner of GM after Obama's ascension in January 2009.

Presumably the economics did not work out, and the recovery has surely been weaker than expected (which was Ryan's point.) Still, nothing Ryan said is false - Obama promised to save a plant that had been in trouble for years, had the power to do so after his election, yet didn't.

Dylan Matthews didn't even mange to get the timeline right. Glenn Kessler almost nailed the timing (the bulk of the jobs were gone by Dec 2008) but doesn't seem to grasp that closed plants can be re-opened. That is some fine job being done among the self-styled "reality-based" community.

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