PolitiFact, the Tampa Bay Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking project, has named its Lie of the Year for 2012. The winner/loser? The Mitt Romney campaign's eleventh-hour attack ad in Ohio claiming that President Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China."
Here' PolitiFact with the falsehood's origin:
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.
Romney would go on to lose the all-important Buckeye State by 3 points.*
Here's the ad:
While PolitiFact's staff deemed the campaign spot worthy of the no. 1 slot, the outlet's readers viewed it as only the third-biggest lie of a list of ten they had to choose from. Here were the top seven results from the reader survey:
This is the fourth year that the fact-checking group has named a Lie of the Year. This is the first time that the selection doesn't have anything to do with health care. The first selection, in 2009, was the claim that Obamacare included "death panels"; in 2010 it was that the president's landmark initiative amounted to a government takeover of heath care; and last year's winner was that Republicans had voted to end Medicare. That last selection, however, wasn't received so well, as Slate's Dave Weigel explained this time last year:
PolitiFact claims that it's a "lie" to say that the Path to Prosperity ends Medicare. ActualFacts tell us that this is not a lie.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post briefly misstated Obama's margin of victory in Ohio. The president won by 3 points, not 2.
This post, originally posted at 10:34 a.m., was updated at 10:38 a.m. to include additional info about the 2011 selection.