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July 02, 2012

Washington Post: When We Said "Romney's Bain Capital" Outsourced Jobs, We Never Intended To Imply Romney Was Running It At The Time

Some background on this fighting between Romney and the Washington Post on outsourcing:

The Washington Post's own fact-checker examined Obama's charge that Romney was involved in outsourcing, and found it misleading enough to rate Four Pinnochios. There simply wasn't any evidence Romney sent jobs overseas. And the ad was deliberately misleading when it attempted to cast jobs outsourced to other companies within the US, using American employees as jobs outsourced to other countries.

But then a front-page article ran in the Post, giving Obama the headline he wanted, even though it was contrived just for that purpose.

See, before we were discussing whether Romney outsourced jobs overseas from the firms he took over. Well, he didn't, I guess. So the Washington Post tries a new tact -- did he invest in companies that assisted other companies with their outsourcing needs?

And thus the headline runs:

Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas

That's written to make it sound like it is affirming Obama's charge -- but in fact the companies that Bain invested in were not outsourcing their own employees. They were helping other companies outsource parts of their business.

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Note that the article's attempt to mislead people into thinking Bain was taking American jobs and shipping them overseas worked. The article is deliberately written, and especially headlined, so that a casual reader draws just that conclusion.

Even a news organization, like CNN, which really should be more than a casual reader gets it wrong, just as the Washington Post had intended:

report first published more than a week ago detailing Bain Capital's record of sending jobs overseas continued to roil on the campaign trail Monday, as President Barack Obama's team contested a fact-check that called into question their attacks on rival Mitt Romney, who headed Bain for more than a decade.

The original article, published in the Washington Post on June 22, said that Bain Capital, a firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and left in 1999, had invested in multiple companies that "specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India."

Again, we're actually not talking about Romney taking over a company and sending jobs overseas. We're talking about a couple of companies that already existed, which Bain invested in, which provided a business-to-business service for other companies, to outsource some of their business. And "outsource" can mean "outsource to another company in America," by the way, though they're hoping you think "outsource" means "Mexico and India."

Now Romney lobbied to get the Washington Post to retract this Obama-coordinated article. For one thing, he notes that "outsource" is different than "off-shore." For another thing, he says he wasn't even running Bain when they invested in these companies.

The Washington Post conspired with the Obama campaign to provide a headline which was misleading enough that Obama could use it in his campaign ads making a different claim (that Romney raided companies, then sent off American jobs to foreign countries). It refused to retract.

Now the Washington Post's fact-checker, who caused all these problems by telling the truth, has to cover for his own employer's partisanship, and also pretend there is no dispute between himself and the newspaper on this point.

And here he gets dishonest, because he claims:

The actual [Washington Post article in question] article, in fact, does not say that transfers of U.S. jobs took place while Romney ran the private equity firm of Bain Capital. …

The Obama campaign moved quickly to define what the article said, claiming that this transfer of jobs took place while Romney ran Bain. That’s not what the original article said.

The article does not say transfers of U.S. jobs took place while Romney ran the private equity firm of Bain Capital? Maybe not, but it sure implied the shit out of it in the headline:

Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas

Why is "Romney's" in that headline if they didn't mean to suggest that Romney ran the firm at that time?

He's also wrong to say the Obama campaign quickly moved to re-define that headline to suit its own purposes.

No. I believe this was done deliberately, to provide Obama with exactly that cover. So the Washington Post can say "Gee, they took our headline and used it to mean something else."

That headline was written for the precise purpose of being used to mean something else.

I think Nolte's quite right-- the Washington Post is coordinating with team Obama, negotiating what their headlines could/should say, to help him.

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posted by Ace at 02:23 PM

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