Sunday, January 15, 2012

Washington Post Factor Checker Officially Joins the Romney Campaign –

Old Role of Fact Checker, Objective Reporting – New Role, Defend Mr. Romney and Attack Democrats

It has been well documented on these pages how the once greater independent newspaper known as the Washington Post has subverted that independence in favor of electing Mitt Romney to be the President.  The Post has hired and given prominence to rabid pro-Romney supporters and rabid anti-Obama columnists.  Their Fact Checker has apparently been issued orders to support Mr. Romney and attack the Democrats.

The current rage of the Fact Checker in the WaPo is directed at a video that attacks Mr. Romney’s role in leading the private equity group of Bain Capital.  Mr. Romney headed a company that took over other companies using massive amounts of debt, debt that became the burden of the taken over company, not Mr. Romney. 

The critique of the video, which earned four Pinocchio’s from the Fact Checker centers around what appear to be well documented distortions in the video.  Obviously the Fact Checker and the staff spent a huge amount of time researching the issue, and many of their points appear valid.  But many are just plain borrowed from the Romney campaign book.

For example, the Fact Checker argues

The segment tries to tie Romney to Wall Street games-playing by focusing on allegations that Lehman Brothers pumped up the stock of DDi, allowing Bain Capital to sell its shares for big gains, even while an Lehman analyst had misgivings about the Orange County electronics maker. 

 According to an Aug. 26, 2003, account in the Orange County Register, which the film cites as a source, Bain Capital under Romney’s leadership invested $46 million in DDi in 1997. It sold many of its shares for at least $93 million and received a $10 million management fee, but the newspaper said Bain retained a 14 percent stake in the firm that was wiped out when DDi filed for bankruptcy during the dot-com bust. (The film suggests Bain had sold all of its shares, saying it had “dumped the rest.”)

 Lehman Brothers in 2003 paid $80 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that its bankers had tainted stock recommendations in five instances, including recommendations for DDi. But the SEC did not say that Bain had done anything wrong. Romney, who again was by then involved in the Olympics, also invested some of his own money in DDi and sold it before the stock crashed, the Boston Globe reported in 2003.

 The film, while focusing on the 2,200 jobs that were lost during the technology bust, does not mention that DDi emerged from bankruptcy proceedings and is currently thriving.

So let’s see what is really going on here.  The facts are that Bain Capital invested $46 million and got back $93 million plus a $10 million management fee for a company that went bankrupt (gosh, wonder what they would have gotten if they had actually provided good management!).  And does anyone think that Bain and Lehman were not in the fraudulent stock activity together?  But notice the core of the argument, that after Bain got out of the picture the company prospered from leaving Chapter 11, and somehow this is a defense Romney and Bain Capital!!!

The omission of the fact that DDI thrives after ridding itself of Bain and Romney is something the Fact Checker cites as a negative on the truth of the video, something the video should have mentioned.  But it is in fact an omission that makes the case weaker rather than stronger against Mr. Romney.  But the Fact Checker, in his quest to join the Post supporters of Romney is incapable of understanding that, or if he does, of acknowledging it.

In fact, in his zeal to support Mr. Romney and his candidacy the Fact Checker contradicts his earlier statements made condemning Mr. Romney for claiming the creation of 100,000 jobs, something the campaign continues to do.

the Romney campaign needs to provide a real accounting of how many jobs were gained or lost through Bain Capital investments while the firm managed these companies — and while Romney was chief executive. Any jobs counted after either of those data points simply do not pass the laugh test. (emphasis added)

So the Fact Checker used to believe that including what happened after Mr. Romney left does not pass the “laugh test” but now says not including what happened after Mr. Romney left is a serious distortion of the facts.  So the Fact Checker himself gets four Pinocchio’s and we all get a good laugh at him. (And yes, Mr. Romney has a new ad out touting his success at Bain Capital, let's see how fast the Fact Checker rushes to check that ad, if he bothers to check it at all).

The truth of the matter, in case anyone is interested is this.

  1. Bain Capital under Mr. Romney made hundreds of millions by borrowing money and buying companies and saddling those companies with huge debts.

  1. In some cases the companies survived and in some cases they thrived.

  1. In some cases the debt was crushing, resulting in the failure of the companies and thousands of lost jobs.  Even when that happened Mr. Romney and his cohorts still made millions.  They did not suffer from business failure, only the lenders and employees suffered.

  1. Mr. Romney claims credit for jobs that were created after he left; he and his sycophants like the WaPo Fact Checker think that is okay, but it is not okay to blame Mr. Romney for the problems and job losses that occurred after he left.

And finally, the biggest truth of all.  The Bain Capital experience is irrelevant.  Unless Mr. Romney plans to using the Federal Government to make leveraged buyouts of companies, what Mr. Romney did in the private sector in no ways reflects on his ability to manage government, use government policy to create jobs or to be qualified to be President.  This is the same as his supposed rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics, it is just not relevant.

But if Mr. Romney wants to try and make it relevant, then his opponents have the right and duty to call him out on it.  That’s something a real Fact Checker would understand.

1 comment:

  1. Paul Krugman had an interesting take on Romney and his supposed business expertise: