For the past several days, much of the Obama-loving media have been gushing and fawning over an anti-Mitt Romney video created by a pro-Newt Gingrich PAC.
Count the Washington Post out of the list of gooey sycophants on this one as the paper's Glenn Kessler on Friday actually gave "King of Bain" four Pinocchios:
The 29-minute video “King of Bain” is such an over-the-top assault on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney that it is hard to know where to begin. [...]
First of all, it is a stretch to portray Romney as some sort of corporate raider, akin to Carl Icahn (whose image is briefly seen). Bain Capital initially was in the business of providing venture capital — seed money — for start-ups, such as Staples. Then it moved to the more lucrative business of private equity, in which Bain won control of firms, reorganized them and then sold them for profit. [...]
Private equity deals, such as leveraged buyouts in which the company borrows lots of debt, can be more rewarding but also more risky. Some of those deals went bad for Bain, which sometimes happens in finance, though the company usually made money anyway. New York magazine, which the film cites as a source, recently ran an excellent profile of Romney in which it explored Romney’s pioneering role in the then-emerging field of private equity. Private equity revolutionized American business, demanding efficiencies (which can mean layoffs) and helping place much more emphasis on increasing shareholder value.
Not the kind of defense you would expect from the Post. But that was just the beginning, for Kessler exposed what he believed were serious factual flaws in the video.
One pertained to a company called UniMac; the film claimed that its Marianna, Florida, plant was closed by Bain at Romney's bidding. Kessler pointed out that wasn't the case at all:
Bain Capital bought the business from Raytheon in 1998, and Romney left Bain a year later to run the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In 2005, Bain sold UniMac (also called Alliance Laundry) to a Canadian entity known as Teachers’ Private Capital. The factory was moved from Marianna to Ripon, Wisc., in 2006, after Bain’s involvement ended.
According to Kessler, those involved in creating the video also played some sleight of hand with folks being interviewed:
Mike Baxley, who was interviewed for the film, said that he and his partner had “absolutely no idea” that the interviews were for a film about Romney and Bain. He said they thought they were being interviewed for a documentary about the factory closing.
“They said they wanted to know what it was like when the factory closed down,” he said, and he, his partner and his partner’s wife agreed to interviews after “they flashed a little money at us.” (Baxley, a Republican who said he had not yet thought much about the nomination contest, declined to reveal the amount.)
After watching “King of Bain” at The Fact Checker’s request, he said: “We were pretty shocked. Our quotes were seriously taken out of context. There is a real lack of facts.”
Indeed, Baxley, Tommy Jones and Tammy Jones barely mention Romney and Bain as they talk about their angst about the factory closing; the narrator of the film inserts suggestions that Romney was responsible.
Kessler went on to challenge other claims made in the video concluding:
Romney may have opened the door to this kind of attack with his suspect job-creation claims, but that is no excuse for this highly misleading portrayal of Romney’s years at Bain Capital. Only one of the four case studies directly involves Romney and his decision-making, while at least two are completely off point. The manipulative way the interviews appeared to have been gathered for the UniMac segment alone discredits the entire film.
This led Hot Air's Ed Morrissey to ask:
If the rest of the media follows Kessler’s lead, would this tend to discredit the attacks that will come later from Obama himself if Romney wins the nomination? I’d tend to think that it would at least muddy the waters considerably, and if this gets reported as desperation tactics in the primary, it’s going to have that stink about it in the general election as well.
Possibly, but only if facts are checked which isn't a strong suit for press members with an agenda.
To be sure, kudos go out to Kessler and the Post for taking the time to analyze this video. Maybe the rest of the media should do the same - or would that make it difficult for the President they love to spew falsehoods if he faces Romney in November?
On the other hand, one has to question the motives of the Post. Is this fact-check an honest appraisal of a political video or the paper's efforts to help Romney secure the nomination?
There's great debate concerning which candidate Obama would like to face come Election Day. Many in the media think it's Romney and might therefore be doing the White House's bidding by assisting the former Massachusetts governor whilst attacking his opponents.
Conservatives remember full-well the press backing John McCain in 2008.
Remember how well that worked out for Republicans?