While Mandel was busy reforming the Treasurer’s office by slashing the budget, earning Standard and Poor’s highest credit rating for the state, and beefing up the state’s investment portfolio, Ohio’s mainstream media outlets, the left-wing bloggers, and Sherrod Brown’s team went to work to paint Mandel as the “Big Lie” candidate, knowing that he would indeed be a threat to their Leftist hero. And so an insidious narrative was hatched.
Earlier this year, most news stories about the Ohio U.S. Senate race … included a reference to Mandel’s supposed troubles with honesty or his specific troubles with PolitiFact, the national fact-checking news organization. … The whole Mandel’s-a-liar narrative traces directly back to the insidious work of PolitiFact Ohio — the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s franchise of the national fact-checking operation — and in particular to the Plain Dealer’s reporter Tom Feran. Feran doesn’t hide his anti-Republican bias, calling Republicans “wingnuts” and “yahoos” on Twitter, cheering President Obama, and sending out a link to an article on “the Cancer of Conservatism.” It’s Feran’s work that supplies the central point of this latest TV attack ad on Mandel: “Campaign Attacks Give Josh Mandel Pants on Fire Crown,” Feran’s July 29 Cleveland Plain Dealer article in which Feran reports on rulings Feran himself made for PolitiFact Ohio. The ostensible point of the ad is that Mandel had been slapped with PolitiFact’s worst rating — Pants on Fire — more frequently than any other politician. Three other articles mentioned in the ad make the same point, that PolitiFact Ohio has often found fault with Mandel. The idea that PolitiFact can tell you that somebody “told the most lies” has been called “meaningless” by PolitiFact’s national editor.
It’s probably helpful to note that Sherrod Brown’s wife, Connie Schultz, was a columnist for the Plain Dealer until she was caught performing campaign-style activities (videotaping Mandel at a Tea Party rally) while covering a story for her employer this past September.
Newspapers and TV stations across the state repeatedly cite PolitiFact as the final arbiter of truth anytime Brown calls foul and sometimes when Mandel’s name is mentioned. The narrative that Mandel is a serial liar shows up again and again in letters to the editor (not to mention the constant drum beat on the leftist blogs, which aren’t even worth linking to).
The NBC news affiliate out of Columbus does its part to help perpetuate the myth in a story so biased it almost seems like satire, describing Mandel as “wallowing in the mud” and “smarmy.”
[Note: The original video from the TV station is unavailable. This clip includes captions from a Brown supporter.]