SPECIAL REPORT: PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and the problem of “false equivalency”
December 23, 2011


Both were also 'Great orators'.SPECIAL REPORT:

After a flurry of controversy erupted over “Politifact” rating the Democratic claim that the “Ryan Plan will kill Medicare” as their “Lie of the Year”, I went looking to see if FactCheck.org agreed. They do (link below). BUT… in their explanation, they concede that “starting in 2022, people would be required to purchase private insurance” under the Ryan Plan. But they still count the claim as a “Whopper” because it doesn’t end Medicare instantly, keeping the current system in place for people currently “55 and over”.

This “corroboration” comes from “FactCheck.org”s “Whoppers of 2011”. Their “bi-partisan” list is quite pathetic, struggling to find one Democratic “Whopper” for every Republican “Whopper”, playing the “false equivalency” game.

Also in their 2011 list, FactCheck cites President Obama exaggerating the claim that his mother had to fight the insurance company to cover her cancer (a claim he made in 2009 during the HCR debate, not 2011). FactCheck justifies including this 2009 statement in their 2011 list because that’s when “[they] learned about it.” They correctly note his cancer-stricken mother had to fight the insurance company over a different issue, not cancer coverage specifically. They mention that “this is not the first time Obama embellished” a claim to defend Health Care Reform (HCR), citing another 2009 claim regarding a man that died after being denied coverage. In fact, that particular man actually “had his coverage reinstated and lived another four years”. The problem here is that… while the stories of these two specific individuals turned out to be half-truths, the fact is those specific problem DO exist and happened to people every day under the old system. Attributing these problems incorrectly to two “specific” people, hardly makes them “Whoppers”. And, I remind you, neither claim was actually made in 2011.

Compare those Democratic “Whoppers” to their Republican “Whoppers”:

o HCF won’t in fact cost “many” jobs (and most of those are low-paying).
o Most millionaires affected by HCR aren’t “job creators”.
o Bachmann’s “HPV vaccine caused mental retardation” claim, and
o Cain’s “Planned Parenthood is targeting black babies for abortion” claim.
et al.

Back on “PolitiFact”, after receiving “about 1,500 emails, most of them negative” criticizing their choice, the staffer that made the claim, Bill Adair, posted a whiny childish commentary “defending” his decision, bemoaning “the [partisan] echo chamber” and calling some of his critics (including Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman) “ridiculous”, while not citing even ONE fact or justification for why he’s right and everyone else is wrong. Adair was able to cite PolitiFact’s competitor, “FactCheck.org”, as “coming to the same conclusion” as he. And he dare bemoan “the echo chamber”???

PolitiFact polled their readers for THEIR choice for “Lie of the Year”. Coming in at #1 with 24% of the vote: The claim the economic Stimulus created “zero” jobs. The Ryan “Lie” didn’t even make the list (meaning it came in below even “Republicans have proposed zero jobs legislation” polling at 1%.)

One has to wonder if both PolitiFact and FactCheck aren’t struggling to find “false equivalency” where there is none in a desperate attempt to maintain a reputation as “non-partisan”. One has to wonder how they’d critique “The Spanish Inquisition” (“Yeah, but heathens DID practice science and claim there were no such thing as witches”)?

ADDENDUM: Richard Eskow over at “Crooks & Liars” noticed the same thing and came to the same conclusion: Mr. Adair’s whiny rant destroys any future credibility he might have as a “fact checker”.

Sign my petition for GREEN JOBS TOMORROW fast & cheap. Use those $4 Billion in oil subsidies to put Solar Panels on the roofs of 40,000 government buildings, or order 100,000 hybrid mail-trucks. Not only would this INSTANTLY CREATE JOBS, it would spark ENTIRE INDUSTRIES with a future, reduce our dependency on oil, reduce greenhouse emissions, and quickly pay for itself (and cut future expenses) with the energy savings. We need 5,000 signatures by December 20th (extended to January 20th).

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December 23, 2011 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, Politics, Rants

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