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Old 09-01-2012, 04:46 PM  
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Politifact: Pants on Fire



In his excellent article, Jon Cassidy eviscerates this supposed fact-checking outfit for it's tendency to define "fact" as whatever the writers at Politifact sincerely believe as opposed to something that is objectively and inarguably true.

Here's one example cited, but the article is well worth reading despite it's significant length.

Quote:
A Florida schools official was a victim of the same sort of willful refusal to acknowledge the meaning of plain English. Teachers unions and other critics had argued that annual standardized tests took precious class time from instruction. In response, Republican schools commissioner Gerard Robinson said the typical two or three tests per student per year “account for less than 1 percent of the instructional time provided during the year.” He backed it up with data showing the tests specifically took from 0.26 to 0.90 percent of annual class time. But PolitiFact Florida reporter Amy Sherman was determined to put words in Robinson’s mouth. “Robinson used the phrase ‘instructional time’ in his claim, which could fairly be interpreted to mean classroom time spent preparing for the test,” she wrote. Then she clucked about teaching to the test. Of course, “instructional time” needs no interpretation; it means “class time.” And that’s not even the phrase Sherman “interpreted.” She replaced a highly specific claim – two to three assessments per student per year – with her own concern: classroom time spent teaching to the test. Then she checked whether time spent teaching to the test was more than one percent, and failed even to establish that. And then — presto! — she ruled Robinson’s original claim False. That’s not fact-checking or even opinion journalism. It’s lying.
Cassidy says that for the first couple of years after it was created in 2007, PolitiFact seemed to do a pretty decent job. They won a Pulitzer for their coverage of the 2008 elections. Shortly thereafter though, ownership changed and that's when Cassidy claims that things went down hill. Numerous examples are cited to illustrate his criticisms. There are even several mentions of Ron Paul for those who just can't get enough.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:08 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Do you object to Fox News' claim that they are the Fair and Balanced news network? If so, why?
If you want fair and balanced then after an hour of fox news go to an hour of msnbc.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:28 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
I singled out Politfact because that is the topic of the thread, numbnuts. My criticism applies to ALL fact checking sites. And you are correct, it is a commentary on the entire media landscape.

Yes you are a partisan shill but a properly set up site would either limit or expose that, thereby limiting the appearance of validity of your "take" on the facts. You are obviously very limited in you ability to think of possibilities outside of the status quo.
This is rich coming from the IT guy that claims to know more than the people studying global warming and shows complete deference to economists' obscure papers as long as it supports his view point.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by J Diddy View Post
If you want fair and balanced then after an hour of fox news go to an hour of msnbc.
You don't need to go to that trouble. Fox News is Fair and Balanced by themselves.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:44 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
You don't need to go to that trouble. Fox News is Fair and Balanced by themselves.
That is quite laughable.I assume you are referring to their token liberal on staff.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:44 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
I singled out Politfact because that is the topic of the thread, numbnuts. My criticism applies to ALL fact checking sites. And you are correct, it is a commentary on the entire media landscape.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
Yes you are a partisan shill but a properly set up site would either limit or expose that, thereby limiting the appearance of validity of your "take" on the facts. You are obviously very limited in you ability to think of possibilities outside of the status quo.
As amazing as that sales pitch is and everything, I have zero interest.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Do you object to Fox News' claim that they are the Fair and Balanced news network? If so, why?
I do.

Because they are the Republican Party's official outlet in everything but name, which distorts the idea of fair.

They are also shoddily researched and run by teeneagers, which affects the balance.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Diddy View Post
That is quite laughable.I assume you are referring to their token liberal on staff.
No, not at all. I'm referring to their self-proclaimed status.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:54 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I do.

Because they are the Republican Party's official outlet in everything but name, which distorts the idea of fair.

They are also shoddily researched and run by teeneagers, which affects the balance.
I have an objection to fact checkers who don't limit themselves to checking facts, but instead impose their own viewpoint on a controversy.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:57 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I have an objection to fact checkers who don't limit themselves to checking facts, but instead impose their own viewpoint on a controversy.
If you're claiming PolitiFact has a bias, fine. That doesn't make them an illegitimate source for information, it just doesn't make them the Ultimate Arbiter of Truth, like any news source.

Fox News is a different beast. They are financially and professionally intertwined and interdependent on the Republican Party. The phrase "conflict of interests" doesn't begin to describe that outlet.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #55
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No, not at all. I'm referring to their self-proclaimed status.
trollin' son.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:01 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If you're claiming PolitiFact has a bias, fine. That doesn't make them an illegitimate source for information, it just doesn't make them the Ultimate Arbiter of Truth, like any news source.

Fox News is a different beast. They are financially and professionally intertwined and interdependent on the Republican Party. The phrase "conflict of interests" doesn't begin to describe that outlet.
I'd oppose them if they were called UltimateArbiterOfTruth.com and used by others as if they were the Ultimate Arbiter of Truth too. The issue that's being disputed here is that PolitiFact is more of an argument ender than the New York Times or FoxNews, not that they don't have the right to present their biased views.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:04 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I'd oppose them if they were called UltimateArbiterOfTruth.com and used by others as if they were the Ultimate Arbiter of Truth too. The issue that's being disputed here is that PolitiFact is more of an argument ender than the New York Times or FoxNews, not that they don't have the right to present their biased views.
If somebody is treating them as infallible, that's on them. That's not on PolitiFact, which again, is just an editorial page.

By the way -- that argument works both ways. Because if you plan on treating them as a de facto illegitimate source of information, that's similarly on you.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:08 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If somebody is treating them as infallible, that's on them. That's not on PolitiFact, which again, is just an editorial page.

By the way -- that argument works both ways. Because if you plan on treating them as a de facto illegitimate source of information, that's similarly on you.
There are a lot of unsuspecting people out there who think these fact checkers are shortcuts to the truth and the fact checkers themselves are happy to lead them down that path. In other words, they are indeed illegitimate sources if you're looking for objective truth. Kudos to you if you look past that and only use them as one other input from the spectrum of opinion journalism, but you're the exception not the rule. I'm working on the rest of the people out there.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:11 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
There are a lot of unsuspecting people out there who think these fact checkers are shortcuts to the truth and the fact checkers themselves are happy to lead them down that path. In other words, they are indeed illegitimate sources if you're looking for objective truth. Kudos to you if you look past that and only use them as one other input from the spectrum of opinion journalism, but you're the exception not the rule. I'm working on the rest of the people out there.
There are a lot of unsuspecting people who thought Obamacare had death panels. Again, that's on them. You fight disinformation with information. This isn't a new concept.

If somebody thinks PolitiFact is above reproach, that's simply untrue. If somebody disputes the idea that PolitiFact is an exceptionally well researched provider of information, that's simply untrue.

My issue is that in an effort to dispute the former idea, you're going to dispute the latter idea.

Which is similarly stupid.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:18 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If somebody disputes the idea that PolitiFact is an exceptionally well researched provider of information, that's simply untrue.
Well, they do have Dick Cheney for only one "Pants on Fire" so he may be on to something here.
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