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View Diary: PolitiFACT openly admits FACTS are not its focus (119 comments)

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  •  There are two things to look at (10+ / 0-)

    One is the absolute factual nature of what someone said.

    The second is the import of what they've said, the nuances involved, what they might have omitted or obfuscated with their comment.

    Looking at simply the factual nature of what someone said provides little value. That's why Politifact morphed into something else.

    Had they done that changeover well, it would have been a good thing - but they haven't. They often stink at their jobs.

    They often messed up when looking at factual things too. For example, they gave Joe Biden a Pants on Fire rating for still believing that it could be really injurious to one's health to ride on a plane with a really sick person because of the way that air doesn't circulate very much on planes. Turns out, that belief used to be more true than it is nowadays - air circulation has been improved a great deal, and so giving Biden a Pants on Fire rating was wholly unjustified. People telling Pants on Fire lies had an intention of misinforming others.

    A lie contains the intent to deceive. Politifact doesn't understand that concept at all. Media Matters does.

    •  Couldn't disagree more.... (7+ / 0-)
      Looking at simply the factual nature of what someone said provides little value. That's why Politifact morphed into something else.

      GOP field says: "The Obama economy has wrecked jobs and stiffed investment."

      Obama says: "Job growth has been steady during my presidency."

      Who is telling the truth and who is lying?  The GOP is claiming that Obama is killing jobs.  Obama says the facts are that is not true.  Is there a claim in there that Obama has created jobs?  Maybe.  But the central point is: he is not killing jobs.  If they stuck to the simple facts, then they would not have got drug down into the morass.  Let's say the exchange was this:

      GOP field says: "Although the jobs picture is improving, it is not improving fast enough.  And President Obama's policies are not responsible for the gains."

      Obama says: "Job growth has been steady during my presidency."

      The, one could engage in SOME nuance.  The question of truth becomes - did Obama cause the job growth?  But that is NOT what is in question here.  And Politifact is muddying the waters.  So instead, they just become another noise in the crowd.

      '[Mitt Romney] Loves money, hates people - Just one man's opinion" - David Letterman

      by RichM on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 09:13:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree completely (10+ / 0-)

      Politifact didn't change its policies because it wasn't providing "value".  It clearly was, as it skyrocketed from a subdivision of a Tampa Bay newspaper to a nationally known Pulitzer Prize winning organization in just a few years.

      The problem is that fact-checking is considered a low rung on the journalism ladder, and fact-checkers almost always would rather be giving their subjective opinion on issues.  Politifact's novelty was that it had managed to subdue those impulses.

      But it appears now that it has openly given in and is now just another editorial board providing an opinion on who is to blame or not to blame for events.  It seems Politifact thinks it is too famous to just be reporting facts, but it seems to be overlooking that it is famous only BECAUSE it was reporting facts.  Otherwise it is just some division of some tiny Florida newspaper.

      Anyway, I think it's safe to predict Politifact's imminent demise.  It will ride a few years on its Pulitzer Prize, but it's already thrown away a huge chunk of credibility, and that was its most valuable asset.

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