Friday, December 23, 2011

Politifact takes Arrogance to New Level, Believes its Own Lie

I’ve been a critic of Politifact since it began, for removing political motives from their “balanced” equations. Just the facts, as Joe Friday used to say. I felt the same about Factcheck. But a party’s political platform should be a fact worth considering.

Poltifact couldn’t leave well enough alone. Instead of taking the heat, by critics who seem to have a better grasp of the facts, they offered up an uncharacteristically condescending statement of defiance. It seems we’re all in some kind of echo chamber out here in America, and they have the almighty facts that cannot be questioned. Check out this snotty defense;
At a Republican campaign rally a few years ago, I asked one of the attendees how he got his news. "I listen to Rush and read NewsMax," he said. My liberal friends get their information from distinctly different sources — Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Rachel Maddow. To make sure they get a balanced view, they click Facebook links — from their liberal friends.

This is life in our echo chamber nation. We protect ourselves from opinions we don't like and seek reinforcement from like-minded allies.
But the funny thing is we’re not talking about opinion. We’re talking about facts…Politicfacts? Below is a screenshot from Campaign for America's Future:

As Eskow explains:

What a shame that Adair took the low road instead. His response is called "Fact-Checking in the Echo Chamber Nation," and it leads off with a contemptuous dismissal of both left and right -- the right for listening to Rush and Fox, and the left for "the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, and DailyKos."

"To make sure they get a balanced view," Adair sneers, "they click Facebook links -- from their liberal friends." The false equivalence of Adair's left/right language is exactly what he's being attacked for on the Medicare issue. By opening with it, he's affirming the criticism that Politifact values equivalence over facts.

Many liberal blogs and news sites first offer up proof, followed by opinion. We don’t make things up to fit our belief system like our political opposites. That’s why we’re different, why this whole discussion is so frustrating.
Standing by their bad decision, and why Politifact has made themselves irrelevant except for a few well researched facts, they continued:
…many of us retreat into comfy parlors where everyone agrees and the other side is always wrong. Each side can manufacture its truths and get the chorus to sing along. PolitiFact had its latest brush with the Echo Chamber Nation this week.

We gave our Lie of the Year to the Democrats' claim that the Republicans "voted to end Medicare."

Some of the response has been substantive and thoughtful. The critics said we ignored the long-term effects of Rep. Paul Ryan's plan and that we were wrong to consider his privatized approach to be Medicare. In their view, that is an end to Medicare. We've read the critiques and see nothing that changes our findings. We stand by our story and our conclusion that the claim was the most significant falsehood of 2011. 
Fine, and many of us will stand by our conclusion. Although I have touted some decisions they’ve made as right on the money, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect or right most of the time.

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