Sunday, November 15, 2015
A good example of what's wrong with PolitiFact
Emma Hinchliffe of the Houston Chronicle used the PolitiFact trick to call Republican Senator Ted Cruz a liar. She rated at PolitiFact Texas as "mostly false" his statement that the "Democratic Party is getting smaller and smaller and smaller."
I wrote her an email thanking her for giving an excellent example of what is wrong with PolitiFact.
Dear Emma Hinchliffe:
I wish to thank you. Your piece at PolitiFact Texas on Ted Cruz's statement -- "Well, it's why the modern Democratic Party is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. What does it say that they're having a hard time finding anyone to run for president who isn't nearly 207 years old? You're not getting new and fresh ideas" -- exemplifies what is wrong with both the concept and execution of PolitiFact.
You chose to examine from that statement the "Democratic Party is getting smaller and smaller and smaller."
Rather than measure whether the Democratic Party is getting smaller -- whether it has lost majorities in the House and the Senate as well as most state legislatures -- you chose to compare its loot raised in 2010 and 2014 to the loot raised by Republicans, which actually underscores just how poorly Democrats have fared. I mean they had all that money and they still lost the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, so it is obvious either there is something wrong with their candidates, their ideas, or both.
You rated his statement "mostly false." I laugh at PolitiFact's "mostly false" and "mostly true." Either a fact is true, or it is a lie. Is his statement true?
Of course. Democrats are shrinking, and it is not because of money (I trust the veracity of your financial information) but likely because they lack fresh ideas. While you chose to ignore that part of his statement, let us review the ideas put forth by Democrats in last night's debate. 1) Equal pay. It has been the law since 1963. 2. Background checks for guns. 1968. (The loophole does not exist as no matter where they sell a gun, licensed dealers must do a background check.) If these things have not been achieved then enforcing the law is the problem, which passing the same laws over and over will not achieve.
Putting aside the question of political bias, PolitiFact's problem is it is the judge, jury and executioner. It selects the statement to examine, regardless of its importance. For example, of the 6 "fact checked" statements from last night's debate four were from Bernie, only 1 from Hillary. And besides cherrypicking (a favorite word among "factcheckers") the statements, PolitiFact then sets the rules for judging the statement. A plain fact that Democrats have been beaten at the polls in recent years (Republicans are at a legislative peak last achieved in 1928) becomes "mostly false" under your tortured analysis.
Well, at least you did not call him "liar, liar pants on fire" because he said all the Democratic candidates are 207 or older.
Oh wait, you childishly wrote, "Ahem: Sanders is 74; fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is 68."
I won't go into the whole liberal bias thing because you know what is in your heart and I do not. But if you are going to be a fact-checker, check the facts in a straight-forward manner and in an objective manner. Be serious. Be professional. Be fair. Leave the snide remarks out.
Poca, West Virginia
Her piece is here. http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2015/nov/15/ted-cruz/sen-ted-cruz-says-democratic-party-shrinking/