Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2012

PolitiFact goes to the dogs

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 9:20 am

[Posted by Karl]

PolitiFact, supposedly devoted to helping you find the truth in politics, addressed the story about Barack Obama eating a dog, quoting from his book, Dreams from My Father:

With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).

Although the heart of PolitiFact is the Truth-O-Meter, which they use to rate factual claims. author Louis Jacobson assigned no rating to the seemingly straightforward question of whether Obama ate dog.

In an age of social media, PolitiFact heard complaints via Twitter.  Their first response: “We’re not suggesting Obama disputes he ate dog meat in Indonesia. He doesn’t, that we’ve seen. We’re just publishing what he wrote about it.”  It would be more accurate to call this a non-response, as it avoids the question of why there is no Truth-O-Meter rating for the claim, as opposed to putting the claim “in context.”

PolitiFact tried again: “Other subjects of “In Context” — Ted Nugent, Hilary Rosen, [and] Rick Santorum.”  However, Nugent’s comment was a vague statement about the future, which is not susceptible to fact-checking.  Likewise, Santorum’s comments about Satan’s agenda seem faith-based (unless PolitiFact is suggesting they have some way of checking in with the Prince of Darkness).  And PolitiFact’s refusal to rate Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” merely helped Rosen (and by extension, Democrats generally) wriggle away from the controversy over what is seen as a widespread attitude among the Left toward stay-at-home moms.

More significantly, PolitiFact’s responses ignore their much more relevant track record in this particular area.  For example, PolitiFact rated the story about the Romneys transporting the family dog on the roof of their car as “Mostly True.”  And PolitiFact rated the story about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee frying squirrels in a popcorn popper simply “True.”

Thus, it is apparent when it comes to stories about Republican presidential candidates eating unusual animals or arguably stressing a dog, PolitiFact has its Truth-O-Meter at the ready.  When a Democrat president’s book contains the admission he ate dog, PolitiFact cannot find its Truth-O-Meter.  When Obama is the subject, PolitiFact’ s “heart” simply disappears, even when the problem is made apparent to them by public complaint.

That this supposed Ministry of Truth is biased is not exactly news. A prior study by the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs found PolitiFact harbored a large bias against Republicans.  But their double-standard is usually not so obvious and easily exposed.

–Karl

29 Responses to “PolitiFact goes to the dogs”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  2. it’s important that they shape their articles in such a way that the White House can send out links to it when they want support for their positions

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  3. Romney’s dog Seamus suffered – at most – no more discomfort or “terror” than he would should he be involved with a much-hated dog-bath, trip to the vet or groomer.

    On the other hand, 0bama’s dog(s) were fully committed.

    Colonel Haiku (34ef2e)

  4. Karl – I think we have to have a national conversation about polygamy, soon.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  5. Romney’s dog Seamus suffered – at most – no more discomfort or “terror” than he would should he be involved with a much-hated dog-bath, trip to the vet or groomer.

    Heh. I was going to say, at least Romney’s dog lived to tell.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  6. I think we all misread the passage. What it says is that the dog ate Barack’s college transcripts, so that’s why he can’t “find” them.

    Elephant Stone (0ae97d)

  7. “much-hated dog-bath, trip to the vet or groomer.”

    Going to the groomer for a bath and trim is one our Wheaten’s most cherished activities. Absolutely loves it!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  8. Regarding Politifact trying again with “In Context” Hilary Rosen – if one reads the link, inside the Hilary Rosen piece is a non-truth that Politifact doesn’t mention: Rosen says,

    Well, first, can we just get rid of this word “war” on women? The Obama campaign does not use it. President Obama does not use it. This is something that the Republicans are accusing people of using, but they’re actually the one spreading it.

    Yet, the Weekly Standard notes that the head of the DNC, Debbie herself used the term to reference the “anti-woman” stand of the right,

    Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Thursday morning that Republicans are “anti-woman” and are waging “war on women” in pursuit of an “extremely radical social agenda.” What about her Democratic colleagues who voted the same way as Republicans to cut off taxpayer-funding of abortion and/or Planned Parenthood? Are they “anti-woman” as well? “No,” said Wasserman Schultz.

    And Red State also made it clear, DWS is now back-pedaling on this.

    So, if Politifact wants us to take them seriously as truth-o-meters and their In Context bit, shouldn’t they their very reference comments/claims used to determine the truth, be vetted, too? Because if not, they are essentially using untruths to try to prove a truth. Or some illogically inconsistent nonsense like that.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  9. Porn’stache Combover Axelrod and others used that term, as well.

    Colonel Haiku (485f1f)

  10. March 6, 2012…

    “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has raised $1.1 million in its “War On Women” fundraising effort, also drew attention to Limbaugh’s remarks in an email to supporters, calling on Democrats to sign a petition asking Republican leaders to condemn the radio host.”

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=axelrod%20says%20limbaugh%20fluke%20comments%20are%20part%20of%20republican%27s%20war%20on%20women&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2012%2F03%2F06%2Frush-limbaugh-sandra-fluke-david-axelrod_n_1323911.html&ei=zO2ST5fnBoSTiAKMkq3xDw&usg=AFQjCNEFIdHU9LBfkGZtHVa6HJ5MuOZgfQ&cad=rja

    Colonel Haiku (485f1f)

  11. Politifact discredits itself and is a waste of my time.

    Fact checkers to fact check the work of fact checkers. Yawn.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  12. daley–were you able to house train your wheaten? They are beautiful, friendly dogs for sure. But our friends’ wheaten (who is about 7 years old now) always has had “accidents” and regularly goes out to the yard and then wees in the kitchen right by the sliding door the minute he comes back inside.

    elissa (9efc74)

  13. jimgeraghty “Ann Romney rides horses. President Obama ended a ban on eating them.” http://t.co/GD7dxpj2

    Colonel Haiku (485f1f)

  14. Perhaps the way to deal with these biased “fact” checkers is to create an unbiased fact checker.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  15. “daley–were you able to house train your wheaten?”

    elissa – Yes. When she was younger she sometime piddled a little when she got over excited inside, but otherwise, no problems.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. http://t.co/vimp7GTr

    Colonel Haiku (485f1f)

  17. asshole/musician Sting buddies up with Bashar Assad while the latter murders his own people.

    Colonel Haiku (485f1f)

  18. I think we all misread the passage. What it says is that the dog ate Barack’s college transcripts, so that’s why he can’t “find” them.
    Comment by Elephant Stone — 4/21/2012 @ 9:48 am

    – The dog ate the evidence . . . and then Barack ate some evidence . . .

    Icy (ad8dd3)

  19. Thus, it is apparent when it comes to stories about Republican presidential candidates eating unusual animals or arguably stressing a dog, PolitiFact has its Truth-O-Meter at the ready. When a Democrat president’s book contains the admission he ate dog, PolitiFact cannot find its Truth-O-Meter.

    Yeah, well, I long ago noticed that, when they are focused on “Politifact”, my Bogon Flux Capacitor pegs, my Bovine Excreta Meter blows a fuse, and my Snark Generator automatically fires up to max capacity.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  20. I found Politifact a little over three years ago. I started tracking the website with no clue as to if they had any bias. But in a period of just 3-4 weeks, I became suspicious.

    The one that put me over and I dumped them was when they said the cigarette tax Obama signed didn’t break this promise:
    “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

    Reading their justification was laughable. They said because he always used income taxes as examples, the cigarette tax didn’t count. They also floated other BS for their justification. I lambasted them in an email and all I got back was a staffer saying he wished I would reconsider my decision to not visit their website anymore.

    Eddie B (f967de)

  21. Foot meet bullet, two of two parts

    Alex (31c567)

  22. Every “objective fact-checking organization” that I’ve seen that promises to finally be a real independent and objective fact checking organization turns out to be another pretender. Put some negative things out about your own side to give the appearance of being equally critical, but leave out tons of neagtive stuff on your guy and amplify nonsense about your opponent.

    I’d rather have people who let their biases be known and at the same time documents their claims and is open to challenge.

    MD in Philly (28be5f)

  23. Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
    [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
    Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
    Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

    (Casablanca 1942)

    Bored Lawyer (1cf033)

  24. Whoa-oh, here he comes
    Watch out, boy; he’ll chew you up

    Just Some Guy (3b087f)

  25. who new 0bama’s
    most ideal state government
    has gone to the dogs

    http://t.co/qlR0w3Dq

    Colonel Haiku (f4b1c2)

  26. I’m still laughing at the unconscious irony of the “Dogs Against Romney” slogan: I RIDE INSIDE>

    Someone with the requisite skills should really do a Photoshop of those words in a thought balloon coming out of Obama’s midsection…

    Ellie in T.O. (ea4ad6)

  27. Here’s my fact-check of a PolitiFiction claim about Michele Bachmann: http://sdrostra.com/?p=6907

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (3a51d0)

  28. “People complain that Romney was born with a silver spoon in his mouth – I suppose that is better than a golden retriever…”

    SPQR (26be8b)

  29. THey don’t conaider whether the shootings are justified, but they assume not.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/31/2725389_p2/myth-and-reality-of-stand-your.html

    narciso (8d0f34)


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