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U.S. News and Commentary



Wednesday
May292013

Study shows PolitiFact rates Democrats more favorably than Republicans

A truth meter like the one used by PolitiFact relies on the checker working the controls. (Snip: PolitiFact)A study conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University found that the fact check site PolitiFact rates Democrats more favorably than Republicans when it comes to the Truth-O-Meter.

PolitiFact’s judgments implicate the GOP as the “less credible party”:

The study examined 100 statements involving factual claims by Democrats (46 claims) and Republicans (54 claims), which were fact-checked by PolitiFact.com during the four month period from the start of President Obama’s second term on January 20 through May 22, 2013.

As The US Report has pointed out, however, PolitiFact’s judgments can be subjective.

Case in point: The New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case in 2008. President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder chose not to pursue a criminal case against the NBPP. Various pundits and chain emails claimed Holder won’t prosecute minorities for civil rights violations against white people.

PolitiFact said the administration of President George W. Bush didn’t pursue criminal charges. However, the intimidation occurred on Election Day—Bush was in the final months of his final term. Moreover, Holder could pursue whatever he wanted to. Consider his lawsuits against various states’ laws on illegal aliens.

A U.S. attorney testified in a congressional hearing that Justice would not prosecute minorities on civil rights issues.

PolitiFact took conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly to task for blaming the Obama administration for not filing criminal charges in the NBPP case. PF deemed O’Reilly’s claims false.

If you take time to read PolitiFact’s argument about the matter, it’s evident there’s abundant advocacy for the Democrat stance on the matter.

Bush’s DoJ didn’t pursue criminal charges for the incident that occurred on the day Americans elected Barack Obama for president. Obama’s DoJ refused to pursue criminal charges.

How much clearer can it be?

We give PolitFact 10 ‘Pinocchios’ for what we believe are misstatements. O’Reilly’s claims were true.

That’s not the only case. There are others, like the ‘mostly false’ rating assigned to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about Benghazi.

The facts being checked: "Rand Paul says Hillary Clinton was ‘asked repeatedly to provide security in Benghazi … including direct cables…"

Instead of confirming a true statement made by Paul, PolitiFact went into a lengthy illustration about how cables are routed through a bureaucracy.

PF made no mention of the significance of the secretary of state’s negligence regarding the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, the fact Clinton wanted the mission to become a permanent base and requests for more security had been sent to State.

Clinton’s excuse was that she didn’t see every cable, but a Benghazi cable should have been a red flag. Clinton knew the area was volatile; the world knew it. If she didn’t instruct an underling to flag her about security matters there, Clinton was negligent.

PolitiFact might have read the official description of the secretary of state’s duties, including this:

"Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries…"

Sen. Paul’s statement had more truth than PF engineered in the interest of protecting Mrs. Clinton’s reputation.

The same thing happened with a statement by Florida state Sen. John Thrasher (R) about immigration, rating it false because Thrasher cited an incorrect number of 9/11 hijackers who spent time in Florida. I analyzed PF’s position on that matter and came to the conclusion PF was simply advocating for Democrats’ positions on amnesty.

Here’s another more recent example: “Barack Obama says since he took office, “there have been no large-scale attacks on the United States…”

PF rated that ‘half-true.’ Not. Boston was a large scale attack. Only an advocate would call the statement “half-true.” The NY Daily News said: "The Boston Marathon terror attack killed three, wounded more than 260 and at least 15 lost limbs." If that's not "large scale," what is?

PolitiFact is a print newspaper’s creation. Most swing to the Democrats’ left wing.

It’s also relevant to note the fact-checkers are certainly subjective when it comes to which claims they decide to rate. That’s a subjective matter—who decides which politico to tackle and what biases figure into the choice?

You may be saying, But PolitiFact won a Pulitzer! Considering the lack of standards and integrity in news media today, I’d say that award would be more appropriately deemed a “Poo-litzer.” If the award meant anything, a tabloid would’ve won it for exposing presidential contender John Edwards’ numerous lies about his mistress and love child.

The CMPA study found that PolitiFact rated 32 percent of GOP claims "false' or "pants on fire," compared to 11 percent of Democrats' claims.

To expect the “fact checkers” at a newspaper to view Republicans objectively, especially small government advocates like Sen. Paul, is rather like watching a rainbow to see if a pot of gold materializes.

Remember that next time someone shoves a "truth-o-meter" in your face, especially if a leftwinger is working the controls.

(Analysis by Kay B. Day/May 29, 2013)

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