Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Big Journalism: "VA GOP Pushes Back Against PolitiFact, Shows Other States the Way"

Big Journalism's John Nolte didn't take long to weigh in on the Republican Party of Virginia's challenge to PolitiFact Virginia's objectivity:
PolitiFact isn't just a national cancer on all of us. This reprehensible outfit also "fact-checks" in a number of individual states, including the crucial swing states of Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia.

Unfortunately, my lack of superpowers makes it impossible for me to monitor the left-wing propaganda PolitiFact is surely spewing in each individual state. Thankfully, though, the Republican Party of Virginia has had enough.
Nolte's spirited rant is worth a full read, but we'll register some qualified disagreements.

If PolitiFact is a cancer it's often benign.  The fact checks are in the ballpark enough so that radical surgery probably doesn't serve as the answer.  And, in fact, the response from the Republican Party of Virginia probably doesn't serve as the model response, largely because it's too late to serve as a timely corrective for any misinformation it detects and because its format discourages people from reading it (PFB will give it a closer look over time).

On the good side, this type of response from the party does a great deal to bring attention to PolitiFact's many issues, which are best highlighted by research like that of Eric Ostermeier and collected evaluations like the recent set from Ohio Watchdog.

It's pretty easy to find good criticism of PolitiFact.  The challenge comes from getting the information in front of the public to increase people's awareness that PolitiFact cannot be trusted in its current form.

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