Monday, July 16, 2012

PolitiFact exaggerates its reluctance to grade hyperbole

Crossposted from Sublime Bloviations


Sometimes PolitiFact just can't bring itself to rate a statement on its cheesy "Truth-O-Meter."  Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said of Mitt Romney "He not only couldn’t be confirmed as a Cabinet secretary, he couldn’t be confirmed as a dog catcher, because a dog catcher — you’re at least going to want to look at his income tax returns."

PolitiFact couldn't flip the switch on the "Truth-O-Meter."  Sure, PolitiFact published an article stating that Reid was wrong, but no "Truth-O-Meter" rating came with the story.

So what's going on?

PolitiFact:
We recognize Reid was using hyperbole, so we won't put his claim to the Truth-O-Meter. But we thought it was worthwhile to examine if many government officials and candidates have to file their tax returns to qualify for their jobs.

Our conclusion: Reid was barking up the wrong tree.
PolitiFact has called three different statements from Republicans "hyperbole" just since January, rating each of them "Pants on Fire."  The case involving Reid stands as the only one where PolitiFact explicitly refrained from grading a hyperbolic statement.

Naturally I was confused upon reading the following from PolitiFact at its Facebook page:
Mark FitzSimmons ‎"We recognize Reid was using hyperbole, so we won't put his claim to the Truth-O-Meter. "

What? Wasn't the first pants on fire Biden referring to Bush as brain-dead? How is that not recognized as hyperbole?

PolitiFact Mark, you have a very good memory! It was after that check (and partly because of that check) that we decided on a policy against it.
It was after the Biden "brain-dead" fact check from 2007 that PolitiFact decided on a policy against grading hyperbole.

Here we are in 2012 and PolitiFact has graded about 20 claims it recognized as hyperbole.  All occurred subsequent to the Biden claim.  The most recent occurred on June 29, 2012.

Now I'm stuck trying to figure out a charitable interpretation for "It was after that check (and partly because of that check) that we decided on a policy against it."

Progress is slow.

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