Monday, November 5, 2012

Equal Ratings for Equal Claims!

Note: Bryan and I appreciate the tips and suggestions we receive from our readers. Encouraging people to do their own skeptical research of PolitiFact was a primary goal of starting PFB in the first place. But rarely do readers send us ready made blog posts. One such reader (who has asked to remain anonymous) recently did just that. We've made some formatting changes but the following post is largely unedited.

Do women get paid less than men? It depends on who's getting rated.
Politifact showed its bias recently through the glaringly obvious inconsistency between the 26 Oct ruling on Mitt Romney's claim of White House women earning less than their male counterparts, and the 5 Sept ruling on Diana DeGette's statement of effectively the same thing.

Romney's statement received a Half-True rating:

DeGette's scored a Mostly True:

Each person basically said that women earn less than men, though DeGette was referring to the U.S. as a whole, while Romney was referring to the Obama White House.What was the difference that allowed DeGette to earn a Mostly True versus Romney's Half-True?

It's worth noting that both claims were judged against the light of discriminating factors such as gender differences in occupation, education, experience and hours worked.
This is an outstanding example of Politifact's arbitrary ratings system because it's so easy to see the issue in a non-partisan light. Readers must ask themselves if partisanship is the only reason for the disparity. Romney and DeGette made very similar statements. Whatever rulings they receive, they at least must be identical.

What's most absurd is the Romney story contained a reference to the DeGette story, and actually used the fact that the White House pay gap is smaller than the overall gap to knock Romney's claim down a rung. The Politifact staff had this mistake glaring them in the face, and they still didn't see it. Were they blinded by their bias or an agenda?

Jeff adds:

Our alert reader hits some solid points. To point out DeGette's rating in the Romney article and cite it in order to lower Romney's rating is baffling. What's even more absurd is DeGette came up with a specific figure of $0.77, while Romney used the more general term "less than." You'd think a broader margin of error would help Romney. The discrepancies should have been picked up by Angie Drobnic-Holan, as she was the editor on both rulings.

Many thanks to our anonymous reader! We encourage everyone to send in your tips, and analysis.

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