|Image from PolitiFact|
At issue is radio host John DePetro's comments regarding the current resting place of the deceased Boston bomber: "You know, in a way, think of who else is there. That is, President Kennedy is buried not far from there, in Virginia,"
We used the Google Maps Distance Calculator to find the actual span between Kennedy's grave at Arlington and the Al-Barzakh Cemetery on Sadie Lane in Doswell, Virginia.Notice anything missing? PolitiFact failed to provide a standardized measurement for the linear distance of "not far." Probably because no such definition exists. It's an opinion, and one DePetro articulated quite effectively.
Driving distance: 87 miles.
Bee-line distance: 74 miles.
That's about 55,817 casket lengths.
When we informed DePetro of the distance and asked if he was still bothered, he wrote in an e-mail, "Yes. Insult to bury him so close to JFK. Johnston landfill was my choice or out to sea."
Any guess on PolitiFact's rating?
[T]o say that such a distance should somehow spark offense strikes us as mildly ridiculous, so we rate his statement Pants on Fire!This is a wholly inappropriate sentence to include in a supposed fact check. We've long argued that there is simply no objective definition of what makes a claim "ridiculous." It's a subjective term determined only by the personal inclinations of PolitiFact's editors. Compounding that subjectivity, PolitiFact finds DePetro's claim only mildly ridiculous in this case. So now not only is the Pants on Fire rating based on an opinion, it's also subject to a sliding scale, the standards for which have yet to be published. Is it a Truth-O-Meter or a mood ring?
It would be interesting to learn when PolitiFact acquired the magical gift of objectively defining what should or should not cause offense. The fact that PolitiFact Rhode Island isn't offended does not make something inoffensive. That's a personal judgement that has no place in a dispassionate determination of fact.
This article is yet another example of how PolitiFact operates as an editorial site sheathed in a false blanket of objectivity. There is simply no way for them to measure the accuracy of DePetro's opinion, and even less possible for them to place a factual determination on what is or isn't offensive.
This is an opinion piece. It's not a fact check. It is dishonest for PolitiFact to suggest otherwise.