Friday, June 13, 2014

Shark and Shepherd: 'Politifact misses again'

Wisconsin blogger Rick Esenberg of Shark and Shepherd returns with another apt skewering of PolitiFact Wisconsin (find the first one here).

Esenberg notes the gymnastics PolitiFact Wisconsin performs for the sake of giving Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) a "Mostly False" rating for claiming Medicare is on its way to bankruptcy and the Medicare trust fund will go bankrupt in 2026.

We'll tease readers with the Esenberg's central point, since we would not do justice to his concise and compelling reasoning by using excerpts:
At worst, Ryan has made a true statement that should be tempered by the recognition that we can fix the problem. It is, of course, silly to criticize him for that since he's been banging on about "fixing" the problem for his entire career. In other words, he has repeatedly recognized both the problem and the need for a fix.

Politifact Wisconsin takes cover in the fact that two other fact checkers have engaged in the same man[eu]vers.
We recommend reading the full version.

Before finding Esenberg's post, we had considered a post comparing the Ryan rating to PolitiFact's recent rating of Hillary Clinton.  Clinton said she and President Clinton were dead broke when they left the White House.  Clinton received a "Mostly False" rating, just like Ryan.  And, to be fair, her statement communicated something accurate about their liquid assets.  But PolitiFact had better justification for a low rating for Clinton than for Ryan.  Mrs. Clinton, after all, inked an $8 million book deal in December 2000.

PolitiFact somehow neglected to mention the timing of the lucrative book deal in its fact check, though the article did mention royalty income of $2.84 million in 2001 from publisher Simon & Schuster.  The type of "broke" the Clintons experienced when leaving the White House was the same type of broke experienced by millions of Americans who owe more on a mortgage than they own in assets.

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