Sunday, August 3, 2014

PolitiMath at PolitiFact Virginia

Guided selection?
Earlier today, we reviewed the percentage error involved in pair of PolitiFact ratings.

On July 16, PolitiFact's PunditFact rated Cokie Roberts "Half True" for a numerical claim that was exaggerated by about 9,000 percent.  PunditFact justified the rating based on Roberts' underlying argument, that the risk of being murdered in Honduras is greater than the risk in New York City.

On July 31, PolitiFact Oregon rated George Will "False for a numerical claim that was off by as much as 225 percent.  Will claimed healthcare companies.make up 13 of the top 25 employers in Oregon, and occupy the top three positions on top of that.  The former claim was off by as much as 225 percent and the latter claim was off by 300 percent or so.  PolitiFact found Oregon's largest employer was a healthcare firm.

Today we take fresh note of a July 14 fact check from PolitiFact Virginia.

PolitiFact Virginia tested the claim of Democrat Mark Sickles that 70 percent of Virginia's Medicaid budget pays for care for seniors in nursing homes.

PolitiFact Virginia said the true number was 9.7 percent.

From that number, we calculate a percentage error of 622 percent (PolitiFact can't be trusted with that calculation).

PolitiFact Virginia gives Sickles no credit for his underlying argument and rates his claim "False."


What determines whether PolitiFact rates the underlying point along with the literal claim?

How big does an error need to get before a claim warrants a "Pants on Fire" rating?


Clarification 8-14-2014:
Changed "Will claimed healthcare companies.make up 13 of the top 25, and occupy the top three positions on top of that" to Will claimed healthcare companies.make up 13 of the top 25 employers in Oregon, and occupy the top three positions on top of that."

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