Thursday, October 30, 2014

Larry Elder: 'PunditFact Lies Again'

Conservative radio show host Larry Elder has an Oct. 30 criticism of PunditFact posted at Townhall.com. It's definitely worth a read, and here's one of our favorite bits:
Since PunditFact kicks me for not using purchasing power parity, surely PunditFact's parent, Tampa Times, follows its own advice when writing about the size of a country's economy? Wrong.

A Tampa Times' 2012 story headlined "With Slow Growth, China Can't Prop Up the World Economy" called China "the world's second-largest economy," with not one word about per capita GDP or purchasing power parity. It also reprinted articles from other papers that discuss a country's gross GDP with no reference to purchasing power parity or per capita income.
Elder does a nice job of highlighting PolitiFact's consistency problem. PolitiFact often abandons normal standards of interpretation in its fact check work. Such fact checks amount to pedantry rather than journalistic research.

A liberal may trot out a misleading statistic and it will get a "Half True" or higher. A figure like Sarah Palin uses CIA Factbook ratings of military spending and receives a "Mostly False" rating.

Of course Elder makes the point in a fresh way by looking at the way PolitiFact's parent paper, the Tampa Bay Times, handles its own reporting. And the same principle applies to fact checks coming from PolitiFact. The fact checkers don't follow the standard for accuracy they apply to others.

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