Wow. I was actually excited to see this site but, it looks so far like I might be the only one who has -- but, I'll step up and comment on this anyway. Overall, I think the questions you posed in this post are valid, on track, and worthwhile asking. Unfortunately, I also feel your interpretation of the answers to the questions posed completely nullifies them, takes them way off base, and makes it all a virtual waste of time.We can't wait to read the specifics.
Your first two-part question:Okay, on this one it sounds like we agree. Just to be clear, however, the question was not originally posed by us. It is "ours" in the sense that we used it as a heading in our post.
Part 1: I would have to say that I believe (but, of course cannot state with certainty) that Sharockman most likely knows or, at least, has a large degree of insight into the ideological make up of his staff. My gut agrees with you in saying that he dodged that question.
Part 2: From this point you state "it gets worse" but what actually happens is you just get a bit silly. Sharockman gave a reasonable answer -- you just didn't like it. That said, your idea that they could have "more balance" could certainly hold water. But then it just begs the question as to who wants to expend the energy schlepping that bucket of water around. After all, this portion of the two part question primarily seems to address the possible bias around the rating system itself. If I make the claim "that purple ball is blue" we would be able to read it a multitude of ways: false, mostly false, half true, mostly true. But, regardless of its ultimate rating, the fact still remains that the ball is purple and everyone except the colorblind should be able to get the point.While we did not write anything about not liking Sharockman's answer, we did offer a substantive criticism of his answer that you do not appear to acknowledge. If Sharockman doesn't know the ideologies of his staff, he has no reason to have any sort of confidence that three or four people in PolitiFact's "star chamber" will produce judgments based on ideological balance. Without that assurance, Sharockman's reassuring words are empty.
Your follow-up question about the predominance of conservatives being fact checked -- I agree: great question.Again, it wasn't our question. And we did not offer the opinion that it was a great question. We thought Sharockman could have offered a good answer but did not.
But, here again, Sharockman actually provided a good answer and, while it seems like you might be on the scent of making a good point, you never really make it -- and your response is fatally flawed from multiple angles:
** First, your statement "The only way the number of fact checks of Obama can carry is relevance is if that number is greater than the number of ratings of conservatives." That's just an absolutely silly assertion. Why would Obama (a single, individual liberal) need a greater number of ratings than all conservatives combined to carry relevance? In the vein of your flimflammery verbiage, I say hogwash!Quite simply, touting the large number of ratings given to a special case (the only U.S. president PolitiFact has ever really bothered to rate, as well as a two-time presidential candidate) does nothing to address the imbalance charged by the reader. It's a meaningless metric in answer to the question, and any fact checker should know better. It's like saying more Raiders than Texans make the Pro Bowl and somebody objecting by saying "But the Texans' Joe Smith has been named to the Pro Bowl three years straight." It doesn't address the issue.
Combining the Obama rating with the ratings of other Democrats could mean something. But the Obama ratings by themselves mean nothing. It's a nutty case of cherry-picking.
** From there you say you found 68 ratings for Clinton since 2010. OK, good. You then make the point that a Clinton statement in 2008 is not relevant to 2016. Agreed -- but, the statement from 2008 lands outside of the range of those 68 ratings you found and doesn't really seem to apply to anything. However, since you made the point, that point can actually be used to poke holes in your next comment -- you found 86 ratings for Trump since 2011. So what? Sharockman's claim that, [of the 2016 candidates, Clinton was fact checked the most] may have actually been made within the context of relevance to the 2016 campaign -- which would pretty much make everything before 2015 moot. How many times has Clinton been rated since the beginning of the 2016 campaign? I don't know. I haven't checked. Like I said, you may be on the scent of making a good point -- but you have yet to make it.Don't neglect our point, which is that Sharockman isn't making any sort of reasonable point. If you look at the ratings, both Trump and Clinton are arguably putting themselves forward (as candidates--ed.) at the beginning of the timeline we identified. We didn't go into detail because we're not fact-checking Sharockman. We're just poking holes in his argument. Compare Trump to Clinton however you wish as a 2016 candidate. Chances are exceedingly high you'll need to cheat to put Clinton in the lead on the number of ratings.
You don't appear to have made any sort of argument that rescues Sharockman from the charges we've made against him.
As to the difference between "false" and "pants on fire" -- I actually like this question but, really, who cares?We do. And so should you. One of the main features of our site is a research section. The most developed research project we've published so far looks at PolitiFact's bias in applying its "Pants on Fire" ratings. The key premise of that research is the lack of any objective means of distinguishing between "False" ratings and "Pants on Fire" ratings. We're always amused when figures from PolitiFact address the issue in a way that supports the premise of our research.
There are obviously five general ratings which are all fairly defined with the criteria for each. False is false -- and, you know what -- pants on fire is also false. It just has a little flair attached for style and enjoyment of the readers -- it's childlike and funny. It points out things of a ridiculous nature -- like the post to which I write this reply. Is that subjective? Sure, I guess it is…The other ratings are better defined than the giant blur that divides "False" from "Pants on Fire." But there's no good evidence PolitiFact pays particular attention to the definitions it gives for its ratings. A literally true statement can receive any rating. We pick on the "Pants on Fire" rating because the definition offers no real guidance at all in applying any objective criterion. And you appear to at least lean toward our view that the rating is essentially a subjective measure.
So, let's see what we've got:
- You more-or-less agreed with us twice.
- You said Sharockman's reasoning was good but didn't support your statement.
- You said our view of the importance of the Obama ratings was hogwash but didn't say why.
- You think maybe Clinton was rated more times than Trump (do maybes support Sharockman?).
- You don't know why the line between "False" and "Pants on Fire" is important. Hopefully we cleared that up for you.
You really have to marvel over how much better we are than PolitiFact at responding to critics.