Friday, February 5, 2016

Michael F. Cannon: "Clean Up Your Act, PolitiFact"

Michael F. Cannon, the heath care expert who started a boycott of PolitiFact years ago over its penchant for calling people liars (without proving it), has an article at Forbes showing how PolitiFact flubbed a Jan. 29, 2016 rating of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Cruz called Obamacare the nation's No. 1 job killer and received a "Pants on Fire" rating from PolitiFact.

We can't do better than Cannon in summarizing his article:
In their rush to label Ted Cruz a liar, PolitiFact ignored economic theory, ignored economic consensus, ignored problems with the evidence they had amassed, ignored that some of the evidence they collected supports Cruz, ignored reams of anecdotal evidence, and dismissed Congressional Budget Office projections based on nothing more than a subjective and arbitrary distinction PolitiFact themselves invented.
But the summary's even better accompanied by the details, so please visit Forbes to read the whole thing.

Especially damning is PolitiFact's omission of Congressional Budget Office projections of labor loss as a result of the Affordable Care Act. PolitiFact's fact-check of Cruz does not mention the CBO but links to earlier PolitiFact fact checks dealing with the CBO's projections. Cannon succinctly explains the problem with PolitiFact's spin on the CBO's reports.

Our post just before this one talks about examining whether PolitiFact's corrections benefit Democrats more than Republicans. The other side of that coin whether PolitiFact acts more readily in response to strong criticisms from the left or from the right.

Here's betting PolitiFact will run no correction as a result of Cannon's criticisms. Indeed, we deem it very unlikely that PolitiFact will even publicly note Cannon's criticism.

That's just how PolitiFact rolls.


Afters

We can't resist attaching this howler from PolitiFact's fact check of Cruz.

Did you know the Affordable Care Act is actually a job creator? Read (bold emphasis added):
All of the job numbers have moved in a positive direction since April 2010, the first full month after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. The unemployment rate has moved steadily from 9.9 percent to 5 percent. The economy has added about 10.7 million jobs. And the number of working people who have part-time work but would rather have full-time work has fallen by nearly 3 million. There was a brief rise in that number between April and September 2010, but the longer term trend is clearly one of decline.

That’s not to say the Affordable Care Act deserves all the credit. The fact is many factors drive the labor market and the overall recovery from the Great Recession is the dominant player in this regard.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's PolitiFact arguing that correlation is evidence of causation despite the involvement of multiple causes. PolitiFact says that's a sin when conservative politicians do it.

 It's still sinful but not as much so when liberal politicians do it (research project is underway).

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