Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fact checker avoids checking facts

A summary article by PolitiFact Wisconsin's Tom Kertscher contributes new evidence supporting our claims that PolitiFact checks facts poorly and applies its standards inconsistently. We'll address the latter point in a later post.

Kertscher's article reviewed statements made in Wisconsin by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. The following example from Kertscher's story grabbed our attention:

"The Republican governor of Florida has forbidden any state employee ever to use, either orally or in writing, the words ‘climate change.’ "

news report in March 2015 made that assertion, though the governor, Rick Scott, denied it.
The story Kertscher linked in support, however, dealt only with Florida's Department of Environmental Protection. The State of Florida has quite a few employees outside of the DEP. On the face of it, Clinton exaggerated wildly and the best PolitiFact Wisconsin can do in response is prop up a he-said/she-said facade supporting Clinton.

PolitiFact Wisconsin reported falsely. The March 2015 news report made no assertion that Gov. Scott placed a "climate change" gag order on every state employee in Florida.

We sent a message to Tom Kertscher on March 30, 2016 pointing out the error.

We'll update this item if we receive any response.

3 comments:

  1. Perhaps you should read the article more closely. I.E. check your own facts. Those are quotes attributed to Hillary Clinton. Which politifact rated "false." The article does go on to state that an outside group was asked not to use it and that state officials don't use the term either. Quite a lot to sum up in the short sentence that politifact used to describe the source of the quote. I would agree that better wording could have been chosen on Kertscher's part, but I can only assume that this is why politifact obviously links to the sources of its information; that way you can read everything for yourself. Not sure where the bias is considering they rated a third of her statements as false or mostly false in that article. Full disclosure, i haven't scoured the Internet to check if she actually said that or not

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  2. Perhaps you should read the article more closely. I.E. check your own facts. Those are quotes attributed to Hillary Clinton. Which politifact rated "false." The article does go on to state that an outside group was asked not to use it and that state officials don't use the term either. Quite a lot to sum up in the short sentence that politifact used to describe the source of the quote. I would agree that better wording could have been chosen on Kertscher's part, but I can only assume that this is why politifact obviously links to the sources of its information; that way you can read everything for yourself. Not sure where the bias is considering they rated a third of her statements as false or mostly false in that article. Full disclosure, i haven't scoured the Internet to check if she actually said that or not

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    Replies
    1. Jimbo Slice wrote:

      **Perhaps you should read the article more closely. I.E. check your own facts. Those are quotes attributed to Hillary Clinton.**

      Yes, and? Perhaps you should read our post more closely.

      **The article does go on to state that an outside group was asked not to use it and that state officials don't use the term either.**

      Are all Florida state government employees (the group Clinton identified) "state officials"? You want hang PolitiFact's credibility on that hook, Jimbo? There' no reporting in that story supporting the claim about "state officials other than employees of the DEP. So how do you figure out which "state officials" its talking about? Just assume the widest possible net? Wow, facts.

      **I can only assume that this is why politifact obviously links to the sources of its information; that way you can read everything for yourself**

      Why do that when there's the option of reporting what the story said accurately?

      //A story made a report along those lines, with DEP employees charging that they had been forbidden to use the term "climate change."//

      See? It's not that hard.

      **Not sure where the bias is considering they rated a third of her statements as false or mostly false in that article.**

      Scroll to the top of the website and read what it says under "PolitiFact Bias."

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