Friday, October 7, 2016

PolitiFact and the Trump tax return promise

The liberal bloggers at PolitiFact have weighed in on whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has broken his promise to release his tax returns. Trump, PolitiFact says, has broken his promise. We know PolitiFact says this thanks to the "False" rating it gave Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, for saying Trump has not broken his promise.



There's a problem for PolitiFact, here. Pence is right, at least if PolitiFact is giving us the right version(s) of Trump's promise. PolitiFact provided no versions of the promise with any deadline attached.

A promise made with no deadline for keeping the promise is never broken, unless we count death as a deal breaker.

PolitiFact has apparently confused not keeping a promise with breaking a promise.

So long as Trump has not released his tax returns, he has not kept his promise to release his tax returns. But lacking a deadline for keeping the promise, until Trump has passed up every opportunity he will ever have to keep the promise, he has not broken the promise.

It's a simple matter of logic.

But, but, but, but ....


Trump implied that he would release his returns before election day!

Yes, perhaps so. It's an arguable point. But until election day rolls around and Trump has not released his tax returns, Trump has not broken his promise. And Pence is right to say so.


It's a simple matter of logic.



So why does PolitiFact struggle so with simple matters of logic?

2 comments:

  1. Assuming you intend for this argument to be taken seriously for a moment, apply your 'logic' to some additional facts. Trump has also said that he will release his tax returns when Clinton releases the 30k emails that have been deleted. Since Trump acknowledges that these emails have been deleted, and since Clinton can't release something she doesn't have, Trump is effectively saying he will only release his tax returns when a condition occurs which he knows can never occur. Accordingly, per Trump's own statements and what you call logic, Trump is not going to release his tax returns, and Politifact was correct in rating Pence's claim false.

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    1. John Peluso wrote:

      **Assuming you intend for this argument to be taken seriously for a moment, apply your 'logic' to some additional facts.**

      I was clear in the post that its reasoning deals with PolitiFact's presentation of the evidence. If you introduce other evidence then you're not dealing with the logic of the post, but rather trying to sidestep it.

      If one uses logic regarding the new information you're introducing, the new promise should not be seen to negate the old one. Trump promised to release his returns, and he has promised to release them as soon as Clinton releases her deleted emails. That only introduces a deadline if Clinton releases her emails, which you say is impossible.

      What you've cleverly done, John Peluso, is introduce an IFF (if and only if) clause in the promise you're adding to the mix.

      It remains simple logic that Trump has not broken his promise. There's no deadline, according to you, so he can still fulfill his promise so long as we do not dishonestly add an IFF clause to his deadline pledge.

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