Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Another nugget from the Hollyfield interview

In an earlier post we pointed out how managing editor Amy Hollyfield of PolitiFact described its "Truth-O-Meter" in terms hard to reconcile with those used by PolitiFact's creator, Bill Adair.

The Hollyfield interview published at The Politic (Yale University) contains other amusing nuggets, such as this howler (bold emphasis added):
We take accuracy very seriously. Transparency is one of the key things we focus on, which is why we publish all the sources for our fact checks. We flag every correction and have a subject tag called “correction,” so you can see every fact check we’ve put a correction on.
We find Hollyfield's assertion offensive, especially as it occurs in response to a question about this website, PolitiFact Bias.

PolitiFact does a poor job of consistently adding the subject tags to corrected articles.

We pointed out an example in December 2016. PolitiFact California changed the rating of a fact check from "True" to "Half True," publishing a new version of its fact check from months earlier. Weeks later, PolitiFact California has yet to add a tag to the article that would make it appear on PolitiFact's "Corrections and Updates" page.

Maybe PolitiFact California does not regard rewriting an article as a correction or update?

How about PolitiFact Pennsylvania from January 2017? Lawyers pointed out that the Pennsylvania PolitiFact franchise incorrectly described the standard of evidence courts use for criminal cases. PolitiFact Pennsylvania ran a correction (the correction made the fact check incoherent, but that's another story), but added no tag to the story.


So, contrary to what Hollyfield claims, the corrected story is not transparently presented on its "Corrections and Updates" page.

PolitiFact's spotty compliance with its statement of principles is not new. We even complained about the problem to Paul Tash, the president of the Tampa Bay Times (Nov. 18, 2016). But we've noticed no improvement.

PolitiFact does not have a page that transparently informs readers of all of its corrections.

Will you believe Amy Hollyfield or your own lyin' eyes?

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