Monday, January 3, 2011

Washington Examiner-Politifact Is Often More Politics Than Facts

Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner exposes flaws in Politifact's rating of Rand Paul. The Kentuckian pointed out a disparity between private and public worker compensation-
The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year.
Politifact rated him False. They explained that Paul might confuse his audience-
Since most people usually think about how much they, their spouses and their colleagues get paid in salary alone — not salary plus benefits — we think most people hearing this statement would assume that Paul means that the average federal employee gets paid a salary of $120,000. That’s simply not true.
Politifact offered no evidence that "most people" would think Paul was talking about salary alone. And Hemingway was quick to point this out-
"So what they’re saying is not that what Paul said was literally false, but that according to how they think people will understand what he said, it’s not true. Come again?"
Hemingway concludes that despite Politifact framing the fact-check to their own ambiguous standards, they still missed the mark-
"Politifact does make one relevant point about the average private sector worker not being an apples-to-apples comparison to the average federal worker, but that has no bearing on what Paul actually said and hardly justifies the exorbitant compensation federal workers get."
You can read the entire article here.

You can also read a companion critique at Sublime Bloviations, that points out another flaw with the Politifact piece. Three months prior to the Paul rating Politifact came to a different conclusion when they rated Mike Keown.

This represents three separate fact checks on basically the same issue with two different conclusions.

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