Friday, June 3, 2011

Hoystory: "PolitiFraud"

Matthew Hoy of the Hoystory blog blasted two recent PolitiFact stories in a recent post.

The first of the two we have already highlighted.  The second had PolitiFact finding "Half True" a Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) claim that the Bush administration turned the $5.6 trillion surplus it inherited from the Clinton administration into an "$11-plus trillion debt."

Normal people might conclude that being off by 98 percent would earn you a false. You’d be wrong. Politifact deemed this statement “half-true.”


Well, Politifact writer Louis Jacobson and editor Bill Adair apparently really wanted to believe Hoyer, so they allowed themselves to be convinced by this ridiculous explanation:
But when we spoke to Hoyer’s office, they said he was actually using a different yardstick for the first figure.

They said Hoyer was referring to the $5.61 trillion in surpluses that the Congressional Budget Office — the nonpartisan number-crunching arm of Congress — had predicted in January 2001 would materialize over the next 10 years, based on the fiscal outlook at the end of Clinton’s tenure. (Hoyer’s office confirmed our conclusion about the second figure.)
Not only was Hoyer comparing apples to oranges when he made his statement—conflating annual deficit numbers with the overall national debt—but his extended explanation to Politifact suggests he meant to compare apples to kumquats. That apparently makes it half-okay.
Visiting Hoystory to read the whole thing is mandatory.

The same outfit that wants you to believe it "Barely True" that the U.S. ranked 25th in defense spending as a percentage of GDP wants you to believe it's "Half True" that Bush inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus.

That's the wonderful world of PolitiFact fact checking.

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