Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CJR's interview with Robert Higgs

Columbia Journalism Review has posted online an interview with the editor of PolitiFact Ohio, Robert Higgs.

Though it was tempting to quote the positive, where Higgs expressed reservations about labeling a subject as a "liar," the winner for the PFB spotlight was this cringe-worthy response by Higgs:
What is your audience like? Do you have any sense of how it compares to the audience for the regular political or news coverage?

It is very diverse. I know we have readers who are very conservative, and I know we have readers who are very liberal who read it every day. I get email from all ends of the political spectrum, both criticizing us because they don’t like what we wrote or suggesting items to take a look at. I like that. I get hit from both sides, with people accusing me of having a leftist bias or an obvious conservative bent. It’s refreshing to know we are hitting somewhere down the middle.


Recommended question for the next Higgs interview:

Mr. Higgs, when PolitiFact Ohio uses the "Half True" grade on the 'Truth-O-Meter,' is it defined as "The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context" or is it defined as "The statement is accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context"?

Follow up: 

Has that definition ever changed at PolitiFact Ohio?

Jeff adds: This oft repeated notion that if PolitiFact is upsetting both sides, they must be doing something right, is grossly flawed. "If I put this foot in a bucket of ice, and my other foot in a smelting pot, it follows that I'll be perfectly comfortable." If the best self-analysis PolitiFact editors can come up with is a cliche that doesn't work, it's no surprise their fact checks get the same uncritical review.

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