Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Madison Forum: "Not Politifact; Just Politicopinion"

In March of this year J. Randolph Evans of "The Madison Forum" clobbered PolitiFact over its failure to cleave to objective standards in its fact checks: 
(W)ith a name like Politifact, readers might think that in at least one area, newspapers had abandoned their biases for one brief moment of objectivity. Do not be fooled. Hidden within the clever marketing names like Politifact and the nifty ratings like pants-on-fire, newspapers still filter in their biases.
Evans used a fact check of Mitt Romney's claim about President Obama's international policy tour as his example.

Even though Politifact writers by their own admission “reviewed several analyses of what Obama’s foreign policy goals are in traveling the world and readily admitting to America’s mistakes,” they could never bring themselves to the Politifact of the matter; instead they opted for politicopinion.
Evans goes straight for his point and makes it well, though he could have strengthened his case even more by pointing out PolitiFact's eye-popping arbitrary dismissal of one of the expert opinions it sought (bold emphasis added):
We sent Obama's remarks to several different experts on foreign policy and apologies, to see if they thought Obama was apologizing.

Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy analyst with the the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Obama is definitely apologizing, and it's not good. He co-wrote the Heritage analysis, "Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower."
That's true fact checking.  If an expert gives a take you don't agree with or is out of step with other experts, just ignore them.  In the name of the Truth, of course.

Evans makes a number of good points about modern American journalism, so pay The Madison Forum a visit and read the whole bit.

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