Tuesday, October 16, 2012

PolitiFact presidential debate irony alert

PolitiFact has for the umpteenth time given a "Pants on Fire" rating for saying that President Obama went on an "apology tour."

The graphic accompanying the rating calls for an irony alert.

We've been over this before, but here's the condensed version:

  1. PolitiFact arbitrarily dismisses the expert testimony it solicited from Nile Gardiner.
  2. PolitiFact ignores the presence of the basic elements of an apology (expressing regret for actions that offend the other party in an effort to help smooth things over) in favor of focusing on the absence of "I'm sorry."
The ruling makes no sense, but PolitiFact keeps repeating it as though the repetition will make it true.


  1. Nile Gardiner's testimony is not "expert". The "apology tour" nonsense is a massive lie, and fully deserves the "Pants on Fire" rating.

  2. PolitiFact referred to Gardiner as an expert.

    We've argued in the past that Gardiner is actually the most qualified of the cited experts (PolitiFact's word) to weigh in on this subject. His expertise is in foreign policy, and that makes him qualified to determine how Obama's words may potentially be interpreted by their intended audience.

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. Or maybe "Red XIV" has simply discovered a massive error by PolitiFact:

    We asked several experts in 2010 if Obama had apologized. Here’s a recap of their thoughts (read more here):

    • Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy analyst ...

  4. What exactly does the term "apology tour" mean in the context of this discussion? To whom is the "apology tour" directed and why? Lastly, how is the dismissal of Nile Gardiner's expert testimony arbitrary?

    1. 1) "Apology tour" refers to a series of speeches Barack Obama gave in different locations around the globe that express regret for past U.S. policy. His regret sends a message that he thinks the policies were morally flawed, and that in turn leads to his speeches having the same value as an apology: Expressing regret as a means of smoothing things over.

      2) The "apology tour" was directed at Europeans and Muslims, among other groups, to signal a change in the U.S. approach to foreign policy while trying to counteract any lingering bad effects those policies would supposedly have on the U.S. image abroad.

      3) The dismissal of Gardiner's testimony is arbitrary because PolitiFact does not offer a word to explain it.

      You could have asked a tougher question, like "What is your name?"

    2. Ah, ok. I think I understand now.


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