Thursday, October 3, 2013

Out: Bill Adair. In: Angie Drobnic Holan

Yesterday, PolitiFact announced that Angie Drobnic Holan will replace Bill Adair as the organization's chief editor.  Adair, despite his difficulty in coming to grips with the concept of selection bias, was recruited by Duke University into the halls of academia.

What does this mean?

Well, it gives us an opportunity to see how PolitiFact performs with and without Bill Adair.  We expected/hoped to see some improvement in PolitiFact's performance when Adair departed.  But we got the impression that PolitiFact was even worse after Adair moved on to Duke.  Is it the effects of a rudderless ship, or do we have an early preview of the new PolitiFact since Holan has already assumed much of Adair's role?

We're inclined to give Holan a clean slate.  But we don't have our hopes up.  Holan's been inside the PolitiFact bubble since its initial inflation, and we have plenty of evidence of her participation in various PolitiFact missteps (more).

Comical note:

About an hour before PolitiFact published its announcement about Holan, I emailed J.D. saying "When are they announcing Holan's new role as PF head editor?"

Am I psychic?  No.  The timing of my question was hilariously coincidental, but I'd noticed a recent increase in search engine queries including Angie Drobnic Holan in the search terms.  It made sense to take that information as a sign that leaks had started to occur.

J.D. adds:

I'll go on record as saying PolitiFact has become brazenly more partisan since Adair's departure, something I didn't think was possible. I'm not sure if Adair was actually a half decent editor or simply better at hiding the St. Petersburg Obama Fan Club's bias. Either way the results have been comically awful. Whatever leash Adair was holding on Jacobson has been cut loose by Holan.

Regardless, we look forward to critiquing Holan's tenure as the Undisputed Arbiter of Fact. We'd also like to congratulate Bill Adair for the unforgettable impression he's making on Duke University's future Pulitzer winners.

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