Thursday, January 30, 2014

PolitiFact: half mostly false, therefore false

It's PolitiFact potpourri!

We've had something like this happen at least once before, with Mitt Romney the focus of the fact check.  This time, PolitiFact was testing a viral claim making the rounds on Facebook:
The post has an element of truth but takes information out of context and requires a good deal of clarification. We rate this claim False.
The problem's so obvious that one would think layers of editors would be all over it.

Here's how PolitiFact defines "False":
FALSE – The statement is not accurate.
Here's how PolitiFact defines "Mostly False"(bold emphasis added):
MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
This is how PolitiFact defines "Half True" (bold emphasis added):
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
And here's how PolitiFact defines "Mostly True" (bold emphasis added):
MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.
PolitiFact rates a statement "False" because it matches parts of PolitiFact's definitions of "Mostly True," "Half True" and "Mostly False."  And that kind of sums up the problem with PolitiFact.

Rocket science it's not.  Subjective it is.

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