Saturday, May 31, 2014

PolitiFact Bias is biased

We get stuff like this all the time:
I read a bit of that site, and it happens to have its own biases.
Well, right.  The authors, Jeff D. and Bryan White, both admit to a conservative bias.

So what?

Again, we freely admit to our personal bias on our About page.  We're honest about our political biases.  That's something you won't get from PolitiFact.  PolitiFact's founding editor (now at Duke University and serving PolitiFact in an advisory role) Bill Adair could have a life-sized cutout of President Obama in his office and they'd never willingly tell you about it because it might make them seem less non-partisan. So that makes PolitiFact more objective than PolitiFact Bias.  Seriously?

There are two kinds of bias in journalism. One is bias that's nestled in the brain, and we're all stuck with it to one degree or another, every one of us.  The important bias is the one that comes out in writing and reporting.  When we make our case that PolitiFact is biased, our goal is to make that case without bias.  We're not perfect, but that's the goal.  And if we're not meeting that goal, we'd love to hear about it.  And you know what doesn't help one bit in helping us meet that goal?  It's comments like this:
I read a bit of that site, and it happens to have its own biases.
If there was some specific case mentioned then maybe we could use it to make an improvement.  But comments like the above typically serve as fallacious attacks on our credibility.  We're not wrong because we bring a conservative bias to our work.  If we're wrong on account of bias, it's because we let that bias introduce errors or fallacious thinking into our work.

We love to hear good criticism, whether constructive or not.  The world could do with less criticism that lacks content, focus or specifics.

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