Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fact-checker can't tell the difference between "trusted" and "trustworthy"?

PolitiFact just makes criticism too easy.

Today PolitiFact's PunditFact highlighted a Pew Research poll that found many people do not trust Rush Limbaugh as a news source. The fact checkers published their article under the headline "Pew study finds Rush Limbaugh least trustworthy news source."

No, we're not kidding.

As if botching the headline isn't bad enough, the article contains more of PolitiFact's deceptive framing:
PunditFact is tracking the accuracy of claims made on the five major networks using our network scorecards. By that measure, 61 percent of the claims fact-checked on Fox News have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, the most among any of the major networks.
As PolitiFact's methodology for constructing its scorecards lacks any scientific basis, this information is a curiosity at best. But by juxtaposing it with the polling data from Pew Research, the reader gets a gentle nudge in the direction of "Ah, yes, so the accuracy of PolitiFact's scorecards is supported by this polling!" That's bunk.

The scientific angle would come from an investigation into whether prior impressions of trustworthiness influence the ratings organizations like PolitiFact give to their subjects.

If PunditFact's article passes as responsible journalism then journalism is a total waste of time.

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