Monday, December 22, 2014

Mailbag meets windbag

PolitiFact published a "Lie of the Year" edition of its "Mailbag" feature on Dec. 22, 2014. Criticism by Hot Air's Noah Rothman drew immediate mention:
Noah C. Rothman at the conservative blog Hot Air took issue with our Lie of the Year choice.

"Some of these assertions (that collectively earned the Lie of the Year) were misleading, but PolitiFact’s central thesis – ‘when combined, the claims edged the nation toward panic’ – is unfalsifiable. In the absence of any questioning of the federal response to the Ebola epidemic, an unlikely prospect given the government’s poor performance, PolitiFact cannot prove there would have been no broader apprehension about the deadly African hemorrhagic fever. In fact, to make that claim would be laughable.

"In response to Ebola, Sierra Leone literally canceled Christmas. In Britain, returning health care workers who may have had contact with an Ebola patient will have a lonely holiday as well. They will be forced by government mandate to isolate themselves for the duration of the 21-day incubation period, despite the protestations of health care workers. If Ebola ‘panic’ exists, it is certainly not limited to America and is not the fault of exclusively conservative lawmakers. … PolitiFact embarrassed itself again today, but I guess that’s hardly news."
Rothman's main criticism was PolitiFact's ridiculous primary focus on George Will's true claim that Ebola could be transmitted through the air by a sneeze or a cough.

PolitiFact's guidelines:
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
Left out: the main part of Rothman's criticism.


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