Saturday, May 30, 2015

NewsBusters: "PolitiFact's 'Half True' Evaluation of Fiorina Layoffs Claim Is Utterly False and Dishonest"

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer exposes PolitiFact's ongoing difficulty in evaluating context with his article "PolitiFact's 'Half True' Evaluation of Fiorina Layoffs Claim Is Utterly False and Dishonest."

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina made a statement in Forbes about layoffs she made at Hewlitt-Packard while she was CEO. A liberal site took the statement out of context. PolitiFact evaluated the out-of-context attack on Fiorina and found it "Half True."


On May 5, PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson kept with the alleged "fact-checking" web site's actual role as pack of leftist hacks by issuing a fundamentally dishonest "Half True" ruling on a statement made by's cybersquatter. I raise the matter now because the web site's critics, while raising most of the relevant points, haven't gone far enough in tearing apart Jacobson's work.

As his headline states, the cybersquatter "accuses Carly Fiorina of wishing she'd laid off 30,000 employees more quickly" during the Republican presidential candidate's tenure as Hewlett-Packard's CEO which ended a decade ago. The squatter is lying. She didn't make that statement in connection with HP's layoffs. That should have been the end of it, but Jacobson still pretended that the lie is "Half True" in his evaluation.
Blumer's article reminds us of another recent contextual failure by PolitiFact. This one we pointed out at Zebra Fact Check. Rep. Trey Gowdy, chair of the House Benghazi Committee, said on Fox News the committee had received "not a scrap of paper" in response to its requests for the emails of Secretary Clinton's senior staff. PolitiFact, ignoring the context, counted the release of some of Clinton's emails as papers contradicting Gowdy's claim.

We suggest bias might account for PolitiFact's difficulty in properly accounting for context.

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