Monday, May 4, 2015

The Federalist: PunditFact: A Case Study In Fact-Free Hackery

Sean Davis, writing for The Federalist, gives us one of the most detailed critiques of PolitiFact we've seen in some time. Davis wrote to defend an article he wrote on the Clinton Foundation's finances, which PolitiFact's PunditFact rated after Rush Limbaugh repeated the information.

Davis starts strong and keeps it up through the end of his devastating story:
If you like liberal ideologues who label inconvenient facts as “false,” then you’ll love PunditFact. Why? Because PunditFact just declared that a demonstrably true fact was false because, according to PunditFact, the factual claim “ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.” Facts are strange that way. They do tend to give an impression of the truth, even if some people find that impression discomfiting.
As usual, we see special value where Davis shows his interactions with PolitiFact writer Louis Jacobson. Davis takes pains to point out to Jacobson that Clinton Foundation activities don't fit what people typically understand as a charity. That point never surfaces in PunditFact's fact check, despite the fact that it represents Davis' (and probably Limbaugh's) underlying point.

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