Saturday, July 4, 2015

PolitiFact Wisconsin: The privileged, prominent and wealthy are superheroes

PolitiFact Wisconsin gives us a July 2015 item that helpfully reminds us of PolitiFact's singular ability to take the statements of political figures--especially conservatives--out of context.

The item was not a fact check, but rather an article about a statement by Governor Scott Walker, running as a Republican presidential candidate. Walker said he had viewed the founding fathers like superheroes when he was a boy. Walker said he came to the realization they were simply ordinary people who did something extraordinary.

Cue PolitiFact Wisconsin, which found Walker's story fishy (bold emphasis added):
Walker has many times called the founding fathers ordinary people. And while campaigning, he has emphasized that he himself doesn’t come from wealth or prominence, even bragging that he bought a sweater for a dollar.

But his recent retelling of the story seemed contradictory, given that he referred to the founding fathers not only as ordinary, but as businessmen with political careers.
So businessmen with political careers are not ordinary. They are the superheroes perceived by the boy Walker.

"But wait," one might object. "Perhaps Walker was saying the founding fathers were ordinary in the sense that they were not privileged or wealthy."

Of course we thought of that. We looked for that idea in the context of Walker's remarks. Instead, we found more references to "superheroes."

PolitiFact Wisconsin supplied a substitute context, the idea that Walker discovered the founding fathers were not the elites of their day, and ignored the context Walker supplied, realizing the founding fathers were not "larger than life" superhero types.

Taken to its conclusion, PolitiFact Wisconsin's reasoning suggests businessmen with political careers are larger than life. They're superheroes.

In the end, it's just another in a long line of left-leaning editorials served up by PolitiFact under the "nonpartisan" label. PolitiFact Wisconsin twisted Walker's words and meaning.

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