Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rolling Stone jumps on PolitiFact's junk science bandwagon

Rolling Stone has joined The New York Times in promoting PolitiFact's unscientific ratings of politicians' truthfulness.

PolitiFact admits it exercises discretion in choosing which fact check stories to pursue. That results in obvious selection bias. So PolitiFact two-facedly admits its work is journalistic and not social science while encouraging readers to draw conclusions from its data with caution.

What kind of "caution"? The data are approximately worthless.

Image from Rolling Stone magazine

Rolling Stone indulges in the same equivocation games The New York Times foisted on its readership.

If PolitiFact rates a statement "False," Rolling Stone helpfully translates that into "Lied." That's exactly the kind of word game political ads often play. The liberal press does exactly the same thing while donning a deceitful mask of fairness.

They're hypocrites.

And how about the deck?
And Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the most truthful, according to PolitiFact's analysis

So the stories are selected via discretion (selection bias) and PolitiFact has an impossibly subjective ratings scale, but totaling the ratings of the various candidates is supposed to qualify as "analysis." That's a lie, if we can borrow the way the Times and Rolling Stone employ the term.

And why is the word "bias" completely absent from the story? Is Rolling Stone unaware that journalism is the profession exhibiting the greatest ideological imbalance in the United States?

Maybe these journalists know the data don't mean anything but promote it anyway to get clicks and influence elections.

Maybe these journalists don't have a clue.

Either way, not good.

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