Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Left Jab: "Politifact's Fuzzy Case Against Bernie Sanders on Pentagon Spending"

An article from the Huffington Post gets some good pokes in against PolitiFact's less-than-clear reasoning in a fact check of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

We're not convinced of the author's main point. He says the mainstream media have no interest in real discussions of the military budget.

But he makes a pretty good case that the fact check of Sanders is short on facts:
What is the core of PolitiFact's argument? Sanders' claim is "mostly false" not because we have good reason to believe that some very different number is much more likely to be correct - like 20%, or 50%, or 90% - but because the share of the Pentagon budget which goes into fighting ISIS and international terrorism is a fundamentally unknowable fact, like how God passed the time before creating the world. The question is intrinsically outside the scope of human knowledge.
And what does PolitiFact do with questions outside the scope of human knowledge? Why, fact check them, of course!

These types of fact checks occur often on PolitiFact's pages. More often Republicans are the victims of this shoddy approach to fact-checking. But we don't shy away from sharing good examples showing PolitiFact treating Democrats or progressives unfairly.

Update 1/20/16 2129PST: Added links to Huffington Post and PolitiFact articles in first paragraph- Jeff

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