Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NTSH: 95 percent of Clinton's claims "Mostly True" or better?

We tip our hats to Power Line blog for making it easy to add a "Nothing To See Here" item.

With "Nothing To See Here" we take note of political statements deserving of a fact check. But we tend to doubt one will occur. Power Line blog noted a problem with a Nicholas Kristoff column in The New York Times. Kristoff, a liberal columnist, wrote a column highlighting Clinton's position head-and-shoulders above the competition when it comes to PolitiFact report cards. But there was a problem: Kristoff got the key numbers wrong.

Power Line's Steven Hayward compared the original version of Kristoff's column with the Times' later correction of the article.
At the bottom of the column is this short correction:
Correction: April 23, 2016: An earlier version of this column misstated some of the percentages of true statements as judged by PolitiFact.
So how did the original version of Kristof’s column read? Here:
PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize winning fact checking site, calculates that of the Clinton statements it has examined, 95 percent are either true or mostly true.

That’s more than twice as high as the percentages for any of the other candidates, with 46 percent for Bernie Sanders’s, 12 percent for Trump’s, 23 percent for Ted Cruz’s and 33 percent for John Kasich’s. Here we have a rare metric of integrity among candidates, and it suggest that contrary to popular impressions, Clinton is far more honest and trustworthy than her peers.
So we go from 95 percent true to 50 percent true and switch out “far more honest and trustworthy than her peers” for “relatively honest by politician standards,” with the blink of a mere correction.
We've repeatedly noted PolitiFact's weak-to-nonexistent efforts to police the misuse of its "report card" data. If PunditFact and PolitiFact let Kristoff slide on this one, what else are they willing to overlook?

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