Thursday, August 18, 2016

PolitiFact says Democrat's statement is misleading and so rates it "True"

It's really a very small wonder that PolitiFact remains so popular with the many Democrats who comment on PolitiFact's Facebook page. PolitiFact is good to Democrats. Often it's hard to see why without seeing the benevolence as a sign of PolitiFact's liberal bias.

Take the case of PolitiFact Texas and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

Castro, appearing at the Texas Democratic Party's state convention, implied California's economy was outperforming that of Texas. PolitiFact sourced its quotation of Castro to the Dallas Morning News:
“Today, California is kicking our butt, creating more jobs and more economic growth than Texas,” he said. “Maybe what we need to do is trade in [California] Gov. Jerry Brown for Gov. Greg Abbott and get better results.”
PolitiFact ruled Castro's claim "True," defined as "The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing."

With PolitiFact's help, Democrats like Castro seem to have a knack for saying true things that have nothing significant missing even when something significant is missing.

We don't have to do any digging of our own to find the misleading part of Castro's claim. Tara Sinclair, one of the experts PolitiFact Texas interviewed, points it out:
Tara Sinclair, chief economist for Indeed, a job-posting service, pointed out by email that Texas has long enjoyed a lower unemployment rate--a facet Castro didn’t mention.


 All in all, Sinclair said by email, "focusing on the total number of people employed is misleading due to the different population sizes of the two states. By both the unemployment rate (a standard measure of labor market health) as well as the employment to population ratio, Texas's labor market actually looks healthier than California's."
This bit of information Castro left out was so unimportant PolitiFact metnioned it again in its conclusion (bold emphasis added):
Castro said that "today," California is "creating more jobs and more economic growth than Texas."

These fightin’ words hold up based on recent jobs growth and relative changes in GDP and personal income. Still (just a tad whiney here) would it hurt to acknowledge that Texas continues to enjoy a lower unemployment rate?

We rate this claim True.
So Castro's statement was misleading, according to the cited expert, falsely suggesting that California's labor market is healthier than Texas' labor market.

Nothing significant was left out?

We've charged that PolitiFact's "Truth-O-Meter" grading system is hopelessly subjective, and this case helps illustrate the point. What is the objective cutoff point between leaving out something significant and leaving out something insignificant? And if PolitiFact finds something insignificant was left out, does it makes sense to point out something insignificant to its readers?

PolitiFact has never publicized any criteria that would show it bases its ratings on objective benchmarks. PolitiFact's "star chamber" of at least three editors decides what is significant and what isn't. By and large, PolitiFact's readers will know nothing about what was discussed by the "star chamber." Nor will PolitiFact's readers know how the editors voted. And here's a fact: Not one single member of PolitiFact's Supreme Court was picked by a Republican president.

That's one way to institutionalize bias ...

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