Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Surprise! Another way PolitiFact rates claims inconsistently

When we saw PolitiFact give a "Mostly False" rating to the claim state spending in Oklahoma had reached an all-time high, it piqued our curiosity.

PolitiFact issued the "Mostly False" rating because the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs used nominal dollars instead of inflation-adjusted dollar in making its claim.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs said that spending this year is on track to be the highest ever. While the raw numbers show that, the statement ignores the impact of inflation, a standard practice when comparing dollars over time. Factoring in inflation shows that real spending was higher in 2009 to 2011.

When population and economic growth are added in, spending has been higher over most of the past decade.

The statement contains an element of truth but it ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate this claim Mostly False.
Considering the claim was arguably "Half True" based on nominal dollars, we wondered if PolitiFact's ruling was consistent with similar cases involving the claims of Democrats.

Given our past experience with PolitiFact, we were not surprised at all to find PolitiFact giving a "Half True" to a Democratic National Committee claim that U.S. security funding for Israel had hit an all-time high. There was one main difference between the DNC's claim and the one from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs: The one from the DNC was false for either nominal dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars (bold emphasis added).
The ad says "U.S. security funding for Israel is at an all-time high." Actually, it was higher in one or two years, depending whether you use inflation-adjusted dollars. In addition, the ad oversells the credit Obama can take for this year’s number. The amount was outlined by a memorandum signed in 2007 under President George W. Bush. On balance, we rate the claim Half True.

That's not just inconsistent, it's PolitiFinconsistent!


The fact check that drew our attention was technically from PolitiFact Oklahoma, but was perpetrated by Jon Greenberg and Angie Drobnic Holan, both veterans of PolitiFact National.

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