Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Not a Lot of Reader Confusion VIII

We say that PolitiFact's graphs and charts, including its PunditFact collections of ratings for news networks, routinely mislead readers. PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan says she doesn't notice much of that sort of thing. This series looks to help acquaint Holan and others with the evidence.

Oh, look. Another journal article using PolitiFact's report card data to judge the veracity of a politician (bold emphasis added):
Political fact-checking organizations and the mainstream media reported extensively on Trump’s false statements of fact and unsubstantiated generalizations. And they noted that he made such statements in staggering proportions. For example, by April of 2017, Politifact assessed 20% of Trump’s statements as mostly false, 33% as false, and 16% as what it called “pants on fire” false— cumulatively suggesting that the vast majority of the time Trump was making either false or significantly misleading statements to the public.
That's from The Resilience of Noxious Doctrine: The 2016 Election, the Marketplace of Ideas, and the Obstinacy of Bias.

The article, by Leonard M. Niehoff and Deeva Shah, appeared in the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.

The authors should be ashamed of themselves for making that argument based on data subject to selection bias and ideological bias.

On the bright side, we suppose such use of PolitiFact data may successfully model the obstinacy of bias.

We recommend to the authors this section of their article:
Confirmation bias, discussed briefly above, is another common type of anchoring bias. Confirmation bias describes our tendency to value facts and opinions that align with those we have already formed. By only referencing information and viewpoints that affirm previously held beliefs, people confirm their biased views instead of considering conflicting data and ideas.

Correction: Fixed link to Noxious Doctrine paper 1838PST 12/26/2017-Jeff

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