Saturday, August 25, 2018

PolitiFact's Fallacious "Burden of Proof" Bites a Democrat? Or Not

We're nonpartisan because we defend Democrats unfairly harmed by the faulty fact checkers at PolitiFact.

See how that works?

On with it, then:

Oops.

Okay, we made a faulty assumption. We thought when we saw PolitiFact's liberal audience complaining about the treatment of Nelson that it meant Nelson had received a "False" rating based on Nelson not offering evidence to support his claim.

But PolitiFact did not give Nelson a "Truth-O-Meter" rating at all. Instead of the "Truth-O-Meter" graphic for the claim (there is none), PolitiFact gave its readers the "Share The Facts" version:



Republicans (and perhaps Democrats) have received poor ratings in the past where evidence was lacking, which PolitiFact justifies according to its "burden of proof" criterion. But either the principle has changed or else PolitiFact made an(other) exception to aid Nelson.

If the principle has changed that's good. It's stupid and fallacious to apply a burden of proof standard in fact checking, at least where one determines a truth value based purely on the lack of evidence.

But's it's small consolation to the people PolitiFact unfairly harmed in the past with its application of this faulty principle.


Afters:

In April 2018 it looks like the "burden of proof" principle was still a principle.



As we have noted before, it often appears that PolitiFact's principles are more like guidelines than actual rules.

And to maintain our nonpartisan street cred, here's PolitiFact applying the silly burden of proof principle to a Democrat:


If "burden of proof" counts as one of PolitiFact's principles then PolitiFact can only claim itself as a principled fact checker if the Nelson exception features a principled reason justifying the exception.

If anyone can find anything like that in the non-rating rating of Nelson, please drop us a line.

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