Monday, October 22, 2018

PolitiFact: One Standard For Me and Another For Thee 2

PolitiFact executed another of its superlative demonstrations of hypocrisy this month.

After PolitiFact unpublished its botched fact check about Claire McCaskill and the affordability of private aircraft, it published a corrected (?) fact check changing the rating from "False" to "Half True." Why "Half True" instead of "True"? PolitiFact explained it gave the "Half True" rating because the (Republican) Senate Leadership Fund failed to provide adequate context (bold emphasis added).
The Senate Leadership Fund says McCaskill "even said this about private planes, ‘that normal people can afford it.’"

She said those words, but the footage in the ad leaves out both the lead-in comment that prompted McCaskill’s remark and the laughter that followed it. The full footage makes it clear that McCaskill was wrapping up a policy-heavy debate with a private-aviation manager and with a riff using the airport manager’s words. In context, he was referring to "normal" users of private planes, as opposed to "normal" Americans more generally.

We rate the statement Half True.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that PolitiFact is exactly right (we don't buy it) in the way it recounts the problems with the missing context.

Assuming the missing context in a case like this makes a statement "Half True," how in the world does PolitiFact allow itself to get away the shenanigan PolitiFact writer Jon Greenberg pulled in his article on Sen. Elizabeth Warren's DNA test?

Greenberg (bold emphasis added):
Trump once said she had as much Native American blood as he did, and he had none. At a July 5 rally in Montana, he challenged her to take a DNA test.

"I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian," Trump said.

Trump now denies saying that, but in any event, Warren did get tested and the results did find Native American ancestry.
Trump said those words, but Greenberg's version of the quote leaves out more than half of Trump's sentence, as well as comments that came before. The full quotation makes it clear that Trump's million dollar challenge was presented as a potential future event--a hypothetical, in other words. In context, Trump was referring to a potential future challenge for Warren to take a DNA test as opposed to making the $1 million challenge at that moment.

PolitiFact takes Trump just as much, if not more, out of context as the Senate Leadership Fund did with McCaskill.

How does that kind of boundless hypocrisy pass the sniff test? Are the people at PolitiFact that accustomed to their own stench?


Afters

PolitiFact's "In Context" presentation of Trump's million-dollar challenge to Sen. Warren, confirming what we're saying about PolitiFact's Jon Greenberg ignoring the surrounding context (bole emphasis in the original):
(L)et's say I'm debating Pocahontas. I promise you I'll do this: I will take, you know those little kits they sell on television for two dollars? ‘Learn your heritage!’ … And in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she is of Indian heritage because her mother said she has high cheekbones — that is her only evidence, her mother said we have high cheekbones. We will take that little kit -- but we have to do it gently. Because we're in the #MeToo generation, so I have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit, and slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't injure her arm, and we will say: ‘I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian.’
See also: Fact Checkers for Elizabeth Warren

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