Monday, October 15, 2018

Taylor Swift's Candidates Lag in Polls--PolitiFact Hardest Hit?

We noted pop star Taylor Swift's election endorsement statement drew the selective attention of the fact checkers left-leaning bloggers at PolitiFact.

We've found it hilarious over the past several days that PolitiFact has mercilessly pimped its Swiftian fact check repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook.

Now with polls showing Swift's candidates badly trailing the Republican counterparts we can only wonder: Is PolitiFact the entity hardest hit by Swift's failure (so far) to make a critical difference in putting the Democrats over the top?

The Biggest Problem with PolitiFact's Fact Check of Taylor Swift

The Swift claim PolitiFact chose to check was the allegation that Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn voted against the Violence Against Women Act. We noted that PolitiFact's choice of topic, given the fact that Swift made at least four claims that might interest a fact checker, was likely the best choice from the liberal point of view.

Coincidentally(?), PolitiFact pulled the trigger on that choice. But as we pointed out in our earlier post, PolitiFact still ended up putting its finger on the scales to help its Democratic Party allies.

It's true Blackburn voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (PolitiFact ruled it "Mostly True").

But it's also true that Blackburn voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.


Not quite. VAWA came up for reauthorization in 2012.Blackburn co-sponsored a VAWA reauthorization bill and voted in favor. It passed the House with most Democrats voting in opposition.

And the amazing thing is that the non-partisan fact checkers liberal bloggers at PolitiFact didn't mention it. Not a peep. Instead, PolitiFact began its history of the reauthorization of the VAWA in 2013:
The 2013 controversy
The Violence Against Women Act was two decades old in 2013 when Congress wrestled with renewing the funds to support it. The law paid for programs to prevent domestic violence. It provided money to investigate and prosecute rape and other crimes against women. It supported counseling for victims.

The $630 million price tag was less the problem than some specific language on non-discrimination.

The Senate approved its bill first on Feb. 12, 2013, by a wide bipartisan margin of 78 to 22. That measure redefined underserved populations to include those who might be discriminated against based on religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Starting the history of VAWA reauthorization in 2013 trims away the bothersome fact that Blackburn voted for VAWA reauthorization in 2012. Keeping that information out of the fact check helps sustain the misleading narrative that Republicans like Blackburn are okay with violence against women.

As likely as not that was PolitiFact's purpose.

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