Sunday, July 14, 2019

PolitiFact Texas punches "spin cycle" for Julián Castro

Is it possible left-leaning fact checkers still do not realize how their ideologies affect their work?

Consider PolitiFact Texas.


See what PolitiFact Texas did, there?

It presents an accurate hybrid paraphrase quotation of Castro asserting that Section 1325 of U.S. immigration law was put into place in 1929 by a segregationist. And promptly spins the Castro claim into the innocuous-but-loaded "When did it become a crime to cross the U.S.-Mexico border?"

Hilariously, the fact check spends most of its time examining facts other than when it became a crime to cross the border. Instead, it focuses on whether Section 1325 was enacted in 1929 (finding it was not) and whether the legislator who wrote the legislation was a segregationist.

PolitiFact Texas used nine paragraphs to address the segregationist past of Sen. Coleman Livingston Blease, the man who composed the language of an immigration bill in 1929.

Castro was evidently trying to make the point that he was trying to repeal a racist piece of legislation, racist because it was written by a segregationist. Castro was using the genetic fallacy on his audience. PolitiFact took no note of it, instead playing along by fact-checking whether Blease was a segregationist and finding a politically active expert to opine that the Blease-authored legislation was aimed at immigration from Mexico.

Such background does not help establish when it became a crime (at least under certain conditions) to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. It's background information that just happens (?) to support the subtext of Castro's claim.

As for Castro's implication that it was Blease who implemented the policy--as though a U.S. senator has that kind of power--well, that's just not the sort of thing that interests PolitiFact Texas.

In the end, PolitiFact Texas found it false that Blease authored the section of the immigration law Castro mentioned.

But why should that stand in the way of a favorable "Mostly True" rating?

PolitiFact's summary conclusion (bold emphasis added):
Castro said Section 1325 immigration policy, which makes it a crime to enter the country illegally, was "put into place in 1929, by a segregationist."

Technically Blease — a white supremicist [sic] who advocated for segregationist policies and lynching —  was not the author of the statute on illegal entry into the United States as it exists in today’s immigration code. 

But it was the first policy criminalizing all unlawful entry at the nation's southern border, and is considered the foundation of the 1952 policy that  evolved into today's Section 1325.

We rate this claim Mostly True.
Technically false, therefore "Mostly True."

That's how PolitiFact rolls. That's how PolitiFact Texas rolls.

It's spin, not fact-checking. Castro did not assert that the criminalization policy started in 1929. Castro asserted that Section 1325 was put into place in 1929.

Fact checkers should prove capable of noticing the difference. And keeping the spin out of their fact checks.

1 comment:

  1. Politifact is a freaking disgrace. But of course they are the ones that decide for facebook which posts should be flagged as fakenews.

    ReplyDelete