Monday, December 16, 2019

A political exercise: PolitiFact chooses non-impactful (supposed) falsehood as its "Lie of the Year"

PolitiFact chose President Trump's claim that a whistleblower's complaint about his phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky got the facts "almost completely wrong."

We had deemed it unlikely PolitiFact would choose that claim as its "Lie of the Year," reasoning that it failed to measure up to the supposed criterion of carrying a high impact.

We failed to take into account PolitiFact's dueling criteria, explained by PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan back in 2016:
Each year, PolitiFact awards a "Lie of the Year" to take stock of a misrepresentation that arguably beats all others in its impact or ridiculousness.
To be sure, "arguably beats all others in its impact" counts as a subjective criterion. As a bonus, PolitiFact offers itself an alternative criterion based on the "ridiculousness" of a claim.

Everybody who thinks there's an objective way to gauge relative "ridiculousness" raise your hand.

We will not again make the mistake of trying to handicap the "Lie of the Year" choice based on the criteria PolitiFact publicizes. Those criteria are hopelessly subjective and don't tell the real story.

It's more simple and direct to predict the outcome based on what serves PolitiFact's left-leaning interests.

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