A relative newcomer to the fact-checking the fact-checkers club, MetaFact Group, today published an on-target item showing yet another example of a misleading PolitiFact technique.
It's PolitiFact's method of putting words, or at least an implied argument, into the mouth of another.
PolitiFact has rated as “half true” a headline by the Gateway Pundit that accurately summarizes the findings of a study by Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University, showing those vaccinated against COVID-19 were 13 times more likely to still be infected than those not vaccinated (but recovered from covid--Ed.). The study states “SARS-CoV-2-naïve vaccinees had a 13.06-fold (95% CI, 8.08 to 21.11) increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those previously infected.”
PolitiFact said the headline was misleading because the study had not yet passed peer review and the headline also supposedly implied that it was a good idea not to receive the vaccine (bold emphasis added):
The headline accurately reflects some of the study’s findings but ignores the study’s limitations, including that only one vaccine was tested, and that other studies have found that COVID-19 poses much greater danger to people who have not been vaccinated.
Without that context, the headline leaves the impression that it’s safer to get COVID-19 and hope to recover than to try to avoid it by getting vaccinated. That’s not true.
This is the same PolitiFact that recently told us that fossil fuel power plants kill millions of birds annually without informing its readers that the estimate was based almost entirely on predictions of how many birds climate change might kill in the future. The research paper averaged predicted future bird deaths out over a 40-year period. Because science. See more details at Bryan's Zebra Fact Check site.
It's okay for PolitiFact fact checkers to skimp on context. But it's not okay for you, me, or Gateway Pundit.
MetaFact Group also made a critical point about the legitimacy of the Gateway Pundit article:
(K)nowing that natural immunity maybe [sic] superior to vaccine-based immunity is a relevant point of discussion for a university considering whether it can mandate its students, faculty and staff take the COVID-19 vaccines.Read the article at Meta Fact Group and bookmark the site.