What can PolitiFact do to help President Biden?
"But wait," our liberal or progressive friends might object. "That's just PolitiFact reporting the facts. There's no pro-Biden bias there."
On the contrary! And it's completely obvious how PolitiFact favored Biden, particularly in comparison to parallel fact checks of Republicans (and even some other Democrats).
Post Hoc Ergo Propter HocWhat is "post hoc ergo propter hoc"? It's a common logical fallacy that says, in effect, "After this, therefore because of this." For example, if one goes to the doctor and receives a cancer diagnosis, the cancer did not necessarily occur because of the doctor visit.
So, how did Biden play Hispanic unemployment?
"Since he has taken office, unemployment in our community has been cut in half," the narrator says in the ad, which the campaign says is part of a 16-week, $25 million advertising push. Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15.
Unemployment in this community spiked at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, following national trends. The current Latino or Hispanic unemployment rate is similar to what it was in 2019 before the pandemic.
Although presidents can influence economic policies, the factors that contribute to unemployment are complex. The effects of pandemics such as COVID-19 carry more weight than whoever is in the White House.
Addressing the 'Crucial Message'Non-partisan PolitiFact (to be clear, there's no such thing in the sense of lacking bias) would have docked Biden for both deceptions, ending up at "Half True" at best.
About a year ago, we realized we were ducking the underlying point of blame or credit, which was the crucial message. So we began rating those types of claims as compound statements. We not only checked whether the numbers were accurate, we checked whether economists believed an office holder's policies were much of a factor in the increase or decrease.
Apparently the change in methodology Adair led did not lead to consistent practice. The "crucial message" in the Biden ad is the credit Biden deserves for helping the Latino community. That's explicit. Yet PolitiFact ignored the compound claim for purposes of the rating, gifting Biden with a "Mostly True" where "Half True" would have made PolitiFact appear consistent in this case.
But PolitiFact is not consistent. PolitiFact is biased. Its bias bends its principles with ease.