Sunday, December 10, 2023

Example Umpteen Showing How PolitiFact Goes Easier on Democrats

We only wish we had the time and money needed to document as much as 10 percent of PolitiFact's flawed and biased work.

We've documented a number of times PolitiFact's penchant for ignoring its central principle for grading numbers claims. PolitiFact's founding editor Bill Adair declared that the most important part of a numbers claim is its underlying point. But PolitiFact will ignore the underlying point at the drop of a hat if it will benefit a Democrat.

Newsom vs Haley

Newsom and "per capita" interstate migration

Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, defending himself from the charge that California is losing population while Florida gains population, said  "Per capita, more Floridians move to California than Californian's moving to Florida." PolitiFact rated the claim "Mostly True."

What's the underlying point of Newsom's claim? Does it address California's population loss compared to Florida's population gain?

No. Newsom's claim instead distracts from the issue with a pretty much meaningless statistic. Experts PolitiFact cited in the fact check underscored that fact. Note this line from PolitiFact's summary:
Experts gave varying answers about whether the margin was statistically significant, but they agreed that the slim differences make this argument technical, and not necessarily meaningful.
So, PolitiFact effectively ignored Newsom's underlying point (distracting from Sean Hannity's question) and gave him nearly full credit for telling the truth about a meaningless statistic.

Haley and ship counts as a measure of military strength

Contrast PolitiFact's treatment of Newsom to its treatment of Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. Haley said China is building up its military, and illustrated her claim by noting China has the largest naval fleet in the world. PolitiFact said she was right with her numbers, but faulted her for her underlying point. "Half True!"

PolitiFact's summary recounts the objections of the experts it interviewed:

Numerically, she’s on target with both countries’ ship counts. But experts say that simply counting ships omits context about a country’s true military capabilities. 

Ship counts ignore overall ship size, specific warfighting capabilities, and overall geographic reach, all of which are metrics where the United States maintains an edge over China.

It's worth noting that Haley made no claim about China's navy possessing more power than the U.S. navy. So why are tonnage and military capability relevant in rating the claim she made?

They're not. But PolitiFact has its excuse for giving Haley a lowball rating compared to the favor they did Newsom. PolitiFact focuses on Haley's underlying point and gives a poor rating for a true claim. PolitiFact ignores Newsom's underlying point and gives him a favorable rating for a claim that might not even be true (check the fine print).

It's part of the baseless narrative PolitiFact weaves: Republicans lie more.

The truth? PolitiFact is biased, and proves it repeatedly with examples like these.

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