PolitiFact, the increasingly controversial, Pulitizer Prize-winning fact-checking operation of the Tampa Bay Times, consistently rates Republicans as less trustworthy than Democrats, according to a new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University.
The study finds that PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims during President Obama’s second term. Republicans continue to get worse marks in recent weeks, despite controversies over Obama administration statements on Benghazi, the IRS and the AP.
“While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration,” stated CMPA President Dr Robert Lichter in a release. “PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.”
The study examined 100 statements involving factual claims by Democrats (46 claims) and Republicans (54 claims), which were fact-checked by PolitiFact.com during the four month period from the start of President Obama’s second term on January 20 through May 22, 2013.
PolitiFact rated 32% of Republican claims as “false” or “pants on fire,” compared to 11% of Democratic claims – a 3 to 1 margin. Conversely, Politifact rated 22% of Democratic claims as “entirely true” compared to 11% of Republican claims – a 2 to 1 margin.
A majority of Democratic statements (54%) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18% of Republican statements. Conversely, a majority of Republican statements (52%) were rated as mostly or entirely false, compared to only 24% of Democratic statements.
“PolitiFact rates the factual accuracy of specific claims; we do not seek to measure which party tells more falsehoods,” PolitiFact Editor Bill Adair wrote in an email to the Poynter Institute’s Andrew Beaujon. “The authors of this press release seem to have counted up a small number of our Truth-O-Meter ratings over a few months, and then drew their own conclusions.”
Recent events, including controversies over the Obama administration statements regarding Benghazi, the IRS and the Associated Press, have not changed the trajectory of PolitiFact’s findings. Republicans have continued to fare worse than Democrats, with 60% of their claims rated as false so far this month, compared to 29% of Democratic statements – a 2 to 1 margin.
A previous CMPA study found that PolitiFact gave more negative ratings to the Romney campaign than the Obama campaign during the 2012 presidential election campaign