Editor’s note: The following post is from Ben Kirby, author of the Spencerian. Please visit his site here.
I have had my words for PolitiFact. Whether it’s their riduculous rulings on how many donuts the Governor of Florida sold — helpful! — or their “lie of the year” which was happened to be, well, true, it’s all what the kids call a hot mess.
I don’t want to get into it too much, but they screwed up a ruling on the State of the Union last night — and it’s bad. So egregious was their error, they have been forced to backtrack:
Have private-sector jobs grown by 3 million in 22 months, with the best annual totals since 2005?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original Half True rating was based on an interpretation that Obama was crediting his policies for the jobs increase. But we’ve concluded that he was not making that linkage as strongly as we initially believed and have decided to change the ruling to Mostly True. The original article is archived here.
Skipping ahead to the ruling:
Obama is correct on the numbers. By mentioning his policies, he’s making a modest linkage that they deserve credit for the improvement when economists say they are just one factor. On balance, we rate the claim Mostly True.
Great, Mostly True versus the original Half True.
That right there is at the heart of my problem with PolitiFact. What the fuck is the difference? Half True? “Mostly” true? Did private-sector jobs growby 3 million in 22 months or not? It’s a binary equation: yes or no. True or false.
It probably won’t be, but this could be the end for the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact. See, the thing about checking facts is you have to at least appear like you don’t have an agenda (and between naming the true Democratic ads discussing Medicare as the “lie of the year”, and one of the Democratic president’s lines about the recovering economy in the State of the Union as only “half true” when it was entirely true, it appears as though PolitiFact may have a bias, here). You also have to appear like you know what you’re talking about.
And that’s more than half true.