Tag Archives: Lies

Fact-checking the fact-checkers: is Politifact reliable or biased?

Politifact is a web site run by some left-wing journalists at the Tampa Bay Times. As you might expect from academic studies of media bias, their content might as well be written by the Democrat Party. But it’s not enough to just declare Politifact a Democrat propaganda operation – I need to actually give you details and examples. And so I will, in the rest of this post.

Let’s start with two recent examples, then I’ll show you the worst example of media bias I have ever seen from Politifact.

Missouri Senate Race

Here’s one analysis from the Daily Wire:

On Tuesday, Politifact, which purports to be a neutral fact-checking website but in fact leans heavily to the left, got caught protecting a member of the Democratic Party: Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Politifact took issue with the ad from The Senate Leadership Fund, a pro-Republican super PAC, that claimed that McCaskill said “normal people” could afford private planes.

[…]After they were corrected, Politifact acknowledged the mistake, writing,

Initially, we published this fact-check with a rating of False, because based on the video available, it did not appear that McCaskill was talking about private planes. After publication, we received more complete video of the question-and-answer session between McCaskill and a constituent that showed she was in fact responding to a question about private planes, as well as a report describing the meeting. We re-assessed the evidence, archived the original version here, and published the version you see here with a new rating of Half True. We apologize for the error.

Daily wire also linked to some more failed Politifact “fact checks”:  herehere, and here.

Arizona Senate Race

Politifact also screwed up their fact-check for the Arizona Senate race.

The Daily Caller explains:

PolitiFact incorrectly labeled it “mostly false” that Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema “protested troops in a pink tutu” during its live fact-check of the Arizona Senate debate Monday night.

It’s an established fact that Sinema, a former Green Party activist who co-founded an anti-war group, wore a pink tutu at one of the multiple anti-war protests she attended in 2003.

“While we were in harm’s way, she was protesting our troops in a pink tutu,” Republican candidate Martha McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, said during Monday night’s debate.

Here’s their Politifact’s evaluation of McSally’s claim:

Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?
Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?

And here’s the photo of Kyrsten Sinema, protesting the troops, in a pink tutu:

Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema
Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema in a pink tutu

The Daily Caller notes:

A 2003 Arizona State University news article at the time described Sinema wearing “something resembling a pink tutu” at one of the protests.

[…]Sinema openly associated with fringe elements of the far-left during her anti-war activism.

She promoted an appearance by Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who was convicted of aiding an Islamic terrorist organization, in 2003.

Sinema also reportedly partnered with anarchists and witches in her anti-war activism and said she did “not care” if Americans wanted to join the Taliban.

Colonel Martha McSally, as I’ve blogged about before, is a former U.S. Air Force A-10 fighter pilot, and squadron commander. She logged a lot of hours leading actual combat missions against America’s enemies – the sorts of people who sell and rape Yazidi girls. She fought them.

And now for the big one: Politifact’s fact-checking of Obamacare.

Obama’s claims about Obamacare

Avik Roy, health care policy expert at Forbes magazine, wrote about Politifact’s assessment of Obama’s promise to Americans about keeping their health plans after Obamacare.

In 2008, before the presidential election, PolitiFact rated Obama’s claims about Obamacare “True”:

Roy writes: (links removed)

On October 9, 2008, Angie Drobnic Holan of PolitiFact published an article using the site’s “Truth-O-Meter” to evaluate this claim: “Under Barack Obama’s health care proposal, ‘if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it.’”

And she concluded:

[…]…people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama’s plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True.”

Roy notes:

PolitiFact’s pronouncements about Obamacare were widely repeated by pro-Obama reporters and pundits, and had a meaningful impact on the outcome of the election. Indeed, in 2009, PolitiFact won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 campaign.

Here’s the screen capture from 2008:

Politifact caught with its pants on fire
Politifact says that everyone who likes their health care plan can keep it

Before the election, it’s true! And Obama got re-elected, because people believed that. But what happened after the election?

In 2013, after the 2012 election, PolitiFact rated Obama’s claims about Obamacare “Pants On Fire”:

Roy writes: (links removed)

On December 12, [2013] the self-appointed guardians of truth and justice at PolitiFact named President Obama’s infamous promise—that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it”—its 2013 “Lie of the Year.”

[…][N]one of the key facts that made that promise “impossible” in 2008 had changed by 2013. The President’s plan had always required major disruption of the health insurance market; the Obamacare bill contained the key elements of that plan; the Obamacare law did as well. The only thing that had changed was the actual first-hand accounts of millions of Americans who were losing their plans now that Obamacare was live.

And the screen capture from 2013:

Politifact says: we were just kidding! Kidding!
Politifact said one thing before the election, and the opposite afterwards

So when Politifact rates a statement by a Democrat as true, what they really mean is that it’s pants-on-fire-false, but it’s election time so they don’t say that. It’s not like the critical assessments of Obamacare from health policy experts were not out there between 2007-2012. I know, because I blogged on every study and report on the predicted effects of the law that I could find. But the intellectually lazy journalism-major clowns at Politifact couldn’t be bothered to read those studies and reports.

Are gay activists telling the truth about violence against transgender people?

Thinking about transgenderism
Thinking about transgenderism

I’ve been interviewing people to see how their views on moral issues are formed, especially the Christians. I noticed that most people don’t have time to consult evidence when forming their opinions. Whether they have a progressive worldview or the conservative view, it’s just easier to form that view based on wanting to feel good and be like instead of based on evidence.

Here’s some evidence from Quillette about one issue where views are often formed from feelings and peer-approval, instead of reason and evidence:

The claim that there’s an “epidemic” of fatal anti-transgender violence in the United States has been made widely in recent years. A Google search for the phrase “epidemic of anti-trans violence” turns up pieces from the New York Times, NBC National News, ABC National News, and the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT lobby group—among 2,500,000 other results. The HRC’s primary on-point article was headlined ‘A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence,’ while the Times led with ‘Eighteen Transgender Killings This Year Raise Fears of an Epidemic.’ Transgender Day of Remembrance has been celebrated since the late 1990s to honor those “members of the transgender community whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence,” and the American Medical Association has stated on record that fatal attacks on transgender people—particularly minority trans women—constitute a large part of an “epidemic of violence” against the trans community.

What’s interesting is that even the far-left Human Rights Campaign, which leads the fight to suppress free speech critical of the gay agenda, admits that the numbers are tiny:

The Human Rights Campaign maintains a year-by-year database containing every known case of a transgender individual being killed by violent means, and gives this number as 29 in 2017, 26 in 2018, and 22 in 2019. Not only do these figures not reflect a year-by-year increase in attacks on trans persons—they are remarkably consistent, and may be trending slightly downwards—they also indicate that the trans murder rate is significantly lower than the murder rate for Americans overall.

Let’s crunch the numbers. Taking the HRC’s highest recent estimate of trans fatalities (29) as representative, and assuming the transgender population to be 0.6 per cent of the U.S. population—although some trans activists argue the true figure is as high as 3 per cent, which would make the murder rate even lower—the total number of murders in a hypothetical all-trans USA would be roughly 4,800 per year (4,833). In other words, if you multiply the population of the US (327,167,434) by 0.6 per cent you get a current transgender population estimate of 1,963,004.6, and if you divide that figure by 29 (the number of murders) you get 67,690—one murder per 67,690 trans citizens. That works out as a projected annual total of 4,833 murders (327,167,434/67,690) in an all-trans America, with an annual murder rate of 1.48 per 100,000 Americans. That’s about one-fourth of the actual current murder rate: there were 16,214 recorded homicides in the United States in 2018 (five per 100,000) and 17,294 in 2017. While LGBT advocates may be correct that there is some under-reporting of the transgender murder rate because not all trans individuals are “out,” the fact is that the murder rate for trans people would have to increase by 300-400 per cent to match the murder rate for the general population.

Well, to be fair, even one person being murdered is too much, but most of these victims were not killed because of any kind of discrimination or “hate”:

Not only is there no “epidemic” of murders of transgender individuals, it’s also not true that most trans murders are motivated by “hate.” The first case I reviewed while researching this article, that of Claire Legato, involved a trans woman killed while attempting to break up a physical dispute over a financial debt between her own mother and a close family friend. This was not atypical. The conservative writer Chad Greene, himself a member of the LGBT community, recently reviewed a sample of 118 of the cases of anti-trans homicide compiled by the Human Rights Campaign. His conclusion: exactly four of the perpetrators were clearly motivated by “anti-trans bias,” animus, or hatred. In contrast, 37 of the murders were due to domestic violence, and 24 involved sex workers and were largely the result of the dangerous working conditions associated with illegal sex work.

[…]In addition to not being hate crimes, the majority of transgender murders are intra-racial. According to Greene, whose conclusions align with my own analysis, 34 of the 37 identified murderers of black trans persons killed between 2015 and 2019 (89.5 per cent) are themselves black.

I think these numbers are useful to have at hand, should someone try to convince you to accept their view by claiming that not accepting their view has led to “a national epidemic” of violence. I’m against trying to convince people by bullying them with victimhood in any case. If you have a rational case that some view is morally right or wrong, then make your case. I am always very interested to see how secular leftists try to argue for a moral standard that is binding on those who disagree with them, when they believe the universe is a random accident with no plan or purpose.

Fact-checking the fact-checkers: is Politifact reliable or biased?

Politifact is a web site run by some left-wing journalists at the Tampa Bay Times. As you might expect from academic studies of media bias, their content might as well be written by the Democrat Party. But it’s not enough to just declare Politifact a Democrat propaganda operation – I need to actually give you details and examples. And so I will, in the rest of this post.

Let’s start with two recent examples, then I’ll show you the worst example of media bias I have ever seen from Politifact.

Missouri Senate Race

Here’s one analysis from the Daily Wire:

On Tuesday, Politifact, which purports to be a neutral fact-checking website but in fact leans heavily to the left, got caught protecting a member of the Democratic Party: Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Politifact took issue with the ad from The Senate Leadership Fund, a pro-Republican super PAC, that claimed that McCaskill said “normal people” could afford private planes.

[…]After they were corrected, Politifact acknowledged the mistake, writing,

Initially, we published this fact-check with a rating of False, because based on the video available, it did not appear that McCaskill was talking about private planes. After publication, we received more complete video of the question-and-answer session between McCaskill and a constituent that showed she was in fact responding to a question about private planes, as well as a report describing the meeting. We re-assessed the evidence, archived the original version here, and published the version you see here with a new rating of Half True. We apologize for the error.

Daily wire also linked to some more failed Politifact “fact checks”:  herehere, and here.

Arizona Senate Race

Politifact also screwed up their fact-check for the Arizona Senate race.

The Daily Caller explains:

PolitiFact incorrectly labeled it “mostly false” that Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema “protested troops in a pink tutu” during its live fact-check of the Arizona Senate debate Monday night.

It’s an established fact that Sinema, a former Green Party activist who co-founded an anti-war group, wore a pink tutu at one of the multiple anti-war protests she attended in 2003.

“While we were in harm’s way, she was protesting our troops in a pink tutu,” Republican candidate Martha McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, said during Monday night’s debate.

Here’s their Politifact’s evaluation of McSally’s claim:

Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?
Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?

And here’s the photo of Kyrsten Sinema, protesting the troops, in a pink tutu:

Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema
Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema in a pink tutu

The Daily Caller notes:

A 2003 Arizona State University news article at the time described Sinema wearing “something resembling a pink tutu” at one of the protests.

[…]Sinema openly associated with fringe elements of the far-left during her anti-war activism.

She promoted an appearance by Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who was convicted of aiding an Islamic terrorist organization, in 2003.

Sinema also reportedly partnered with anarchists and witches in her anti-war activism and said she did “not care” if Americans wanted to join the Taliban.

Colonel Martha McSally, as I’ve blogged about before, is a former U.S. Air Force A-10 fighter pilot, and squadron commander. She logged a lot of hours leading actual combat missions against America’s enemies – the sorts of people who sell and rape Yazidi girls. She fought them.

And now for the big one: Politifact’s fact-checking of Obamacare.

Obama’s claims about Obamacare

Avik Roy, health care policy expert at Forbes magazine, wrote about Politifact’s assessment of Obama’s promise to Americans about keeping their health plans after Obamacare.

In 2008, before the presidential election, PolitiFact rated Obama’s claims about Obamacare “True”:

Roy writes: (links removed)

On October 9, 2008, Angie Drobnic Holan of PolitiFact published an article using the site’s “Truth-O-Meter” to evaluate this claim: “Under Barack Obama’s health care proposal, ‘if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it.’”

And she concluded:

[…]…people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama’s plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True.”

Roy notes:

PolitiFact’s pronouncements about Obamacare were widely repeated by pro-Obama reporters and pundits, and had a meaningful impact on the outcome of the election. Indeed, in 2009, PolitiFact won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 campaign.

Here’s the screen capture from 2008:

Politifact caught with its pants on fire
Politifact says that everyone who likes their health care plan can keep it

Before the election, it’s true! And Obama got re-elected, because people believed that. But what happened after the election?

In 2013, after the 2012 election, PolitiFact rated Obama’s claims about Obamacare “Pants On Fire”:

Roy writes: (links removed)

On December 12, [2013] the self-appointed guardians of truth and justice at PolitiFact named President Obama’s infamous promise—that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it”—its 2013 “Lie of the Year.”

[…][N]one of the key facts that made that promise “impossible” in 2008 had changed by 2013. The President’s plan had always required major disruption of the health insurance market; the Obamacare bill contained the key elements of that plan; the Obamacare law did as well. The only thing that had changed was the actual first-hand accounts of millions of Americans who were losing their plans now that Obamacare was live.

And the screen capture from 2013:

Politifact says: we were just kidding! Kidding!
Politifact said one thing before the election, and the opposite afterwards

So when Politifact rates a statement by a Democrat as true, what they really mean is that it’s pants-on-fire-false, but it’s election time so they don’t say that. It’s not like the critical assessments of Obamacare from health policy experts were not out there between 2007-2012. I know, because I blogged on every study and report on the predicted effects of the law that I could find. But the intellectually lazy journalism-major clowns at Politifact couldn’t be bothered to read those studies and reports.