Tag Archives: Media Bias

New study: Politifact fact-checker is biased against Republicans

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?

How accurate is the fact-checking site Politifact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper?

The Weekly Standard reports on a recent study from George Mason University.

Excerpt:

The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University is out with a new study on media fact checkers, and unsurprisingly, their results suggest that PolitiFact has it out for Republicans. Dylan Byers at Politico summarized CMPA’s findings:

The fact-checking organization PolitiFact has found Republicans to be less trustworthy than Democrats, according to a new study.

Fifty-two percent of Republican claims reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times fact-checking operation were rated “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire,” versus just 24 percent of Democratic statements, according to George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs. By the same token, 54 percent of Democratic statements were rated as “mostly true” or “true,” compared to just 18 percent of Republican statements.

The CMPA looked at 100 statements — 46 by Democrats, 54 by Republicans — that were fact-checked by PolitiFact between January 20 and May 22.

[…]This is also not the first academic study that concluded PolitiFact might be putting their thumb on the scale when it comes to selecting and evaluating political statements. Last year, during the height of campaign season, the CMPA tallied up PolitiFact ratings. That study also showed PolitiFact tends to be much harder on Republicans:

The study examined 98 election-related statements by the presidential candidates, their surrogates, and campaign ads fact-checked by PolitiFact.com from June 1 to September 11. Major findings:

PolitiFact checked the assertions of Democrats slightly more often than those of Republicans (54% vs. 46% of all statements).

However, PolitiFact rated Democratic statements as “mostly true” or “entirely true” about twice as often as Republican statements — 42% true ratings for Democrats vs. 20% for Republicans.

Conversely, statements by Republicans were rated as entirely false about twice as often as Democratic statements – 29% false ratings for GOP statements vs. 15% false ratings for Democrats. (This includes categories labeled “false” and “pants on fire.”)

Further, the University of Minnesota School of Public Affairs looked at over than 500 PolitiFact stories from January 2010 through January 2011. Their conclusion:

Current and former Republican officeholders have been assigned substantially harsher grades by the news organization than their Democratic counterparts. In total, 74 of the 98 statements by political figures judged ‘false’ or ‘pants on fire’ over the last 13 months were given to Republicans, or 76 percent, compared to just 22 statements for Democrats (22 percent).

In other words, they are cherry-picking statements that are false for Republicans and true for Democrats. But maybe that’s just because Republicans lie more than Democrats right before an election? Maybe, just before an election, Republicans suddenly start to lie uncontrollably while Democrats suddenly start to tell the truth all the time?

Let’s take a look at one famous case and see.

This is from Avik Roy, health care policy expert at Forbes magazine.

2008 PolitiFact before the election: ‘We rate his statement 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.’” The article assures us in its headline that “Obama’s plan expands [the] existing system,” and continues that “Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here…It remains to be seen whether Obama’s plan will actually be able to achieve the cost savings it promises for the health care system. But 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.”

The 2008 Obama plan, among other things, sought to transform the individual insurance market; it proposed to bar insurers from charging different premiums to the healthy and the sick, and to require them to offer plans to all comers, regardless of prior health status. According to PolitiFact, however, there was no need to worry that these provisions would be disruptive to existing health plans.

As per PolitiFact’s usual M.O., Holan didn’t seek out any skeptical health-policy experts to suss out the veracity of Senator Obama’s signature claim. Instead, its sources included Jonathan Cohn, a passionate Obamacare supporter at The New Republic, and various interviews and statements of Mr. Obama. Holan simply took the “keep your plan” promise at face value, dismissing as dishonest anyone who dared suggest that Obama’s claim would be impossible to keep. “His opponents have attacked his plan as ‘government-run’ health care,” she wrote, the scare-quotes around “government-run” being visible to all.

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 caught with its pants on fire

2013 PolitiFact after the election: ‘We rate his statement 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.”

[…]So that brings us back to the fall of 2013. As Obamacare’s battle station became operational, and tens of millions of health plans became illegal, PolitiFact was caught with its flaming pants down. Louis Jacobson rapped Valerie Jarrett for tweeting that “nothing in Obamacare forces people out of their health plans”—a claim Jacobson rated as “False,” even though PolitiFact had rated it as “True” and “Half True” before.

On November 4, Jacobson rated as “Pants on Fire” the President’s new claim that “what we said was, you can keep [your plan] if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” Both pieces were edited by Angie Drobnic Holan, who had initially granted PolitiFact’s seal of approval to Senator Obama’s 2008 promise. Holan delivered the coup de grâce, declaring as PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” the “keep your plan” promise.

“The promise was impossible to keep,” says Holan in her December piece. Now she tells us! But none 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 says: we were just kidding! Kidding!

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.

The Tampa Bay Times. Politifact. It’s a catchy name, isn’t? It’s telling us the Facts about Politics.

I think this case demonstrates how people on the political left allow their emotions to overturn objective reality. You can keep your doctor. You can keep your health plan. Benghazi was caused by a Youtube video. The e-mails and e-mail backups of all the IRS employees were lost. The Department of Justice did not target Associated Press journalists. The assault weapons were not gun-walked to Mexican drug cartels. They will believe anything that makes them feel superior and noble, even when faced with evidence that clearly falsifies their beliefs.

Katie Courie defends deceptive editing in her pro-gun-control documentary

 

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Don’t believe the liberal media

This story from the Washington Free Beacon is very useful for explaining what happens when a person relies on the leftist mainstream media to tell them about reality.

It says:

The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence deceptively edited an interview between Couric and a group of gun rights activists in an apparent attempt to embarrass the activists, an audio recording of the full interview shows.

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

It’s impossible to purchase a gun in the United States without a background check, unless it is a person to person private sale. Even if you order a gun on the Internet, it has to be shipped to a store where you pick it up – after the background check has been run. However, people on the left love to lie about gun purchases.

Now, the deceptive editing was pointed out to Katie Couric, and what do you think that she did? Did she apologize and pull the documentary?

Of course not, as David French explains in National Review:

At this point, a responsible documentarian either immediately apologizes, promises to investigate exactly how the deception occurred, and pledges to re-edit the film — or they contest the VCDL’s evidence. Instead, Soechtig issued this statement:

There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple’s response was exactly right, saying that he’s “scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse.” But, as he notes, it’s not just an excuse, it reads as an admission. She’s not contesting the VCDL’s claims.

This is exactly the point where a former network anchor — a person who still enjoys respect in the news business — should step in and impose adult supervision. But in her own comment on the controversy, Couric not only said that she was “proud of the film” she also supported Soechtig’s statement.

Dear Yahoo, let me put this in plain English for you. Your premier news personality is “proud” of lying. She “supports” a statement that purports to justify those lies as a form of creative “pause.” This would be a firing offense at any decent opinion journal, much less an organization that purports to objectively report the news. Americans can no longer trust a single news report or a single interview from Couric. They now know that she will unashamedly and proudly deceive them to advance her own ideological agenda.

Previously, I blogged about studies that actually document how far the media is biased to the left. I understand that people on the left want to be lied to, and they are entitled to consume reports from sources that affirm the lies they want to believe. But those who prefer truth should be wiser.

 

How Google, Facebook and Twitter brainwash users against conservatism

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Be careful with the liberal media

Here’s a story from Rachel Alexander, writing at The Stream. I cannot cut and past the whole article, but I can excerpt a sample of what she found.

She writes about Google:

Ever notice when you search for news or politics on Google News that the majority of search results tend to be articles from left-leaning publications? A search on Hillary Clinton today returns almost entirely articles by left-leaning publications on the first page of results. But is that just because liberals are more likely to search for stories about Hillary and are also more likely to prefer liberal sources? Maybe the Google result is just reflecting user preferences. Well, let’s try it for Donald Trump. I just did and got a similar result.

Fox News didn’t show up in either search, never mind that it’s a top ten news website with the most most popular television news network in America, and one that has been covering Trump’s presidential campaign obsessively. Only after clicking “Explore In-Depth” and scrolling well down the page did a Fox News story appear, in the 12th position, just below an article by Bloomington, Indiana’s Herald Times.

It’s well-known that Facebook is biased to the left, as well.

She writes:

Facebook’s Trending News feature is also biased. John Jalsevac at Live Action News observed how the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were featured in Trending News, but not in a way that readers would click and go to the videos themselves. Instead, readers were routed to two articles Planned Parenthood had posted on its Facebook page.

“Someone at Facebook’s headquarters is responsible for coming up with a one-line description of why a particular term is ‘trending,’” Jalsevac writes, “and then (it would appear), choosing which posts to give pride of place when a user clicks on that trending topic.” By now it should surprise no one that the Facebook employee apparently chose to direct people to Planned Parenthood to get the organization’s spin on the videos rather than to the videos themselves or to some news site that was at least attempting to offer an objective description of the controversial videos and Planned Parenthood’s reaction.

Facebook frequently removes conservative posts and bans conservatives, drawing a line where it thinks content is too extreme.

Here’s an example of how Facebook censors viewpoints that conflict with their secular leftist values.

Rachel talks about Twitter, too:

Twitter also frequently bans conservative users, known as “Twitter Gulag.” Left-wing activists target outspoken conservatives and report them en masse to Twitter, claiming they are abusing its policies — usually claiming “harassment” — and Twitter often complies and deactivates their accounts. One conservative who was banned, Todd Kincannon, fought back in 2013 by forming the Twitter Gulag Defense Network and creating a list of tips to avoid being banned. He is still banned from Twitter three years later. Another outspoken conservative, Robert Stacy McCain, was just banned this past week, with no explanation given.

Prominent conservatives Milo Yiannopoulos, tech editor at Breitbart, and John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, recently lost their verified checks (a blue checkmark that indicates the account of a public figure is authentic), which is considered a step toward eventually banning an account. The conservative actor Adam Baldwin was temporarily banned after joking about #GamerGate, a hashtag he created for gamers fed up with political correctness.

Robert Stacy McCain and I are on each other’s blogrolls. If you want to support him, you can tweet something with the hastag #FreeStacy. I did. He’s a good man, and fearless about what he writes.

But I do have a response to this.

First of all, I don’t recommend that you have a TV in your home, even if the only news that you get is Fox News. TV is a delivery mechanism for the thought of secular leftists. You’re better off just buying or renting the programs you want, rather than uncritically taking in the opinions of uneducated clowns on CNN, MSNBC, the Comedy Channel, etc.

You should instead read a balance of left, center and right news sites. For example, on this blog, I will frequently link to the New York Times and the Washington Post, and sometimes the Los Angeles Times. Those are the sites I read on the left. On the right, I read the Washington Times, the Washington Free Beacon and Investors Business Daily.

Also, it’s a good idea to get yourself set up with conservative voices, that will balance out the liberal garbage that you will undoubtedly be confronted with by co-workers, etc. I recommend listening to the Ben Shapiro podcast and the Dana Loesch podcast. Ben Shapiro has no commercials. Dana has some short commercials. I also like the Weekly Standard podcast, but they are more establishment. And I love Washington Watch with Tony Perkins – president of the Family Research Council. My favorite podcasting app for my phone and tablet is Player FM. It’s free, has no ads, and works really well.

CNN was the first to run the story about Ben Carson’s retreat to Florida

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?

I didn’t want to write about this, but one of my Democrat co-workers who is always pestering me with any misstep by my favorite candidates (Jindal, Walker, Cruz) brought it up. I doubt he knows what the national debt is, but he is always very aware of all the latest nit-picky issues. Anyway, here we go with the post I did not want to write, and thanks to my friend Kris (who is not my evil co-worker) for encouraging me to write it.

So everyone knows the story. A staffer on the Cruz campaign sent out a message saying that Carson was going to be returning to Florida and skipping New Hampshire and South Carolina. The staffer forwarded this message to Cruz caucus-goers, and they used it to appeal to Carson supporters to vote for Cruz. So where did the story originate? Did the nasty Cruz campaign make it up?

No, it came from CNN.

Here’s the post from Breitbart News containing the timeline, with screenshots of CNN tweets and videos of CNN anchors.

Breitbart says this:

The following is a definitive timeline of events on Monday night. All times are local Iowa time–i.e. Central Standard Time (CST).

6:41-6:43 p.m. CNN’s Chris Moody tweets news about Ben Carson (three tweets)

The part we care about is this:

CNN's Chris Moody starts the story
CNN Senior Reporter Chris Moody starts the story at 6:43 Central / 7:43 Eastern

No word about where the story came from, but the source seems to be Ben Carson, or someone representing his campaign. How else would Chris Moody get this information except from the campaign itself? And that would mean that Carson, who has never run for office before and has a disorganized campaign, just made a mistake. Or someone on his campaign staff did.

Anyway, at 6:44 PM Iowa local time, CNN anchors ran with the story next, based on the tweet of their “Senior Reporter”:

And here’s the transcript:

Tapper: Thanks, Wolf. Well, CNN has learned some news about the man who, at least according to polls, is in fourth place here in Iowa. Now, Dana, a week from tomorrow, we’re all going to be doing this again for the New Hampshire primary. So almost every single candidate is going to be going directly from here to New Hampshire to campaign–except for the man in fourth place, who a few months ago was in first place here, Dr. Ben Carson. What have we learned?

Bash: That’s right. We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news, that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday. And people who have been following Ben Carson’s career know that that’s really where he got himself on the political map, attending that prayer breakfast, and really giving it to President Obama at the time. And he became kind of a hero among conservatives, among evangelicals especially.

Tapper: But it’s very unusual–

Bash: Very unusual.

Tapper: –to be announcing that you’re going to go home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site. Plus, he’s already announced that he’s going to be coming out and speaking at 9:15 local and 10:15 Eastern, no matter whether or not we know the results, because he wants to get home and get ahead of the storm.

Bash: Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.

Tapper: Very unusual news that CNN has just learned. CNN’s Chris Moody breaking the story. Wolf, back to you in Washington.

This was reported 16 minutes before the caucuses began. There is a ticker in the CNN video above. This was the origin of the story. The story did not originate with the Cruz campaign, it originated with the radical leftists on CNN.

Carson later tweeted that he was NOT suspending his campaign, that he was going home to Florida to “get fresh clothes”. Oh yes, I always fly home to get fresh clothes. It is just a ridiculous thing to say. It is not at all clear that the Cruz or Rubio campaigns SAW this tweet, which happened at 6:53 PM – their e-mail to their campaign workers came out a mere three minutes later.

In any case, at 6:56  PM, the Cruz campaign e-mails supporters what was reported on CNN, that Carson was “taking time off from the campaign trail”.

So, that’s how it went down, and as you can see, Cruz is innocent, and so is his staff. The guilty party is CNN for running the story that Carson had to correct for them. But before CNN could correct their mistake, the Cruz campaign had already acted on the CNN story. CNN didn’t even try to correct the story until after the Cruz campaign had sent out their messages. CNN did clarify their initial report, but much much later, around 7:30 PM. And this 7:30 PM tweet was the FIRST clarification that the Cruz campaign saw.

By the way, the only report that I have seen about the source of the rumor reported by CNN links the rumor to the MARCO RUBIO campaign, and you can read about that here. The tweet from the Rubio supporter has since been deleted, but the screenshot survives in the post I linked above.

Finally, one last thing. Cruz, being the man who stood up to big ethanol in Iowa and won, has already proved his integrity and character. But there’s more. The most obvious thing to do in the face of a made-up scandal like this is to pick a low-level staffer and punish them. But Cruz looked at the facts that I wrote above, and decided to stick by his staffer. This man always does the right thing – it’s like he doesn’t even care what happens to his whole campaign so long as he does the moral thing. And this is being noticed. Here is a post by a Trump supporter who switched his vote to Cruz, based on Cruz’s decision to stand by his innocent campaign staff.

If you like honor, Ted Cruz is your guy. I’m not going to regret supporting this guy.

Ted Cruz’s scary, unreported, undisclosed Goldman Sachs loan

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

The New York Times reported that Ted Cruz borrowed money from his Goldman Sachs investment account to finance his Senate campaign, then didn’t disclose it. Is their story correct? Let’s see.

Caffeinated Thoughts explains:

The New York Times “broke” a story yesterday about a Goldman Sachs loan that Ted and Heidi Cruz obtained during his run for U.S. Senate that wasn’t reported properly on an FEC filing.  I’vedefended Marco Rubio when New York Times fired garbage at him, and I’ll do the same with Cruz.

This story was one *discovered* from public disclosure forms, and it is a story that alreadyran in 2013.  So the New York Times didn’t run any new news here. All they did was run some opposition research that a rival campaign gave them. *Great* journalism.

This is a non-story. Beyond the fact it is rehashed news taken from public records here are a couple reasons why there’s nothing there.

First, The loan was disclosed. It may not have been on the right FEC form at the right time, but it was made public and it was made public before Cruz’s runoff election against then Texas Lt. Governor Dewey Dewhurst.

The Caffeinated Thoughts article has a public, federal reporting document filed on July 9th, 2012, that has the following entry: “Goldman Sachs Margin Loan”. So this loan was not hidden and undisclosed and secret and scandalous. Cruz simply made an error and didn’t disclose it on another public form.

Newsflash: borrowing on margin is normal

For those of you who invest, like me, you’ll know that anyone can borrow money on margin from their investment brokerage account, although it is not recommended. Goldman Sachs is an investment broker, and you can borrow money on margin if you have a brokerage account with them. You can do the same thing with E-Trade, Ameritrade, ScottTrade, etc. This is not some great mystery. This is a margin loan given to you by your investment brokerage firm, with collateral provided by your investment securities.

Anyway, let’s see Cruz explain it in his own words.

First, on CNN:

Second, here is Cruz’s 2-minute answer from last night

Now, that’s a simple answer that anyone can understand, but the left wants to make it seem sinister and sneaky. There is no question that the left, including the mainstream media, has it in for Cruz. The radically leftist New Republic entitled this story “Ted Cruz Defends His Undisclosed Loan from Goldman Sachs”. The radically leftist New York Times called it “Ted Cruz Didn’t Report Goldman Sachs Loan in a Senate Race”. Associated Press “Cruz Failed To Disclose Goldman Loan On Reports”. Secular Talk “Ted Cruz Took $500k From Goldman Sachs & Didn’t Disclose it”. They don’t have time to report on any of the scandals of the Obama administration – especially Hillary Clinton. But they do have time to make a mountain out of a mole hill about a simple thing like borrowing on margin.

I feel bad for Cruz in the way that he has to answer these deceptive attacks from the leftist media, and then again from Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, who parrot the stories they read in the leftist media. These things are easily explained, but you have to actually understand how real life works. It just depresses me when I think about how hard it is for an honest man to run for office in a world like this. You can’t fight back against these smears… the minute you respond to one, there’s another dozen lies to answer. It’s just depressing.

The best part of the debate

However, I will end this post on a high note. The highlight of the debate last night was that Cruz finally defended himself from Trump’s attacks.

Here is their entire exchange on Trump’s birther argument against Cruz:

Cruz graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law. He clerked for J. Michael Luttig in the 4th District Court of Appeals, then Chief Justice Earl Rehnquist at the U.S. Supreme Court. Two conservative justices. As Solicitor General of Texas, he defended religious liberty, gun rights and other conservative issues in front of the Supreme Court. The man understands Constitutional law.

Here is Frank Luntz’s focus group responding to the exchange:

You can read an assessment of the exchange in the radically leftist New York Times, of all places – which actually gets it right for a change. Headline is “Ted Cruz, Once Dismissed, Emerges as a Slashing Debater”. I’m not kidding.

In any case, I responded to the charge in detail here, citing legal experts on both sides of the political spectrum.