If PolitiFact actually stuck to checking facts, as opposed to getting into scraps over political opinions, it might still be able to call itself a neutral watchdog.
But PolitiFact is a political organization wrapped in the false mantle of objectivity. Karl in the Hot Air Green Room put it well in December when the group announced that the Republican take on Obamacare was the year’s “biggest lie:”
The point here is not that PolitiFact’s claim is a lie, or that PolitiFact is biased (although the latter is fairly obvious). Rather, the point is that the question of whether ObamaCare is a government takeover of the healthcare system is one of political opinion, not a simple question of fact. Indeed, the difference in opinion between those whom PolitiFact labels as liars and the CBO is a percentage point or so.
Accordingly, PolitiFact’s Biggest Lie is the one left unstated — that a political judgment call can be easily labeled as a “lie” in the first instance. However, for practical reasons, I do not condemn that lie. After all, the establishment media — of which PolitiFact is a part — is still in the business of trying to manufacture consent to a center-left political narrative. PolitiFact exists largely as an attempt to deligitimize certain political opinions. We now know which political opinion most bothered the establishment in 2010. That is a valuable service to everyone.
The other day — because the left-wing lie of the day was so egregious — PolitiFact felt obliged to weigh in on Rachel Maddow’s whopper about the Wisconsin budget.
Now, it seems, the group has to make amends to the Left by going after…me.
I received the following e-mail this afternoon:
I am a journalist with PolitiFact, the website that fact-checks statements by politicians and pundits.
I’m looking at the headline of one of Ms. Malkin’s recent posts:
Looking through the Congresswoman’s speech, my initial impression is that the headline is a stretch. You may disagree with her position on abortion, but it doesn’t seem that she was making the comparison cited in the headline. I think she’s referring to Planned Parenthood services providing contraceptives and advice.
Feel free to push back. If you give us your argument, we’ll be sure to use it in the story and factor it into our decision.
To which I replied:
1) You’ve already made up your mind.
2) You acknowledge that you are making a judgment of political OPINION, not journalistic fact.
3) Clue: Blog headlines can be written straight or snarky, hedging or hyperbolic. Carried to its logical end, of course Gwen Moore is saying what is reflected in my headline. But you will use your MSM authority to call my political OPINION a lie.
4) I don’t need to “give” you anything more. You’re already taking my post — and no doubt will use the video clip I obtained on my own initiative — to take another politically-motivated shot at me.
I am an opinion journalist who has always been transparent about my ideology.
You are opinion journalists who masquerade as neutral arbiters of fact.
Nice work if you can get it.
They seem to get a lot of mileage out of recycling my blog posts. The last time PolitiFarce went after me, they re-hashed my Gabrielle Giffords’ post and pretended to “debunk” me — with my own reporting and updates. While they sanctimoniously placed a burden on me to refrain from speculating about my political opponents, they’ve given a pass to scores of left-wing pundits and journalists who Blame Righty for the Tucscon massacre and every other act of random violence over the last two years.
I rate PolitiFact’s claim of “finding the truth in American politics”…false.
Fact-checking their asses, part II:
Matthew Hoy points to this statement from PolitiFact editor Bill Adair posted yesterday:
Um, Bill Adair, meet your employee, Lou Jacobson.