PolitiFact, “ending” Medicare and the limits of fact-checking

(Blog Post) Last week, the estimable PolitiFact.com gave its harshest verdict – “Pants on Fire” – to a DCCC ad attacking the Republican plans to privatize Medicare. There are a bunch of exaggerations and questionable assertions in the ad (as in many political ads) but the nub of the issue was the assertion that “Republicans voted to end Medicare.” PolitiFact objected on these grounds:

Yes, the Republican plan would be a huge change to the current ... Full Story »

Posted by Fabrice Florin - via Jay Rosen, Dan Kennedy, Joey Baker (t), Kaizar Campwala (t), Donica Mensing (t), Josh_Young (t), Rachel Fus (t), Jeppe Kabell (t)
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Posted by: Posted by Fabrice Florin - Apr 26, 2011 - 8:21 PM PDT
Content Type: Blog Post
Edit Lock: This story can be edited
Edited by: Fabrice Florin - Apr 27, 2011 - 12:48 AM PDT
Patrick McGuire
3.0
by Patrick McGuire - Apr. 27, 2011

The article was well written and the author made his point clearly. But I couldn't wondering why the author was even bothering unless he is not a fan of Poltifact or similar sites.

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Bob Herrschaft
3.9
by Bob Herrschaft - Apr. 27, 2011

...McQuaid does a good job of honing in on the problem of fact checking declarations that have no objective answer.

Debating issues is most often a constructive endeavor, but verdicts shouldn't come from parting clouds. Most statements need qualification and a clear definition of terms...otherwise, the argument is likely to be built on a faulty premise.

There is no fact-based “objective” answer to the question at hand. A binary choice will either favor the biases of Republicans, who stress continuity (disingenuously, ... More »

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Fabrice Florin
3.8
by Fabrice Florin - Apr. 27, 2011
See Full Review » (9 answers)
Patricia L'Herrou
4.4
by Patricia L'Herrou - Apr. 27, 2011

this article points out that there are, in every 'testing' methodology we develop, weaknesses, or, to put it differently, factors which mean that not everything fits the assessed formula, no matter how we try. for this case, the writer validly illustrates flaws in fact-checking, here for political 'facts' (but so often true), that facts are more nuanced and interpretable than they may look on the first take, and that those unassessed nuances can make the difference in the end result.

i would hope that this article would merit a second look and review by politifact, and in understanding the limits of what they do, be more cautious and judicious in their application

See Full Review » (6 answers)

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