Liberal Pundits Shocked to Discover PolitiFact Not Always Factual
4:30 PM, Dec 20, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Unlike PolitiFact, I don't pretend to know the motivations of those I criticize, but Krugman's scenario actually strikes me as about as likely a motivation as anything. (There's also the matter that PolitiFact put their "Lie of the Year" up to a vote.) Where Krugman's wrong is that PolitiFact's penchant for treating opinions as facts was always useless, it only now seems irrelevant because he feels betrayed. After years of using the same problematic methodology against Republicans, the tables have been turned in a big way. Not coincidentally, liberal pundits are suddenly discovering the same exact problems with "fact checkers" conservative media critics have been railing about for years.
But don't worry. I'm sure PolitiFact will be back to bashing the Republican arguments in a highly disproportionate fashion in no time. Which is why some liberal pundits are hedging their bets before they condemn PolitiFact too harshly. Here's The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn. First, he readily acknowledges that PolitiFact frequently ignores the facts:
Now here's his conclusion. I hope Cohn is kidding me here, or does he always miss the point this badly?:
If the problem is, as Cohn acknowledges, PolitiFact tends to portray what's obviously opinion as fact, doesn't the notion that they single out Republicans as "lying" much more often suggest that they're just disagreeing with Republican opinions a lot more than Democratic ones? How is that not bias? And further, I'm glad Cohn "would argue" that Republicans have a bigger problem with telling the truth than Democrats. But it's not surprising he thinks that given his obvious sympathies. Making such a categorical and unsubstantiated assertion in the midst of a debate about what it means to check facts kind of refutes itself.
In any event, I'm happy liberal pundits have finally figured that there's more going on in this fact checking bordello than some raucous piano music. But if they'd been paying attention, they should have stopped patronizing these houses of ill journalistic repute a long time ago.