Ornstein and Mann's False Claims about 'False Balance'
8:11 AM, Dec 11, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
I realize that this isn't as often as Ornstein's preferred 20 to three ratio, but it seems that PolitiFact is willing to come out and call Republicans liars over Democrats at a rate of three to one or two to one. Is Ornstein really suggesting that this isn't enough? Or is he just entirely ignorant of the fact that fact checkers are already pretty skewed? I'm going to go with the latter, because even the editor of PolitiFact seems ignorant of how tilted toward Democrats his own organization's conclusions are. (I'm not even going to get into what a demonstrably terrible job fact checkers did evaluating many of the specific claims made during this last campaign.) Ornstein's real problem seems to be fact checkers weren't as effective as he would like them to be at discrediting Republicans.
It gets better:
As it happens, I was interviewed about fact checking and "false balance" in the media by an ombudsman back in January. Perhaps Ornstein occasionally reads the New York Times? Well, in answer to the question "What the f--k is an ombudsman doing if he's not paying sufficient attention to Norm Ornstein?," the Times has a new ombudsman since I was quoted on the topic, and she's dedicated a blog post today to airing and agreeing with many of Ornstein's grievances. Though let it be noted Times public editor Margaret Sullivan does think he's too hard on fact checking—“one of the most positive trends in journalism that I can remember.”
Oh, and can someone lend me an electron microscope so I can find a Stradivarius suitable for this?:
I don't know about being used as source, but as I've previously noted, their views aren't exactly being ignored by the New York Times and Washington Post. And in May, Ornstein and Mann did a lengthy interview on the Wall Street Jounal's website promoting their book. Pariahs, they are not. To the miniscule extent they should feel alienated, I'd venture that making gross generalizations unsupported by facts in the process of insisting half the country is willfully disregarding the truth—well, that could have something to do with it. But again, there's no reason to cry for Mann and Ornstein:
They're selling a load of something, that's for sure.
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