PolitiFact bills itself as a nonpartisan fact-checking enterprise, and the mainstream media of course is all too happy to reinforce their presumed authority on the truth of any given political statement.
Of course, more informed Americans have known for years about PolitiFact’s left-wing bias and dishonesty, and now Conservative Review’s Rob Eno has caught the organization in a particularly shameless whopper.
The background: the Media Research Center, Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway have recently called out the disconnect between the issues the mainstream media sees as important (Russia) and the priorities of the American people (pretty much anything else).
— jon gabriel (@exjon) July 18, 2017
PolitiFact shot back that it was “mostly false” for Conway to say that 75% of the press coverage goes to Russia while only 6% of Americans see it as their top priority.
Rob Eno was less than impressed with their “rebuttal”:
The counterpoints made by PolitiFact are thin and certainly not enough to rate the claim “mostly false.” First they blast the MRC study by saying it was narrow, only covering the three broadcast networks news casts and only for a month. And even so, the Trump Russia coverage was only 55 percent of all coverage in that time frame, not 75 percent. OK; your point? That’s still the majority of coverage, and an even greater percent of what was covered that wasn’t natural disasters, crime, or other major events non-political in nature.
Eno notes that one of PolitiFact’s “experts” told them a “more extensive study would likely have somewhat different results of individual news outlets.” Would have found? Not “did find”? That doesn’t sound very factual to me.
But that’s not the best part, because it turns out MRC also did “more extensive” studies…and one of them found that a recent broadcast of CNN’s “New Day” — presumably a representative example — devoted a whopping 93 percent of its airtime to Russia. So the “more extensive” look actually bolsters conservatives’ case, not undermines it.
Finally, Eno calls out PolitiFact’s last major point, which is a case of straw-grasping that’s petty even by liberal standards. It seems that another poll found that 48% of Americans had significant concerns about potential Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. However, the original poll this is meant to refute wasn’t about people’s concern over Russia in isolation, but how they prioritized it among other issues:
So a poll that specifically asked a question on Russia got an answer that showed roughly half of those asked said they were concerned about Russia. Shocking. That still doesn’t explain that only six percent of those asked said it was the most important issue facing the nation. That’s the point: That Americans by and large don’t see Russia as the most important thing facing the country. But it is the most important thing the media thinks the country faces.
PolitiFact clearly isn’t in the fact business, so they really ought to have a new name. How about PolitiHacks?