Politifact bias? It’s all subjective anyway right?
I’m not a big fan of Politifact. I think they are subtly biased in favor of Democrats. It’s not as bad as say the New York Times editorial board, but it is noticeable. I saw on my twitter feed, two article from Politifact that peaked my interest. One on Obama’s claim that “For the first time in more than a decade imports accounted for less than half of what we consumed.” The other was on the RNC claim that “2008: Unions Spent $400 Million to Elect Obama.”
Objectively, Politifact notes that neither claim is 100% accurate. So at least they don’t show blatant bias by giving Obama a “True” and RNC a “False.” As I said above, the bias is subtle.
First let’s see what they say about the RNC claim:
The RNC said the unions “spent $400 million to elect Obama.” We do want to acknowledge that independent publications have reported that number to be the case. But when we looked into the sources for that number, we found that it was the unions themselves discussing what they hoped to raise in the 2008 election. Furthermore, the reports said they wanted to raise $300 million, not $400 million, and it was a goal, not something they had yet achieved. When we looked at the public disclosures after the election, we found the unions reported $206.7 million in spending for all Democrats. It’s clear that the unions raised additional money for get-out-the-vote activities, but we don’t know how much more — nor does the RNC. Finally, all that money went to support Obama and other Democrats, not just Obama alone. In short, we don’t see the evidence to support that unions spent $400 million to elect Obama. So we rate the statement False.
They give themselves all sorts of wiggle room but in the end it comes down to a false, since the evidence says no. Seems straight forward and objective to me at least. I have no problems with this analysis.
Now let us look at Obama’s claim:
Looking strictly at the petroleum consumed by the U.S. last year, 61.2 percent of it was imported, according to EIA data. That percentage has been declining for years, but it is nonetheless much higher than the “less than half” figure cited by Obama.
61.2% means that we only produced 38.8% of the oil we consumed. That’s not a hard analysis. So why did they give Obama a “Mostly True?”
But again, Obama’s statistic depends on the way you calculate it. By a mainstream measure of “dependence on foreign oil,” the U.S. produced domestically a quantity of petroleum that was slightly more than half the amount it consumed. But strictly speaking, imports made up 61 percent of the oil actually consumed in the U.S. last year. And so we rate Obama’s statement Half True.
See it’s all about what they think Obama means when he says it. Aww how nice. An objective person would say that both claims; Obama’s and the RNC’s are false, since the data doesn’t support it. The final sentence for Obama’s claim should read; “In short, we don’t see the evidence to support that the US produced half of the oil that it consumed. So we rate the statement False.
A subjective person would give Obama or RNC (depending on their bias) some slack because they really meant was (BS goes here).
Like I said, subtle.