It amazes me how many people think Factcheck.org is good place unbiased facts. I guess all you have to do now a days is to have something in your name and people will believe it. Facts are stubborn things, they are always open to interpretation. Like Statistics, facts can lie. By omitting a fact here or interpreting something symbolically instead of literally, you can change what a fact may or may not mean. It goes without saying that when you go to a car dealership, just because the guy calls himself Honest Sam, doesn’t make him honest. The same level of scrutiny should be held to any person, place or organization that calls themselves, Fact Checkers.
Over the course of the 2008 election, factcheck.org just so happened to always be there to “fact check” what anyone said about Obama. How convenient right? Of course, Obama’s speeches and statements didn’t get “fact checked” nearly as often as Hillary’s or McCain’s. What I’m trying to suggest is that Factcheck.org is biased, heavily biased towards far Left, liberal views. This poses a bit of a problem most of the time. They quote sources just fine, like everyone should. But most people don’t bother to read the sources, they stop at what fackcheck.org says. This is a fallacy, an appeal to authority. Here is a good article on why Factcheck.org isn’t reliable as well.
So when Factcheck.org leaves out a fact that might contradict itself, no one knows about it unless they actually read the entire supporting documentation. I call this lying by omission, well not just me that’s actually what it’s called. These charges are hard to prove because the glories of the internets allow a website to update at will. Meaning, they can update later, after their site has been referenced to add the additional information. There are other ways of showing bias, by interpreting words to mean the way you want them to mean. This is a good example of just that.
Needless to say, I’m more the skeptical of whatever Factcheck.org says, I prefer to read the supporting materials myself. I pretty much only use factcheck.org for it’s linkfest. I was surprised though by this article about Ken Blackwell. Blackwell was on the Daily Show, when Stewart mentioned the amount of “czars” Bush had compared to Obama.
Stewart: Not all the so-called czars were appointed by Obama, and again — and this is just from an organization called FactCheck.org, and just because they have “fact” in their title doesn’t necessarily mean anything — but again, George Bush had more czars.
Blackwell: No he didn’t.
This is were Factcheck.org was brought in. Here’s what they said.
That’s not what we did — at all. We applied the same standards to Bush that Fox News’ Glenn Beck applied to Obama when he said the president had 32 czars. Beck said that his list was “based on media reports from reputable sources that have identified the official in question as a czar.” Our list collects the names of every position that was referred to as a “czar” in the media, with links to examples for every one. We did not count multiple holders of the same position, and we also discounted people who were only called “czars” in articles about how many “czars” a particular administration had.
This is where their bias shows. They refer to the media, by doing a lexis search. I won’t say that the idea that the media would use the term deliberately as a smear, didn’t occur to them, because I’m sure it did. They just choose to ignore that question. Blackwell’s comment is in itself a smear against Obama. But so where all those time when the media used it against Bush. A smear is just another term used for a lie that is used to damage an opponent. It’s ad hominem. In essence, Factcheck.org is using ad hominem as a fact check tool.
The honest thing to say would have been to say,” ‘Czar’ is a subjective term used by the media to damage an opponent by ad hominem attack. Since there is no objective definition of “czar,’ we cannot form any rational basis to check these claims. All we can say is they are nothing more than attacks.”
They don’t do that though, they instead see an opportunity to portray subjective opinion as objective facts. They take it, run with it and show their bias. Thomas Sowell has a phrase he uses for such a thing, “verbal virtuosity.”
Factcheck.org’s tell is when they try to counter Blackwell’s claim that, applying the same standard to both, Axlerod should be considered a “Czar” since Rove was considered one.
For example, they list Karl Rove as “Domestic Policy Czar.” In the real word (as opposed to The Daily Show world), Karl Rove was White House Senior Advisor. That’s important because President Obama has a White House Senior Advisor too, David Axelrod. Yet mysteriously, the sage scholars at Fact Check failed to list Axelrod as Domestic Policy Czar for Obama, which would add a 33rd czar to Obama’s list.
It seems logical right. If one person is a “Czar” then another person, acting in the exact same capacity, in function and in form, should be considered a “Czar” as well right? Of course not, if you listen to Factcheck.org.
That’s because Harold Meyerson called Rove Bush’s “domestic policy czar” in an August 15, 2007, op-ed in the Washington Post, whereas we found no instances of the media using the same term for Axelrod. “Czar” is a title bestowed by the media, and they have so far declined to bestow it on Axelrod.
Again, they are right only in that “Czar” is a media term. They don’t tell you how subjective that term is and how it’s used by the media as ad hominem. The most we can say between Obama’s and Bush’s “Czars” is that the media has been far kinder to Obama than Bush. Which of course is no surprize at all!
Of course, you know I can’t not say anything about AGW and Factcheck.org right!
Here is their “fact check” on ClimateGate.
In late November 2009, more than 1,000 e-mails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the U.K.’s University of East Anglia were stolen and made public by an as-yet-unnamed hacker. Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of man-made global warming. We find that to be unfounded:
- The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there’s still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
- Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
- E-mails being cited as “smoking guns” have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to “hiding the decline” isn’t talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The “decline” actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.
If you go to the bottom, you’ll notice that the factcheck.org site was “corrected” on December 22, 2009. Why didn’t they make any corrections or updates on how the IPCC report relied on biased data? Why did the author use the Union of Concerned Scientists as a source? Doesn’t he know how biased that group is, which you can become a member for only a $25.oo, tax deducable “gift.”
Of course the author does, he knows exactly how biased Union of Concerned Scientists are. Which is exactly why he defers to them as a “source”.
Just remember all this the next time you go to Factcheck.org or any other site for information, including mine. Everyone and everything has bias. The best thing to do, is read read read, get as much information as possible, knowing that most of it will be biased based on the presenter of the information (the Author or group writing the article), then form an opinion. Don’t just parrot what you hear on the news or media.