The weasels at Politifact have backed down somewhat from last night’s epic failure:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original Half True rating was based on an interpretation that Obama was crediting his policies for the jobs increase. But we’ve concluded that he was not making that linkage as strongly as we initially believed and have decided to change the ruling to Mostly True. The original article is archived here.
They’ve now given him a “mostly true” rating, showing they just can’t help themselves. Here is the Obama statement:
“In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.”
There are two items to fact check whether this statement is true or not. Let me break it down for you, Politifact:
1.) Did business create more than 3 million jobs in the past 22 months? Yes or No.
2.) Did businesses create the most jobs last year in any year since 2005? Yes or No.
On question one, Politifact discovers the following:
We checked Obama’s claim by using data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency responsible for compiling employment data. We found that the U.S. economy has seen 22 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, beginning in Feb. 2010. During that 22-month period, the number of jobs grew by almost 3.16 million, or about 143,000 per month.
So the answer is a resounding “YES.” This statement is not a little true, kinda true, partially true, or mostly true, it’s TRUE.
On question two, Politifact discovers the following:
As for whether 2011 was the best job-producing year since 2005, he’s right if you’re counting private-sector jobs, and slightly off if you’re counting all jobs.
In 2011, the number of private-sector jobs rose by about 1.83 million (if you count from the January amount to the December amount) or 1.92 million (if you count from December to December). Either way, the increase in 2011 represented the highest one-year total since 2005, when the number of private-sector jobs increased by either 2.22 million or 2.31 million, depending on the time period used.
Considering he specifically stated BUSINESSES, of course he is talking about private sector jobs, you wankers. Again, by Politifacts own admission, this statement is not a little true, not a lot true, not maybe sorta kinda true, it’s just TRUE. Period.
So now that we have right here in front of us that the two claims in Obama’s statement are absolutely, unquestionably true, how does the Politifact assign this statement a “Mostly True?” How do these rocket scientists put together two facts and come up with a partial falsehood? Here’s their weak kung fu:
Obama is correct on the numbers. By mentioning his policies, he’s making a modest linkage that they deserve credit for the improvement when economists say they are just one factor. On balance, we rate the claim Mostly True.
That’s some magical thinking there. Again, here is the statement they claim they are analyzing: “In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.” As you can see, there is simply no mention of policy whatsoever. It was a simple declaration of fact. Deciding that this is untrue because of something he said later on in a speech is like calling me a liar when I said I had a hamburger for dinner because later on in the night I ate cake. It makes no sense whatsoever.
There are your factcheckers, folks. They don’t know what facts are, they don’t know how to interpret their own findings, and they want to police our public discourse. Awesome.
Kill them all and let Satan claim his own.
Jesus. That’s positively Rumsfeldian-level weaseling. The “mentioning his policies” was a few sentences earlier in the speech, and had nothing to do with the specific claim about private-sector job creation. Perhaps Politifact’s next analysis will say “Because he didn’t resign in disgrace after the GOP took the House, he was implicitly taking credit for the Apollo moon landings”.
Someone has some energy today. Dish dude, how many “call me” emails did you get?
Facts are stupid things. Actually, I meant self-appointed fact checkers. Facts tend to be liberal things.
To some, politics is not empirical science. It’s a knee bending, mouth opening, throat gagging, hard, gut filling experience.
This is what’s responsible for my elevated blood pressure. I hate these people so much.
Villago Delenda Est
John, this is all because you’re using the 8th grade reading level interpretation of this, and not the Stenographer’s Pool Graduate level in which complex shades of meaning are conveyed by “yes” and “no”.
Three is a simple solution.
These fact checkers can add commentary on context, to guard against potentially misleading use of their verdicts.
But the verdict itself should be just the facts as established by the fact check org itself, or specifically identified experts whose credentials are clearly described.
Otherwise they are not doing fact checks, but are entering the degraded US pundit racket.
There needs to be a distinction between the facts, and subjective judgments based on opinions about context and implications.
Or, they could have two little goofy icons, one for the facts, and one for their judgment of misleading use.
They, and especially Politifact, need to make a decision.
Otherwise, as I demonstrated last night, Tunch is not fat, and never has been.
well, obama was on the stage, so he was clearly taking credit for anything he mentioned in his speech. like when he mentioned dairy farmers, clearly he was saying that he is the reason cows give milk. i find that claim to be ‘untrue’.
OT- Without making any judgments as to how handsome/not handsome JC is, I don’t know if I really like knowing what he looks like. It feels sort of like the first time I saw Ray Suarez on TV, or the first time I saw a film representation of Bilbo Baggins.
Villago Delenda Est
ZOMG I’ve got an edit button again! Tunch be praised!
On edit (yay!): it works, too!
Statement of fact: “I have a boil on my anus that resembles Politifact committe sitting around a brown raggedy conference table.”
Analysis: Mostly True. However our heads have not emerged from the conference table high enough to get a full perspective so since we can’t confirm the fact the the boil is not red too, we conclude the statement is mostly true.
So while they will admit that the economy and jobs situations have, in fact, improved, Politifact can’t risk letting anyone believe the President or his policies might have in any way been responsible for these improvements.
Thus, the only appropriate response is to call the President a liar – or at least insinuate that he isn’t telling the whole truth – because he didn’t properly distribute blame and praise to Politifact’s satisfaction.
If they insisted on walking down this road, why not find the sentence where he makes the linkage and claims his policies are responsible? Probably because it would be completely unlike Obama to ever say one factor was completely responsible for anything. My guess is you’ll find a lot of statements like “our policies have helped businesses hire more people…”, statements that are empirically true.
People complain about politicians using “weasel words.” They do this partially because reality is complex and things are never black and white, but they do it partially because they don’t want to be called liars. Politifact simply ignores any qualifiers any (Democratic) politician attaches to a statement and then calls him a liar for not including qualifiers.
I have never been comfortable with the idea of trusting anyone I don’t know personally and trust implicitly to tell me what is true and what is not true. Whether they present their pronouncements on newsprint, over the airwaves, or via the damned internet is irrelevant. It’s just a really bad idea that makes my ass hurt when I ponder it.
@j low: I know what you mean. Never in a million years would I have guessed John Cole was a strawberry blonde. Frankly, it’s kinda creeping me out the more I think about it.
@Villago Delenda Est: And did you notice the spellcheck button, plus the comment box embiggening button?
I shall offer the tech fairy any sexual favours the tech fairy wants. Or cookies. People have actually complimented me on my cookies.
Weasels is an excellent and correct term but maybe too nice. How about cowardly weasels?
These are the people I hate 100x more than any politician. The Chuck Todds, the Mark Halperins….they are ruining this country.
@Villago Delenda Est:
And a cool new spell check button. And something that opens the comment box into some kind of preview box. Very cool!
It’s too bad that most of those jobs are minimum wage and part-time jobs. But beggars can’t be choosy.
I can understand how statements can sometimes be tough to parse. I can understand how partisan thinking can make fact checking a chore and subject to intense disagreement. But I can’t see either of those issues being involved in this giant cock-up.
This isn’t even close. friggen losers.
But you know Politifact is just waiting for someone to make a “Huhr huhr, Obambi is a Kenyan Muslin Fascist” statement so they can judge it “Mostly True.”
They figure wingnut welfare will finally make them mega-rich…
This is an impossible standard. Any time a politician in power mentions good news, he or she could be called dishonest for “essentially” taking credit for the good news, when reality is more complicated. Similarly, any time a politician out of power mentions bad news, he or she could be dinged for the same reason. Politifact would have us believe that any mention of factual good or bad news is, at best, half true. Are they going to stick to this standard? Of course not.
Why not reserve truth judgments for when the politician explicitly takes credit? “I created x million jobs” is almost certainly false, just as “President Obama destroyed x million jobs” is almost certainly false.
First, the spanking and then, more spanking. What, no “happy ending?” The hell is it with these people?
[Wow, I kan haz spelcheque nao? Also, too, fully functional editz! Thx Tunch!]
Oh my god, Politifact.
Facts don’t do what they want them to
Politifact needs to separate their facts into the various parts of the puzzle they belong in, and let readers or consumers of their product make the political analysis of what the individual parts mean against the bigger picture.
But shit, CNN doesn’t want some blockhead on their show dispassionately rattling off a bunch of numbers, so they’ve jazzed up their results. There is something especially pernicious about declared truth tellers distributing bullshit. They didn’t always do this, and need to be called out now to stop it. One more brick in the money wall.
Special Patrol Group
An interpretation!!?? Jay-zus.
At least this shows they have some shame, albeit a limited amount. After doubling down on the Lie of the Year debacle I was wondering if they had any at all.
Also, too, maybe Politifact could shine a spotlight on Republicans who brag at ribbon-cutting ceremonies after voting against the funding that makes the whole thing possible. Now there’s a case of people taking credit they don’t deserve.
I used one of my hardly ever use Hotmail accounts to send them a letter that was only mildly profane. OK, I cursed twice. But I can’t do that on my work e-mail as I don’t trust them to turn around and notify my bosses. I mean, look at them, they’re NASTY! Of course someone there would send it back and complain about me.
Does that spell check & size thingy at the top left mean we have the Edit button back?
Yes it does. Thank you John Cole. Thank you.
The Moar You Know
They ain’t my fuckin’ factcheckers.
When are they going to apply this standard to Newt’s repeated claim that Obama is personally responsible for putting people on food stamps?
PolitiFact should also find that “good evening” is only mostly true because meteorological experts inform them that the president doesn’t deserve full credit for the rotation of the earth, and “my fellow Americans” is only mostly true both because Obama is only partly American and because people other than Americans watch the address. It is indeed an alarming pattern of half-truths and self-aggrandizement.
As the left hand taketh away, the right hand giveth.
Another objective fact that Politifact admits is an objective fact, but tries to claim is somehow only “mostly true” because President Obama decided to utter it: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jan/24/barack-obama/barack-obama-says-us-oil-production-eight-year-hig/
I’ve seen the truth distorted in all sorts of ways by the media over the years, but this is a new one. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to claim that a statement of fact can somehow be false because the person stating the fact claims they had something to do with the fact. Would they have rated the statement completely true if Obama had said exactly the same thing except finishing with “But I didn’t have anything to do with it”? It doesn’t matter if Obama personally was placing horse heads in the beds of every business owner in America who refused to hire people. It doesn’t matter if Obama was ordering drone strikes on every building in America that had a Help Wanted sign in the window. He said businesses created 3 million jobs. They did. It’s a true statement.
I’m beginning to think “Reality has a well known liberal bias” was the wisest thing Stephen Colbert has ever said in his entire career of satire.
Tod Kelly at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen may hold the missing link:
The Politifact people are really pundits, they write on politics for their papers (really, just a few wankers do most of the “checking”).
And they can’t help but do some of that decoding and Delphic listening. So it turns politifact into PunditCrap.
Politifact should check whether President John Tyler has two living grandchildren. They could look it up.
“Mostly True?” “Pantaloons Aflame?”
Oh, and California High Speed Rail to help business folk travel around the state more efficiently – California fruits and nuts liberal waste of taxpayer money that will never turn a profit. Permanent Moon Base – big thinking adult conservative plan that will pay down the deficit and cost nothing.
Honestly, half the country live in fucking Narnia.
What simpletons fail to understand is that what they call “truth” is a negotiated position where POTUS claims more than 3 million jobs were created and republicans claim POTUS is a “homocide-bomber loving, job creator hating suchialist anti-semite”, and then the media professionals at Politifact split the difference. What do you expect them to do, deal with angry wingnuts all day long?
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Their goal isn’t to check the facts it’s to prove that “both sides do it.” All they have to do is shave a few points here and a few points there and, voila, both sides do it.
I just went to Politifact and told them their post was the writing of crazed weasels, and quoted John’s entire post, with URL.
I encourage others to to do the same.
I just had a right wing voter I work with, who agrees Newt is insane and a serial adulterer who should be kept from the presidency at all costs tell me she can never vote for Obama “because he apologized for America”.
I forwarded her to the rather conservative Washington Post article that completely debunks this right wing lie, and gives it four Pinocchios. FWIW, Politifact came to the same conclusion, so I tossed a link to them in for good measure.
It will be interesting to see if she actually reads the article at the Post. Fox News is her home page on her workstation at work. What can I say?
Well technically and mostly the Cheney admin never said that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 but through juxtaposing 9/11, terrorism, and Saddam somehow 70% of the American public at one time thought Saddam was behind 9.11.
Implication via juxtaposition is something that should be noted in blatant cases but if you insist on noting every mild case like what Obama did here all political analysis would balloon so large as to be intractable.
Cole owns Politifucked.
And here’s hoping he posts a new picture of himself tonight and it’s a totally different person. So postmodern.
Odds are probably 50/50 that 11 months from now they’ll figure out a way to make this Lie of the Year.
You have to wonder whether they care about trashing their brand name. Apparently not.
OT: Ed Kilgore is taking over for the Benenbot at Washington Monthly.
@different-church-lady: That would depend, I’ll bet, on how the election turns out. If Obama loses, than *of course* this would be Lie of the Year. If he won, then well, maybe not.
What, me, cynical?
Limbaugh and Hannity were both going the “liar” route today. Limbaugh was busily telling his listeners that GM is “not the number 1 car company in the world, that is just a lie” whereas Hannity was going the “everything he says is a lie” route. It utterly burns them that things are turning around and POTUS will get the credit, whereas if things went to hell in a handbasket they would blame him in a nano second.
For a ‘fact-checking’ group, they seem to have a lot of trouble separating the facts themselves from their own interpretation of what those fact might be taken to mean by people deciding who to vote for next November.
So when Obama says “After a decade on the run, it was my Administration that finally took the steps necessary to take out Osama Bin Laden”, Politifact will have no choice but to call that “mostly true”, because in their interpretation, Obama is trying to claim credit for something “some defence experts” say was down to the SEAL unit that actually pulled the trigger.
I guess they’re looking forward to an electoral season where the GOP lies so very, very much that they have to take it upon themselves to manufacture a back-catalogue of “Look how we called out the Democrats” moments they can point to to preserve an MSM-friendly sense of ‘balance’.
Which, I guess, is a sort of good thing. Or at least an indicator of something good. In the long run, even the Politiflacks don’t seen the GOP climbing off that Ledge of Crazy above the Abyss of Unelectability anytime soon.
@HeartlandLiberal: I deal with similar situations with right wingers I interact with. It may not be polite to point out that their entire political belief system is based on lies and total fabrications, but as Cole himself has proven you can only be taken in by that crap if you want to be taken in. Breaking away from it is as easy as taking a moment to think “Hey, the world doesn’t actually bear any resemblance to what Limbaugh and Fox claim it’s like”, start asking a few questions and thinking for yourself, and you’re free. Basically, the second someone tries to use an easily disproven right wing talking point in an argument, that’s a sign that that person should not be taken seriously, probably about anything. Finding the truth about something is as easy as googling it 90% of the time. Believing the truth, well, no one can force you to do that.
Facts, they ain’t what they used to be.
What is Truth, really, if you think about it. Have you thought about it?
@redshirt: Have you ever looked at your hand, man? I mean, really looked at it?
OT, but anyone see what fucking douchebag Randall Terry is doing?
Well, let’s all look on the bright side. This fiasco got me my first recommended diary over at GOS. w00t.
Maybe someone already linked to Kthug, but he nails this nicely:
@RalfW: I think the Delphic fumes they are sniffing over at Politifact is actually spray paint out of a paper bag.
And what about ‘fact ‘checking’ the thug reply to SOTU? Wait, mostly all lies so they’d have to lie thru their ass’s – wait, that is their norm – fact checked for accuracy.
Which is a good point, but show me any journalist anywhere ever so much as implied that Cheney et al were ever less than fully truthful.
Here’s the real deal, folks:
If you’re going call yourself a fact checker, then check facts.
If you’re going to check implications, then call yourself an implication checker, not a fact checker.
It’s that damn simple.
@Litlebritdifrnt: If you listen to Limbaugh and Hannity, you have already checked your brain at the door. And lost the check slip, too.
Villago Delenda Est
I’ll get back to you in a few years after I’ve checked every every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse on the planet.
@trollhattan: Where’s the birth certificate?
Cole’s doing such a good job, he should do it full-time. Anyone know if Politifact-fact.com is available?
@Martin: Dude, how much do you think California subsidizes cars every year? Seriously. Between upkeep and new roads multiple billions. And you are bitching about us building a high speed rail network so we can compete with China, japan & Europe which already have them?
Look up dork will ya.
THAT’S what I come to BJ for. LOL.
I think you need to recalibrate your snark meter. He’s critcising people who bitch about high speed rail while not criticising Newt’s campaign to set up a moon base so he can finally fulfil that ‘Captain Kirk’ fantasy he’s had all his life. The one where he sleeps with the alien, and then she dies tragically in the next 30 minutes so he can get back on the ship, wash his uniform, and go fly to the next planet.
@kindness: Let me guess – you go to ESPN.com forums and bitch that everyone only talks about sports, right?
Our media sucks. You’d think, with Mitchie giving the GOP response, there would discussion about Daniels being budget director for Bush (and what a fantastic job he did there) and the thousands in Indiana protesting the right to work for less law, but noooooo.
Didn’t Politifact use to have a comment function? I could swear they did at the time of the “Lie of the Year” fiasco.
Went over there just now and found that to comment, you must email.. I guess they figured requiring a bit more effort and a real email addy would cut down on the outraged screaming about their idiocies.
[Yay for an edit button – fixed a typo]
Daaang, is that local affiliate ad time or national ad time? I’d ask how can they afford it, but I suspect money’s no object.
Maybe I can be featured in a right-to-life ad promising to have Danica Patrick’s baby? Pretty sure we’ll be seeing her sometime during the game.
The real bitch in all of this is that if they applied the same standard–inferring what the speaker was trying to imply–to the GOP, they’d have to rate them false across the board.
These clowns are shameless hacks contributing nothing of value.
Actually, the point of the “more people on food stamps” is that, due to the dire straits we’re in (thanks, W), Obama expanded the eligibility rules for the stamps. Keeping people from hunger is somehow a bad thing, and Obama (never “President Obama” you will note) is to be blamed for trying to make things better.
Assholes will be assholes, as this shows.
In fairness, I think Politifact was simply confusing Obama’s “State Of The Union” address, where such a statement is true, with his “Shit I Done My Own Self” address, where it is not.
another Romney fuzzy fact PolitiFact gives half-credence:
“I didn’t inherit money from my parents” says Romney and PolitiFact calls it half true.
Yes, he inherited money after George Romney died in 1995. Then two years later, he says he gave much of it to Brigham Young University when the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management was established. Mitt Romney has also said he gave his sons some of that inheritance.
So Romney spent the money. If you spend it, you didn’t inherit it? How is that not benefiting-gaining value-from the inheritance?
PolitiFact calls it half true because his father’s money was not, in their words, the “key to his success”.
@HeartlandLiberal: Good luck for trying to persuade her to abandon her Foxified beliefs. Hard work, ain’t it? I salute you for trying. I’ve done it lots with the email stuff and now a bit on Facebook. But, I truly don’t have the time or energy anymore.
With all the Fox Watchers I know, they ain’t gonna believe anything good about this President because they refuse to believe that a black Democratic President can keep the ship afloat and even redirect it, when their previous Captain contributed mightily to the ship of state almost running aground.
@Calming Influence: Hilarious. I needed that laugh. Thanks.
Obama swings his modest linkage like a salami.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Rachel “fired” Politifact tonight…lol! She said that the english language wants the word “fact” back and that they had basically slandered it.
It should be online somewhere soon so keep an eye out for it, it’s well worth watching just to see her take them to the woodshed and beat them senseless.
T’was a thing of beauty. :)
About the ship of state:
Turn the Boat Around (2008)
(Tune: Yellow Rose of Texas)
Our leader landed on the deck dressed in a soldier suit,
A banner stretched above his head, he looked so doggone cute.
But San Diego could be seen, right there in the background,
So the order soon was given, “Turn the boat around.”
It’s time to turn the boat around, that’s what the people say.
The course our leader’s setting is exactly the wrong way.
The compass reads “disaster,” he’s run us hard aground,
It’s time to find a skipper who can turn the boat around.
He claimed that he’d found danger, as plain as white and black,
And the source of all that danger was in far-away Iraq.
Terror, weapons, poison gas, nukular missiles, too,
All waiting, primed and ready, to use on me and you.
So we went in a-shooting, and had ‘em on the run,
With bought-and-paid-for press along, to show us all the fun.
We never found those weapons, the poison gas and such,
And the folks whose land we shot to hell don’t like us very much.
Now, here at home, the policies are tilted toward the rich,
Big tax cuts and deficits, the grand old bait and switch!
Our leader loves the rich, and puts the dollars in their fist,
But for the poor, there’s still the war, so they can just enlist!
Now they have a candidate to take “dear leader’s” place –
No real change in policies – just an older face.
He claims that he is bringing change, but still it seems to me
That “bad” to “worse” is not the kind of change we want to see.
Copyright ©2003, 2006, 2008 Bob Clayton
FS eligibility expanded under Bush. At this point, more new people signed up for FS under Bush than under Obama by about .5 million.
We’ve become a society dominated by idiots. Period. Full stop.
They are unconscious just as they are unconscionable.
In a couple decades Forrest Gump will be considered the story of the Horatio Alger of this era.
Politi”Fact” is now heavily employing false equivalence. making them more false than fact.
A Conservative Teacher
For fun, check out the following site: It’s got a table that shows the number of people employed in our nation, in the thousands.
It’s data provided by the Department of Labor. There is no spin on the data. Let me help you read it though. When Bush took office, there were 111358K employed in nonfarm private jobs; when he left office there were 111043- that’s a loss overall of over 300000 jobs, which he deserves blame for- but keep in mind that this is the bulk of the jobs collapse in 2008 too (months before that the number was at 114752K, meaning that during the first 7 years of Bush, he created 3 million jobs).
When Obama took office, there were 111043K people employed in nofarm private jobs; today there are 109646K. This means that during President Obama’s administration, 1,397,000 jobs have been lost.
Spin those numbers.
After PolitiFacts claimed that to assert that the Repubs voted to end Medicare was the “lie of the year”, I stopped relying on them for anything. Obviously they are prone to political pressure.
@maya: YOW! That’s funny ‘cuz it’s true.
Kathy in St. Louis
The name “Politifact” is to this organization what the slogan “Fair and Balanced” is to Fox News. Both are total distortions of the actual meaning of the basic words.
The PolitiFact calls it half true because his father’s money was not, in their words, the “key to his success”.
True. The key to Romney’s success was him going to Harvard Law School and B-School, and then getting his job at Bain afterwards.
And I’m sure that growing up as the rich, advantaged son of the man who was Governor of Michigan, CEO of American Motors, and potential presidential candidate was in no way key to Romney getting into those schools, or of Bain evaluating the advantage of hiring him and getting access to his family network….
Just an excerpt from the brilliant writing of David Byrne: