PoliFact, a convenient way for ailing news organizations to avoid the uncomfortable prospect of criticizing potential advertisers, is finally coming under fire for having a corporate agenda.

With ‘Lie Of The Year’ Controversy, Fact Checking Comes Under Scrutiny

On Tuesday, Adair announced the group’s “Lie of the Year“: a claim by some Democrats and liberals about a House Republican plan to change Medicare.

One version of the claim came from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “Instead of improving Medicare, they would end Medicare as we know it.”

Liberals reacted in anger against PolitiFact, including writers from Talking Points Memo and Slate, as well as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who wrote a blog post titled “Politifact, R.I.P.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also criticized the announcement Tuesday night.

“The self-proclaimed but quickly-becoming-irrelevant website PolitiFact declared the idea that Republicans voted to end Medicare their ‘Lie of the Year’ for 2011,” she said.

She argued PolitiFact had its own facts wrong.

“But make no mistake — what the Republicans have proposed is actually ending Medicare,” Maddow said.

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6 Responses to Who is fact checking the fact checkers?

  1. BEZERKO says:

    If everything is a matter of which “side” is telling the truth and which side is lying, then Politifact is obliged to call each side liars to maintain “balance.” The issue for me is not whether Politifact is right or wrong in this case, it’s the misguided notion of objectivity, that there is a central truth independent of worldview. It’s as annoying as the people who like to say “I’m independent, I piss both sides off.” Republicans seem to understand this, and until recent history, Democrats have not. Truth and commonsense are dependent on worldview. For Democrats, privatizing Medicare or Social Security IS ending Medicare or Social Security as it is known. Ryan’s plan is a strategic initiative, whatever face they put on it, modernizing it, reforming it, is disingenuous and Orwellian. We should blow them out of the water for it. We should always vigorously fight the privatization of the moral functions of government like life and death, going to war (Blackwater?), the criminal and civil justice system, care for the elderly, the educational system and so on.

  2. JMPrince says:

    Other lol noted here, by Alter @ Bloomberg:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-23/lies-damn-lies-and-the-big-whoppers-of-2011-commentary-by-jonathan-alter.html

    “Lies, Damn Lies and the Big Whoppers of 2011: Jonathan Alter” Dec 22.

    JMP

  3. JMPrince says:

    See also Krugman’s ‘Post truth campaign’, no one has much noticed this yet:
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2011/12/paul-krugman-the-post-truth-campaign.html

  4. JMPrince says:

    Yep, it’s been obvious for awhile and here’s another one not to be missed:
    http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011125122/bitter-editorial-rant-kills-fact-checker-model-ends-politifact-we-know-it

    JMP

  5. Steve Golden says:

    I’ve been arguing this for years. PolitiFact is an absolute joke of an organization. About a year ago, they tore into Jane Kidd for *apparently* saying that Doug McKillip legally had to return money to his Democratic donors, but such words never came out of her mouth. She actually expressed an opinion that he *should* return the money. I wrote to the national editors of PolitiFact, as well as the Georgia people, and was summarily brushed off.

    PolitiFact is a lie and a fraud. They assess statements they make up themselves to make people look bad. Only rarely do they actually base anything in fact.