Romney Puts Politifact on Ropes

In two separate instances, Politifact has contradicted itself with its rating of the accurate claim made by the Romney campaign that women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under President Obama. 

The “fact checking” organization, which the mainstream media treats as an unbiased and neutral arbiter, showed how much it is willing to stretch the truth to support Obama and undermine Republicans.

On April 5, Politifact conceded that the 92.3 percent figure cited by the Romney campaign was accurate and, then, promptly -- and unbelievably -- said that the claims made by the Romney campaign were “mostly false.”

Politifact’s report left many scratching their heads, and one such person was Lanhee Chen, Romney’s Policy Director, who fired off an e-mail that eviscerated Politifact’s analysis point by point.

“Putting aside the obvious problems with rating an accurate statement mostly false, your analysis in this instance was so inadequate that the piece ended up being little more than Obama for America spin,” Chen wrote.

Chen then noted that Politifact had an “embarrassing bias and lack of journalistic standards” but “far more troubling were the selection of your two experts” and rightfully called Politifact out on its blatant biases.

Chen was referring to Gary Burtlett and Betsey Stevenson, the two experts Politifact cited in its take down of Romney.

As Chen noted, “Gary Burtless (sic) has already donated twice to President Obama’s campaign this cycle” and, “much more inexplicably, Bestey (sic) Stevenson, who you identify simply as ‘a business and public policy professor at Princeton University,‘ was until recently the chief economist for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.”

Regarding Stevenson, Chen wrote that he had “no way of knowing whether Politifact was aware of this and failed to disclose it, or whether she failed to identify her role in the Administration – frankly, I am not sure which would be worse.”

Chen then wrote that he hoped Politifact would agree that “this rating was inappropriate and that the piece does not reflect the journalistic standards to which your organization intends to hold itself ... Please retract the piece and issue a correction as soon as possible.”

But before Chen wrote his e-mail, much of the damage was already done, for mainstream media outlets like CNN used Politifact’s “analysis” in a report to undermine the Romney campaign’s accurate claims and further gave a good housekeeping seal of approval to a biased study from an organization that is becoming more hackish with each rating it puts out against Republicans.

So how did Politifact respond to Chen’s e-mail?

It doubled down on its blatant bias by again doing the exact same thing Chen accused them of in his initial email -- hand-selecting economists that would verify how they wanted the facts to be spun.

“We considered the complaint and interviewed four other economists, none of whom have formal or financial ties to any campaigns,” Politifact wrote in an updated posting. “Our additional reporting found no reason to change our ruling, which remains at Mostly False.”

It is worth mentioning that three of the four economists that Politifact interviewed were liberals from the left-leaning Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the liberal New York Times, and the left-leaning Center on Economic and Policy Research.

Politifact’s token “conservative” was disgruntled Republican economist Bruce Bartlett, who has gone out of his way in recent years to call Republicans “stupid” and “ignorant.”

And on cue, Bartlett, whom Politifact proudly reminded its readers was a “conservative,” thus purportedly giving their conclusion a veneer of impartiality, said “there’s no reason to think” that Obama’s policies have brought hard times to women.

When Republicans come up with valid, factual points that threaten to undermine liberal talking points and memes, Politifact has too often gone out of its way, as it did in this case, to collude with the mainstream media to squash and proverbially kill those points in the cradle, before those arguments are able to get into the broader political bloodstream.

Conservatives need to confront and challenge Politifact as fiercely as Chen and the Romney campaign did to try to preempt future acts of dishonesty, even if it may be difficult.

By fabricating ratings when fact-checking Republicans, Politifact has shown that its own pants have been on fire quite often, and it may be more accurate to refer to them as a subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign.


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