Politispin: 'Fact-Checkers' Mislead on GOP Leaders' Favorable Unemployment Numbers

The purportedly unbiased Politifact will go to great lengths to help Democrats. The latest example of which is an attempt at trying to claim that raw data that showed the unemployment rate dropped in every state that elected a Republican governor in 2010 is somehow only "Half True." 

John Robitaille, a 2010 Republican candidate for governor in Rhode Island, read a Breitbart News story about the unemployment rate having dropped in every state that elected a Republican governor in 2010 and tweeted: "Unemployment rate dropped in every state that elected a Republican gov. in 2010"

This piqued the curiosity of the Rhode Island branch of the biased fact-checking organization, Politifact, whose biases were recently called out by the Virginia Republican Party. Politifact called the drop in unemployment rates “a beguiling statistic” and “wondered whether it was true and, if so, was there more to the story.”

Politifact contacted the author of the report on which the Breitbart News story was based. Robert Elliott, of the Examiner.com, told Politifact that he had used this public database to report two things: 1) the unemployment rate dropped in every state that elected a Republican governor in 2010 and 2) the unemployment rates in those states, on average, dropped at a faster rate than those in states that elected Democrats. 

In a remarkable twisting of facts and logic, Politifact concedes Elliott’s two points are true before somehow rendering those points to be “Half True.” 

“That type of spin would be expected of, say, the Democratic Governors Association, but not a supposedly ‘objective’ and ‘nonpartisan’ news organization that claims to be the official arbiter of the truth,” Elliott told Breitbart News. “It is the insidious nature of PolitiFact's bias that makes them so loathsome.”

Elliott told Breitbart News that Tom Mooney, of Politifact, contacted him via an e-mail that displayed not only his careless grasp of simple facts (Mooney referred to “Robert” as “Bob” instead of “Rob”) but blatant bias. Here is an e-mail Elliott shared with Breitbart News:  

Thanks Bob,

It's interesting, don't you think, that in seven of the eight states where new  Democrats won, the unemployment rate also went down? In fact, other than New York, the unemployment rate has gone down in all 49 other states since Jan. 2011. Interesting, huh?

Thanks for your help.

Tom Mooney

From this e-mail, it is obvious that Mooney had intended all along to “fact check” facts to make them more favorable to Democrats.

But what Politifact did was even worse than spinning facts, which they could not do in this case; Politifact, according to Elliott, dismissed the data in question because it “casts the GOP in a positive light” and thus “apparently cannot simply be ‘True,’” and looked at “completely different numbers instead, so they could find a way to come to a conclusion that makes Democratic governors appear superior.” 

“Color me unsurprised that PolitiFact would take a claim that is undeniably 100% true but refuse to rate it as ‘True’ because that might prove unhelpful to Democrats,” Elliott told Breitbart News.  

Elliott cited PolitiFact numerous examples of similar misdeeds, such as “their refusal to even provide a rating for the ‘Obama ate dog’ claim, even though it is unquestionably true.” 

PolitiFact was unable to find anything untrue with my analysis of unemployment data in states with new governors elected in 2010,” Elliott said. “One might expect, then, that the Pulitzer Prize-winning organization would rate the claim as 'True.' But that isn't PolitiFact's modus operandi.” 

Politifact quotes Gary Burtless, of the liberal Brookings Institution, who has contributed $750 to Obama’s campaign. In an effort to make Burtless seem more objective, Politifact says Burtless gave the McCain 2008 campaign “advice on aspects of labor policy."

Burtlett is quoted as saying, “the flip side is that chief executives cannot claim much credit for a strong economic recovery that begins shortly before or after they take the oath of office. The conditions that made the recovery possible were already present when their term in office began."

This sounds exactly like what Obama says about the economic mess he inherited while trying to deflect blame for the actions he took to make the situation even worse. 

Politifact then goes on to compare the unemployment rates of the states that simply elected a governor who was from a different party from the predecessor’s, which is a completely different analysis than Elliott’s, which is what Politifact was supposed to be “fact checking.” 

When doing that analysis resulted in Republican governors still reducing the unemployment rate faster than Democratic governors, Politifact decided to compare the unemployment numbers of the Republican predecessors in states that elected Democrats and Democratic predecessors in states that elected Republicans. Only then -- when not even comparing the current crop of governors or the past two years, which was the basis of Elliott’s analysis -- was Politifact able to find something they could use to say Democrats (predecessors) were slightly better than Republicans (predecessors) at reducing the unemployment rate.

So, Politifact set out to “fact check” Elliott’s story, realized they could not disprove the facts in his story, so they did another unrelated study of their own that they then used to say Elliott’s story was only half true.

In conclusion, Politifact wrote that “John Robitaille’s Tweet that the unemployment rate had dropped in every state that elected a Republican governor is true as far as it goes,” but, “We find Robitaille’s claim ‘is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context,’ our definition of Half True.”

The fact remains, despite Politifact’s strange analysis, that the unemployment rate dropped in every state that elected a Republican governor in 2010. 

It seems everyone except for the purportedly unbiased Politifact can see that, even when those facts are viewed through liberal-tinted glasses, which just goes to show how liberal and biased Politifact really is. 


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