J. Christian Adams: At Politifact, the Truth Is Often ‘Missing’

In this May 17, 2016, file photo, ballots are prepared for counting at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland, Ore. The coronavirus has knocked presidential primaries back several weeks as officials worry about voters crowding into polling places. If the disease remains a hazard in November, Democrats say there's only …
Don Ryan/AP Photo

Did you hear that Jimmy Hoffa really isn’t missing? His whereabouts are just unknown.

Maybe he’s hanging out on a Pacific Island with Amelia Earhart.  She isn’t missing either. It’s just unknown where she is.

This is the sort of nonsense the fake fact checkers at Politifact expect the public to swallow.

It might be funny if Politifact only spent its time debunking alien and ghost claims. Instead, fake fact checkers at Politifact are obscuring and hiding vulnerabilities in our voting system on the eve of an election.

Last week I testified to Congress about the dangers of vote by mail. Among them are a lack of transparency, where the poor and vulnerable are voted by third parties. I saw this firsthand in the case of United States  v. Ike Brown, a case I tried in federal court, where ballot harvesters exploited mail voting to steal votes.

Federal data also show vote by mail has serious problems. Data from the United States Election Assistance Commission show that over the last four federal elections, over 28,000,000 million ballots were mailed out and are missing. The ballots never came back and were never cast.

The number is staggering, and it obviously triggered all of the usual foundation-funded media outlets who are paid to obscure and hide the truth about voter fraud.

First it was ProPublica. To demonstrate the ballots weren’t missing, they enlisted an academic to disagree. They weren’t missing, he said: they were probably “in landfills.”

Alright. They are missing or in landfills. Noted.

Then enter the fake fact checkers at Politifact. They took issue with using the word “missing” for ballots that we can’t find, eventually labeling it as “mostly untrue.”

Amy Sherman of Politifact wrote me via email that “experts said it is wrong to call the ballots missing.” That proves you can find an expert to say just about anything.  My email response to her:

They are missing because nobody knows where they are. They might be in landfills.  They might be in the woods.  They might be in a trunk.  Here is simply why they are missing: nobody knows where they are and the EAC categories support the assertion.  Do you know where they are? Can you find anyone to tell you where they are?  You can’t because there is no way to track them.  They never came back.  Nobody knows where they are.   Missing is but one appropriate description.  Here are more: Vanished. Disappeared. Untracked. Unaccounted for. Unknown. Untraceable. MIA. Gone without a trace. AWOL.  Need any more?  This isn’t complicated stuff.

That wasn’t enough, because part of the Politifact paid-for agenda is to hide voter fraud and obscure weaknesses in vote by mail. It’s what the donors who fund Politifact demand, as we shall see in a moment.

The literal category in the EAC data is that the ballot’s location is “unknown.”  The mail ballots were sent out, and where they are is unknown.

For seventy years, band leader Glenn Miller wasn’t missing.  His whereabouts were just unknown, until we discovered he was probably resting on the bottom of the English Channel in a UC-64A Norseman.

In the old days, before foundation-funded outlets like Politifact appeared on the scene, Americans would agree that there is a problem when 28,000,000 ballots are mailed out, never come back, are missing, whereabouts unknown. In the old days, everyone would ask why. They wouldn’t quibble and smear like Politifact does.

In the old days, we might slow down any vote-by-mail push when we see these numbers.

Which brings us finally to who pays the bills at Politifact and why.

Politifact is part of the constellation of groups funded by leftist foundations who attack those fighting voter fraud and election vulnerabilities. They push the same narrative their funders do.

Scores and scores of allied groups funded by the same funders push the same message. That is why Politifact should not be taken seriously.

Influencewatch has the goods on them:

Since 2013, Democracy Fund has donated more than $1,000,000 to PolitiFact, both to the PunditFact project and to grow PolitiFact’s operations in new states. Poynter took over operation of PolitiFact in 2018 to make it easier for the site to solicit charitable donors for support of its work.

The Democracy Fund exists to attack those who fight voter fraud and who preserve state control over elections.  It is a hard-core leftist foundation.

Don’t just take my word for it about Politifact’s biases. Again, Influencewatch:

An independent 2013 analysis from the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University concluded that PolitiFact was three times as likely to rank statements from Republicans as “Pants on Fire,” and twice as likely to rank statements from Democrats as “Entirely True.”

So next time you see a Politifact truth meter, think about who pays the bills. The truth is less important to them than the cause. The issue is never the issue.

Perhaps Amy Sherman can do her next piece on why it is “mostly untrue” that D.B. Cooper is missing. We just don’t know where he is. Maybe he’s hanging with Jimmy, Amelia and Glenn, laughing along at what passes for journalism today.

J. Christian Adams is a former Justice Department attorney and President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation.


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