TV Tropes Org

Forums

On-Topic Conversations:
Politifact's 2011 Lie of the Year
search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [38]
1
2

Politifact's 2011 Lie of the Year:

 1 Wicked 223, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 8:21:37 PM from Death Star in the forest
I'm sure many of you know this already, but Politifact recently selected the claim that 'Republicans voted to end Medicare' as the biggest lie of 2011.

Now, granted, this statement is simply a bit of hyperbole that's missing a qualifier, but this error hardly merits the response that I've seen from some people in response to it:

"Let me say that you have lost any credibility you may have had. There is absolutely no doubt that the intention of the GOP is to destroy Medicare and privatize any programs that benefit the 99 percent of our country so that their friends on Wall Street can steal that money too. You, The Fourth Estate, have failed the American people by allowing these Nazis to cloak their un-American, obstructionist, racist and bigoted agenda in slickly worded disingenuous double talk to fool the ignorant into voting against their own interests. You have failed to call them liars for years. … Another pathetic disservice to the American people from the current lame excuse for the Fourth Estate."

"Why does anyone care what this gimmicky website has to say, ever? … Why should St. Petersburg Times bloggers' opinions — no offense to them! — carry authoritative power to make final judgments? They're imperfect humans who fact-check political claims, just like every other a——— on the Internet. But people have bought into their branding gimmick, their ratings. More than anything else, Politi Fact reminds me of the credit rating agencies. They are just companies that employ credit risk analysts. But since they devised a similarly easily digestible alphanumeric code — AAA, BBB, AA+, whatever — and people have bought into this, they wield immense centralized power over the entire world. But that doesn't mean they won't screw up. Politi Fact is dangerous. Stop reading it. Stop reading the ‘four Pinocchios’ guy too. Stop using some huckster company's stupid little phrases or codes or number systems when it's convenient, and read the actual arguments instead. You're building a monster."

It is sad that you have completely destroyed your credibility. You are no longer a bipartisan site but just a confused bunch of tools. I would go into detail but seriously why waste any time on your site? I'll never pay any attention to any of your verdicts again. I hope someone steps up to replace what was once a credible source. Now you are worthless and irrelevant. Good riddance.

I've heard a lot about the "Cult of Centrism", the overriding need for news outlets to appear objective, on this forum. But I don't think that a simple journalistic error means that Politifact has lost all credibility, especially not since it seems to be doing exactly what they want it to.

What do you think? has Politifact been completely drained of all its integrity by this decision?

edited 23rd Dec '11 8:22:09 PM by Wicked223

You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
 2 USAF713, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 8:26:16 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Meh. Exact Words. The Republicans really never did want to do that. They just wanted to privatize Medicare/Medicaid.

...

...which is one step away from abolishing it on the stupidity scale, but whatever.

I don't think it says anything about their integrity. I think it just means that they have no sense of scale. There are probably loads of better things they could have picked.

I would have nominated Scott Walker's claims that "I ran on an anti-union platform!" or whatever, sense that actually caused quite the ruckus.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 3 Wicked 223, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 8:30:20 PM from Death Star in the forest
I don't think it says anything about their integrity. I think it just means that they have no sense of scale. There are probably loads of better things they could have picked.

From what I can tell, they didn't pick it based on the depth of the claim's falseness, but how widespread it was as a political talking point.
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
To be fair, while the republicans may WANT to destroy medicare as we know it. the vast majority of them know its about as politically feasible and palatable to a large section of Republican voters (read: older and elderly voters) as full legalization and support of Gay marriage.
Going Forth!
 5 Aceof Spades, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 8:39:48 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Meh, one mistake doesn't ruin a site's credibility. So long as they own up to it and then move on. *shrug*
 6 Chalkos, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 9:29:07 PM from The Internets
Sidequest Proliferator
Honestly I think Politifact's mistake was in declaring a "lie of the year, " as that puts them in the position of having to make an inherently subjective declaration of opinion— a dangerous thing for any organization that claims to be a beacon of facts in a world of lies and political manipulation..

 7 Blixty Slycat, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 9:35:12 PM from Driving the Rad Hazard
|like a boss|
The problem with an organization that dedicates itself to rooting out journalistic error and misinformation, is that said organization—being journalistic—is itself fully capable of making errors and printing misinformation.

Politifact is only slightly more trustworthy than your ISO standard news outlet, in my opinion.
go ahead and do every stupid thing you can imagine
 8 Chalkos, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 9:38:43 PM from The Internets
Sidequest Proliferator
Your standard news outlet is usually quite trustworthy, in that you can trust that what it's reporting isn't made up. Misinterpretations and errors do happen, but are usually caught in the fact-checking net. Politifact differs in that it makes an effort to fact check others, and while it has also made errors, it is a valuable resource because it does evaluate political claims on a factual basis, something few other sources do.

 9 feotakahari, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 11:11:14 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Some of the response has been substantive and thoughtful. The critics said we ignored the long-term effects of Rep. Paul Ryan's plan and that we were wrong to consider his privatized approach to be Medicare. In their view, that is an end to Medicare.

We've read the critiques and see nothing that changes our findings. We stand by our story and our conclusion that the claim was the most significant falsehood of 2011. We made no judgments on the merits of the Ryan plan; we just said that the characterization by the Democrats was false.

Our competitors Fact Check.org and the Washington Post's Fact Checker had also said the Medicare claim was false — and this week both picked it for their biggest-falsehoods-of-the-year lists.

Some of our critics wrongly attributed our choice to our readers' poll and said we were swayed by a lobbying campaign by Ryan. But our editors made the choice and the poll was not a factor.

Others portrayed it as a case of false balance where we put our thumb on the scale for a Democratic falsehood. This, too, is a sad byproduct of our polarized discourse, from people who are sure their side is always right.

Their choice fits the standards they've applied in previous years. The response is just as widespread and just as stupid as I expected, but I'd like to think it doesn't represent liberalism, any more than the Tea Party represents conservatism.

(Yes, I just compared Paul Krugman to the Tea Party. After his comment, he deserves it.)

Edit: Perhaps I should make my response to this clearer. I might be talked into agreeing that Politifact should not have made this choice. Politifact, like the New York Times, uses a certain metric to determine what stories are important, and unlike the New York Times, it has outlined what that metric is. Its behavior is so far completely consistent with that metric, so crediting it with a centrist bias is as ridiculous as when people falsely credit the New York Times with a left-wing bias.

edited 23rd Dec '11 11:14:59 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 10 Radical Taoist, Sat, 24th Dec '11 7:42:50 AM from the #GUniverse
 11 Karkadinn, Sat, 24th Dec '11 8:31:58 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
Krugman appears to take issue with what I consider to be necessary marketing tools - things like the lie of the year and the truthometer. In an ideal world, maybe we would have nothing but articles explaining things and never tidy, flashy little sum-up graphical displays, but that's not what gets you traffic.

Looking over the articles themselves, one sticking point that I notice gets brought up a lot in the 'end Medicare = false' conclusion is the fact that current seniors would get exemptions so that any changes would only apply to current youth once they'd grown up. And that's just... sleazy, blatant pandering.

There are a lot of other reasons, of course, but by and large it mostly boils down to whether or not you consider increased privatization to be tantamount to ending a program entirely. (When a claim was simply labeled that and not 'ending' the program, it was rated mostly true.) I can see them judging 'ending' it to be false wholesale, but it's only false in the same way that all marketing is - it simplifies a concept so the audience isn't bothered with all the details. To label it ludicrous enough to be a lie of the year seems pretty centrism-biased to me, considering that we all know the GOP really would freaking do it if their voters would only let them get away with it. Lacking that, coming up with plans that make it suck as much as the rest of our privatized medical industry is the best they can do.

I found a good comparison on another website - If you choose to never purchase gasoline again, are you 'ending' your car? Technically your car still exists - in a completely worthless state.

edited 24th Dec '11 8:40:34 AM by Karkadinn

Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
Moar and Moar and Moar
Let me see if I can find a good article on this. Here.

http://gawker.com/5869817/politifact-is-bad-for-you

The reality on this specific case, is quite simply, let's say you have a Ferrari. Someone takes that Ferrari, and crashes it, and buys you a Volvo, but they take the hood ornament and the nameplate off the Ferrari and put it on the Volvo. Do you have a Ferrari or a Volvo?

That's actually what this is about. Politifact is claiming that you actually have a Ferrari. They're saying that political framing is more important than actual policy means and ends. And this is an absurdly dangerous, and yes, centrist stance.

Edit: This is the original

America turns off the lights, goes to bed, leaving their Mercedes in the driveway. While we sleep, the Republicans sneak into the car, drive it off, and sell it, but they keep the Mercedes hood ornament. They then split the proceeds between their rich buddies, and go out and find a Ford Pinto up on cinderblocks in a field, with the grass growing through the floorboard. They place that in the driveway, cleverly glue the Mercedes ornament onto the front of the Pinto, and sneak off into the night. The next morning, America and Democrats are screaming- “What the hell happened to my car.” Republicans say- “What are you talking about, there is your Mercedes right there, we just modernized it and fixed it up a bit for long-term financial stability, ” and point at the Pinto.

Then, the rocket scientists at Politifact drive by to take a non-partisan look at things, see the Mercedes symbol on the front of the car, and tell us all we’re lying about the Republicans stealing our Mercedes.

It’s crazy, really.

From http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/04/the-year-of-lying-decadently/

edited 24th Dec '11 8:44:38 AM by Karmakin

Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 13 Wicked 223, Sat, 24th Dec '11 8:49:20 AM from Death Star in the forest
I'm confused: Isn't this the same sort of thing that Republicans do, and get called out on most of the time?
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
 14 Karkadinn, Sat, 24th Dec '11 8:53:13 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
[up] Such as?
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
 15 Wicked 223, Sat, 24th Dec '11 8:54:35 AM from Death Star in the forest
Saying that the closure of tax loopholes is tantamount to raising taxes, for one thing?
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
Moar and Moar and Moar
Well the big difference there is we're talking about policy means and goals and not branding. Removing loopholes IS raising taxes, but at the same time it's just restoring fairness to the system, so there's a level playing field. It depends on what your priorities are.

Neither side is lying per se, they just have different views on the same subject. It's the same thing as this debate (although I would argue that it is the privatizers are being substantially more shady here, to be honest)

Edit: To go a bit more in-depth on the policy aspects of the example, let's assume that you eliminate all loopholes, and lower the appropriate tax rates to be revenue neutral. (In this case, we're generally talking about corporate taxes, to be specific) On some companies, you are increasing their tax burden, if they were taking advantage of loopholes, and for other companies, you are lowering their tax burden, if they were unable to take advantage of said loopholes.

So are you raising or lowering taxes? You're kind of doing both.

edited 24th Dec '11 9:03:06 AM by Karmakin

Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 17 Karkadinn, Sat, 24th Dec '11 9:20:52 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
All that and, this may sound odd, but most people I know have no objection to taxes being raised in a general sense. The kneejerk anti-taxation fury of the GOP is something I don't really see reflected in general society atm because taxes are so low, and most people understand that implicitly.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
 18 tricksterson, Sat, 24th Dec '11 10:48:20 AM from Behind you with an icepick Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
Never Trust
Why don't you folks just be honest and admit that if they'd made a Republican mistatement their lie of the year you'd be swearing by it?
If it's an authority figure and it's breathing it's guilty
 19 Drunk Girlfriend, Sat, 24th Dec '11 10:53:39 AM from Castle Geekhaven
Because not all of us would?
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
 20 storyyeller, Sat, 24th Dec '11 11:10:05 AM from Appleloosa Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
I suppose they picked a Democratic "lie" this year in order to appear balanced after two Republican lies.
Life is simple: it has no nontrivial normal subgroups.
 21 They Call Me Tomu, Sat, 24th Dec '11 12:17:18 PM Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Sureeeeendaaaa
I strangely agree that it should be the lie of the year. However, it should also be rated Half-True.

The reason it deserves to be lie of the year isn't by virtue of being "the worst lie" since it's barely even false. But rather, it's by the sheer penetration of the line.

Though honestly, Poltifact shouldn't rate lies like that-lie of the year shouldn't be a thing.

Proud Canadian
Why don't you folks just be honest and admit that if they'd made a Republican mistatement their lie of the year you'd be swearing by it?

Becasue this wasn't a mistatement.
If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
 23 They Call Me Tomu, Sat, 24th Dec '11 1:04:18 PM Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Sureeeeendaaaa
More importantly, that's not an argument.

How we'd be reacting in different circumstances does not in any way address the arguments being made.

Moar and Moar and Moar
Tomu, see my post above. I actually think the people who want to continue to call a privatized system Medicare are actually lying more than this "lie" itself. (To be fair I wouldn't really call either claim even dishonest)

For what it's worth, my pick for the lie of the year is http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_04/028869.php just for the pure audacity of it.

It was a statement that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. (The actual number is about 3%). An aide replied for the speaker, Jon Kyl, that it "Was not intended to be a factual statement".

There's your lie of the year right there.

edited 24th Dec '11 2:49:52 PM by Karmakin

Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 25 feotakahari, Sat, 24th Dec '11 3:11:50 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
They're saying that political framing is more important than actual policy means and ends. And this is an absurdly dangerous, and yes, centrist stance.

I guess I can see why you call it an absurdly dangerous stance, but I'm not sure why it's necessarily a centrist stance. They call out the left when the left frames its arguments badly, and they call out the right when the right frames its arguments badly, but they'll call out either side more if either side more frequently frames its arguments badly. (And I personally don't consider it dangerous—it's not like they're saying we can't determine which policies are stupid. They're only delegating that task to others, while they themselves cover what statements are factually incorrect. It's a legitimate focus for any site that wants to avoid being purely centrist, while at the same time avoiding becoming a one-sided harangue.)

edited 24th Dec '11 3:12:51 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Total posts: 38
1
2


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy