Fake News  ·   Liberal Lunacy  ·   POTUS 2020

PolitiFact’s Pants-on-Fire Claims of Neutrality

Apparently, the proper role of the “independent fact-checker” during today’s presidential campaign is to present the consistent opinion that Joe Biden is a force for truth and light, and President Donald Trump is a rampaging liar who never says anything true.

No one should suggest that these “fact-checker” groups need to parcel their rulings out in a completely even fashion so everyone gets a participation trophy for being half-right. But the dramatic tilt in these “fact-checkers” betrays an obvious partisan bias.

Just look at PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter rulings for Biden for the month of August: Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True and Half True.
Now let’s compare that to Trump’s August Truth-O-Meter rulings: one Half True, two Mostly False, 11 False and four Pants on Fire.

The shock is that PolitiFact threw in one Half True. What drives you batty is that PolitiFact employed one of its typical tropes, saying: “President Trump and Housing Secretary Ben Carson claimed a San Francisco lawmaker pushed ‘to abolish single-family zoning in California.’ Housing experts say the claim is technically correct but leaves out key context.”


Overall, from the start of 2019 through August 2020, Trump has gotten 197 Truth-O-Meter ratings, and Biden has only gotten 64. Trump rated Mostly False or worse in 156 of them (79%). He was only Mostly True or True in 17 ratings (8.6%). By contrast, Biden rated Mostly True or True in more than half: 33 of 64 (52%), and then there are 29 Mostly False or worse (45%).

Does anyone less partisan than Brian Stelter think these "fact-checkers" should boast of their "independence"?

Some might suggest this is just about a serious aversion to Trump's casual relationship with the truth. So let's take a broader view. Take the dates of the party conventions, from the start of the Democratic one, on Aug. 17, to the aftermath of the Republican one, on Aug. 28. Over those 12 days, PolitiFact checked Republicans and their affiliated PACs and pundits 32 times and only checked Democrats and their equivalents 11 times. The disparity of checks alone implies a partisan tilt.

The Democrats drew eight Mostly True or True ratings, two Half Trues and one Mostly False, a 10-to-1 true-false ratio. During their convention, former first lady Michelle Obama scored a True, and former President Bill Clinton was Mostly True -- as usual?

Then look at the Republicans. There were four Mostly Trues and one Half True ... out of 32. The other 27 ratings were Mostly False or worse. Trump drew two Pants on Fire ratings. Donald Trump Jr. and Rush Limbaugh also received a Pants on Fire. This all adds up to almost a 1-to-8 true-false ratio.

On July 17, PolitiFact posted a YouTube video of executive editor Angie Drobnic Holan to answer the question "What is PolitiFact's agenda?" Holan declared, "Our agenda is simple: It's to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy." That's what all the left-wing journalists say.
She later proclaimed: "The PolitiFact agenda is: Don't take sides with any politician or party." Really? There's no political tilt? She claimed: "We're independent, and we work hard to find the truth. So we follow the facts wherever they take us, regardless of who made the claim."

Fact check: Pants on Fire.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

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14 thoughts on “PolitiFact’s Pants-on-Fire Claims of Neutrality”

  1. You left out that Politifact is an arm of the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, which owns the Tampa Bay Times, one of the most liberal newspapers south of the Washington Post.

    Paul Poynter would be rolling over in his grave if he could see what has happened to his beloved Times.


  2. The question and concern should not be the results of the analysis but the actual facts. If Trump is lying or presenting falsified evidence then that should be the issue. Where is the truth when you need it?
    I have a real difficult time supporting Biden and his political ineptitude, but every voter deserves the facts.

  3. I have learned that one CANNOT trust the so-called “fact checkers”. I have learned those people are politically biased and are not hesitant to ‘paint’ words to suit their agenda. Phooey! So THERE !!

  4. I do not give politifact any trust, nor the majority of fact checkers in general. Snopes is a joke, Wikipedia is a joke just to name a few that people use. I have found that when I am trying to research just about anything that is political if I use the Google search I either end up with only left leaning articles that come up, however if I use different search engines I find that information is much more neutral and or just plain factual. Google is not the friend to those who seek truth, and what do we have today…..ALL those cell phones that come with GOOGLE everything on them. I never use Google on my cell other than for maps, if I want straight information that has not been suppressed by big tech, I do those searches at home on my Mac-Apple laptop and use a variety of search engines. I do not think that MOST people realize how GOOGLE has the monopoly and how they skew searches.

  5. Though fact-checkers should be apolitical, this doesn’t seem to be the case in many of the situations. When people are employed as fact-checkers, it should be part of the job description that they are truthful and honest in their search for the truth, and if proven to be otherwise, they should be fired and labelled as liars. Media outlets don’t seem to understand that much of their reputation hinges on their telling the truth. For those outlets that don’t care about the facts, they are contributing to the dumbing-down of our society, and ultimately will lead to a more over-all stupid and cynical segment within our country.

  6. The very first time I even heard of “fact checkers” my first thought was “who checks the fact checkers?” As I thought about it just a little bit, I realized that if we had anything that resembled responsible journalism, there would be no need for fact checkers, because that is part of the role of the news media. So the fact that we “needed” fact checkers is an admission that the news media can’t be trusted to do their job; something that was apparent to anyone paying attention. Therfor it was obvious that the “fact checkers” real role is to convince you that the fake news is real, and that was needed because too many people were beginning to see the news media for what they are; fake news.

  7. There are three kinds of lies “Lies, damn lies and statistics”. Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli, and/or Leonard Courtney—– “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point. Wikipedia

  8. I am a moderate conservative. If Politifact is slanted to the left, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, they why doesn’t the Right create it’s own fact checking organization to argue the points false to Politifact? It’s hard to argue with someone who cites Politifact’s point of view without doing your own research, and that’s nearly impossible on the spot.

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