The hacks at Politifact

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Mark Hemingway takes Politifact.com down a notch.

Politifact is hardly above employing highly-politicized context to render judgment. The latest example of this is their recent item on Rand Paul.

Here’s what Rand Paul said: “The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year.”

Here are the facts: “Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.”

Here’s how Politifact rated Rand Paul’s statement: “False.”

Come again? The only way that Politifact can reach this conclusion is through a great deal of sophistry, which they lard on with abandon:

Since most people usually think about how much they, their spouses and their colleagues get paid in salary alone — not salary plus benefits — we think most people hearing this statement would assume that Paul means that the average federal employee gets paid a salary of $120,000. That’s simply not true.

So what they’re saying is not that what Paul said was literally false, but that according to how they think people will understand what he said, it’s not true.

This is standard operating procedure for Politifact – and another reason why they shouldn’t be trusted.

3 Responses to "The hacks at Politifact"
  1. Dom says:

    I just read the politifact post you linked to. I think it’s well done. My argument, though, is this — wh is this type of analysis never done when you hear, for example, that men are paid more than woman? Politifact says you must compare “Apples to Apples”. Good idea. But I bet they won’t do that when it doesn’t serve their purposes.

  2. Thanks for that post. I distrust fact checks anyway as a marketing gimmick that doesn’t actually offer more accurate journalism. You inspired me to write a post at SD Rostra.

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