Politfraud on oil production

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on October 16, 2012

In tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney made a claim that’s been a GOP talking point for nearly a year: “Oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land.”

As is typical, this is a completely true statement. Politifraud gives you the numbers in its very fact check. But as is typical for opinion journalists, rather than fact-checkers, they decide that a completely true statement is half-true…just because.

So: Did the United States produce 14 percent less oil on its public lands last year? Yes.

But there’s nuance in the number. Production under Obama was hobbled due to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, making a one-year figure subject to cherry-picking. And it’s not at all clear that the president in charge when the oil is taken out of the ground deserves full credit or blame; years of prior policies on exploration and drilling had an impact.

What’s especially curious about this one is that Politifraud can’t even get its own analysis straight. I mentioned that this has been a GOP talking point for months. Politifact Ohio, run by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, ruled this same statement “Mostly True,” when Sen. Rob Portman said the same thing 7 months ago.

That leaves us here: Portman’s fact was accurate: There was a 14 percent drop on public lands. Everything else can be teased out and spun for either party’s purposes. Under PolitiFact guidelines, when a statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, it rates a Truth-o-Meter rating of Mostly True.

When a completely true fact can be rated “Mostly True” or “Half-True,” you’re no longer doing fact-checking, you’re doing opinion journalism.


I'll take a look at dude's new book, but this tweet isn't promising. Watts is a self-aggrandizing extremist whose easily debunked smears have done a lot of damage to her own cause. Also, within pro-gun-control circles everyone knows she's toxic, & Busse surely knows this. https://twitter.com/ryandbusse/status/1450623648067248128

Ryan Busse@ryandbusse

It’s time for reasonable gun owners to cry bullshit on those who demonize good people like @shannonrwatts who are just fighting to make the world better. As Shannon says…it’s also time to buy this book. http://www.ryanbusseauthor.com

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October 2012



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