Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Whoever said "fact checkers" should be your guide?
Because they shouldn't. They're all questionable. Today's reminder comes from Glen Kessler at the Washington Post. Weighing in on Harry Reid's unsubstantiated claim that he was told that Romney went through a period of zero taxes, Kessler and co. awarded Reid four Pinocchios. As we move to today's column, remember that that "four Pinocchio" award wasn't for something proven false, but for something unsubstantiated. Now: reviewing the Romney camp's claim that an Obama lawsuit in Ohio was trying to strip the military of early voting priveleges, rather than granting all citizens the same extensions (under equal protection), the WaPo fokes note that "the Democratic complaint expresses unequivocal support for the military deadline." But because a potential outcome of the suit is that
the military's privelege might get curtailed back to the same as the rest of the citizenry's (which is not what the Obama campaign seeks... an overreaction, if you will...), here they give the Romney campaign only three Pinocchios.
On Twitter, I challenged Kessler; who replied, "we considered 4 for military but settled on 3 because of concerns raised by military groups on implications of lawsuit." Which I will tell you, takes the volition of choice of reaction away from the reactors, and blames it on the provoker. Which is silly, given the acknowledgment that the Obama campaign is explicitly against stripping the military and wants to support voters as a whole.
But that's not where it stops. In another Tweet today, Kessler wrote "I never use the word 'lie.'" Your mileage may vary, but I think there's something odd about a "fact checker" who would never call something a lie; especially odd given that in numerous columns he and his colleagues have expressed surprise about the repeated distortions of fact which they have already pointed out.It's a helluva stretch to imagine that campaigns are oblivious to columns written in the Washington Post, and that their continued decision to repeat distortions is in ignorance of what you've already labeled false. Sure, there can be differences of opinion, but if you think something is factually false, and they continue to state it, what is it, if not a lie?
Why isn't it a lie? If it's not, should you be bothering to call it false?
Home | | 10:43 PM
(DISCLOSURE: I work for Abt SRBI. My company does polling. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.)