Even the supposedly unbiased “fact checkers” are unbiased in name only.
Take Pulitzer Prize winning “PolitiFact” as an example. While billed as a non-partisan project of the Tampa Bay Times, they’re proof that if there’s a (D) next to the name of the person being fact checked, you can expect more leeway in the rating they give the statement they’ve chosen to analyze. See the example below as “Exhibit A,” where they attribute different levels of truthfulness to nearly identical statements.
This example is hardly the only example of PolitiFact bias, of course. An analysis by The Federalist states:
PolitiFact is much more likely to rate Republicans as their worst of the worst “Pants on Fire” rating, usually only reserved for when they feel a candidate is not only wrong, but aggressively and maliciously lying.
All by himself, Trump has almost half of all the “Pants on Fire” ratings from the articles we scraped. Even outside of Trump, PolitiFact seems to assign this rating particularly unevenly. During the 2012 election season, PolitiFact assigned Mitt Romney 19 “Pants on Fire” ratings. For comparison, for every single Democrat combined from 2007-2016 the “Pants on Fire” rating was only assigned 25 times.
It’s not that the Republican statements they’re rating “false” aren’t actually false, it’s that they selectively chose to fact check Republicans more than Democrats to bolster the perception that those on the Right can’t seem to get their facts straight. Of course, that doesn’t mean that PolitiFact doesn’t get it wrong.
It’s important to fact check the fact checkers — or in the case when they’re hilariously wrong, get a laugh out of them, which is hard not to do when they tweeted out the following:
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) June 22, 2017
Luckily, no one was buying it.
So you used a progressive professor's opinion to make a ruling on FACT again. #parforthecourse
— Rob Eno (@Robeno) June 22, 2017
Millions of Americans in counties with one or zero insurance options probably disagree….Politifact is a joke…https://t.co/HeDZo5umLY
— Andrew Wagner (@andrewwagner) June 22, 2017
Well, considering most insurance companies have pulled out of the exchanges, how is this mostly false?
— Dat Guy👌🌶 (@Brutal7Prime) June 22, 2017
— Sally Konn (@RealSallyKonn) June 22, 2017
Every year PolitiFact awards one politician or organization the title of having made the “Lie of the Year.”
Perhaps they should be a candidate this year.