09-13-2008, 06:14 PM
Is FactCheck.com Biased
The Decembrist: Factcheck.org strikes out Cafe Talk | Talking Points Memo | Non-Partisan FactCheck.org? Not Quite
Factcheck.org operates at a level of amateurishness that is totally inappropriate for the position of final arbiter of truth that it has claimed for itself. |
Factcheck.org's unqualified assertion that "the ad is false" seems to be the main thing that gave this story legs yesterday. Yet NARAL's rebuttal is solid, at least as to the literal question of the truth or falsehood of the ad. And why factcheck.org would include in its report such dubious statements of opinion as that Operation Rescue's harassment "in some ways mirrored the non-violent tactics used earlier by civil-rights activists" is beyond comprehension. If you want to be the absolute last word on the factual accuracy of ads, you have to extract the actual statements of fact that you are checking and leave the rest aside.
TPM doesn't like me - forgive me if this has already been cover - here's the rest of my blog: |
I have seen repeated MSM references to FactCheck.org this election cycle as a non-partisan organization, most recently on a CNN blog attacking Obama's comments on John McCain's 100-years pledge with a bit of extra gusto. So I thought I better do a little fact checking on FactCheck myself. They say:
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels.
The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.
It sounds nice enough, but the problem is it's funding couldn't come from a more partisan source. Despite a lengthy list of political donations, Leonore Annenberg, the Trustee of the foundation, and the late Walter Annenberg have never made a donation do a democratic candidate. Not ever. Here's the list of donations: (You can search for yourself here)
Please feel free to advise those media outlets that refer to this group as non-partisan that they are funded by a foundation created by a man that gave $5000 to the California Republican Party in 2000. Now the foundation which funds this non-partisan organization is run by his Leonore Annenberg, who is worth $2 billion - but she can't spare a Democrat a dime.
Posted by i_like_tuesday
April 18, 2008 4:27 PM | Reply | Permalink
With so many people alleging bias at so many sources, where will this nonsense never end? Is it not possible to be both a Republican donor and also create a non-partisan (multi-partisan?) panel of people to fact check claims and news items? |
Do you have a list of fact check results that show clear bias?
Posted by another_reader
April 18, 2008 4:35 PM | Reply | Permalink
factcheck.org is biased to the right. - Democratic Underground
I agree, very biased, here is the email I sent to their editor on April 5th. I no longer take them seriously. |
I used to rely on factcheck.org emails and postings to clarify important issues that were being misreported in the media. However, I can no longer in good conscience do so. Over the past several months, your "fact checking" has been biased in several very important ways. Let me list some...
First, what you choose to fact check shows a clear bias in favor of Senator Clinton. For example, in the now wide spread issue of her lies about her Bosnia experience, the ONLY thing you had to say was, "We find some exaggerations in Clinton's claims of foreign policy experience." Then specifically, " We can’t speak to what may or may not have happened on the military transport that delivered Clinton to Bosnia." Clear video evidence shows that she has been LYING, not "exaggerating" for months about this issue. When this broke in the main stream media, did you issue an update, or clarification of your fact checking? No, it still reads as above on the website.
Second, you made no mention about the smearing of Rev. Wright. The wide spread video clips were clearly edited to be inflammatory and misrepresent the content of his sermons, particularly when he was quoting other sources rather than making his own statements. Was there any fact checking from you on this, perhaps the most important issue of the democratic primary? Nope, not a mention. You were complicit in the misrepresentations.
Third is NAFTA-gate. News had broken that the Clinton campaign had had direct communications with the Canadian government, and now we know that Mark Penn is appeasing and lobbying for the Columbian government. Have you released a follow-up and clarification? Nope.
Fourth, "Did Clinton Darken Obama's Skin?" Yes, the ad did. You make a judgement in favor of Clinton's intent, though you have no evidence to suggest it was not motivated to make him look blacker and scarier. In fact, you claim it is a page right out of a dirt politics handbook which states, when going negative, make it black and scary. The only honest fact check answer is, "Yes, they did, and it may have been ill intended."
Fifth, "Obama's Oil Spill" Give me a break... This is some of the most biased fact checking I have ever seen. While your actual "facts" are correct, how you chose to frame them and what you choose not to say are very biased and misleading. There is dishonesty in that.
I am sorry, but your emails and web site read just like the Clinton campaign talking points. I am not sure why your group has chosen to be so pro-Clinton, but it is clear you have. If you want to do some real fact check work and reporting, perhaps you should fact check the daily conference call of the Clinton campaign.
Why don't you fact check Clinton's concern for the rights off all voters...
- "Seat FL and MI" "Obama is trying to disenfranchise FL and MI"
- "Obama doesn't want any more contests to count"
Against her previous statements?
- "I know and agree that FL and MI are meaningless and the votes don't and shouldn't count"
- "This thing will be wrapped up by Super Tuesday"
- "Caucus states shouldn't count"
- "Traditionally red states shouldn't count"
I really cannot stress enough how truly disappointed I am in your organization. Like PBS and NPR, I have held you to a higher standard, the highest standard, the public trust standard. You have failed. Your bias is clear and I can no longer trust the "truth" of your fact checking.
Posted by B.Dub
April 18, 2008 6:34 PM | Reply | Permalink
| Judgment Reserved to Judgment Reversed |
This shows the difference between the way the media treated the SwiftBoatVeterans ads
and NARAL's ads against John Roberts.
A different standard
Contrary to its willingness to pass judgment on NARAL’s ad, Fact-Check cautiously avoided venturing any opinion about the Swift Boat ads. In its analysis of the August 4, 2004 ad (8/6/04), FactCheck cited a great deal of evidence that contradicted the ad’s claims—including the official Naval records and testimony from sailors who actually served on Kerry’s boat, as well as conflicting previous testimony from some Swift Boat Vets themselves. After noting these contradictions, FactCheck’s conclusion was nevertheless explicitly ambivalent: “At this point, 35 years later and half a world away, we see no way to resolve which of these versions of reality is closer to the truth.”
When discussing the Swift Boat ads on NPR (8/9/04), FactCheck’s Jackson cautiously called the Swift Boat Vets and the Kerry versions of the medals “two different views of reality,” rebuking a caller who termed the allegations lies by saying, “We can’t call these lies.” Of course, if Jackson believed that one couldn’t call one side of this debate a lie, then he should have labeled as false the Swift Boat ad’s claim (repeated four times) that Kerry’s view was a “lie”—something he refused to do.
On CNN, after the group’s second ad aired, Soledad O’Brien (8/25/04) asked Jackson if the ad was “based on the facts over the top”—and Jackson’s response, once again, was equivocal: “Different people are going to come to different opinions on that when they look at the full record—which you can’t do in four minutes, obviously.”
Jackson could, of course, have said the same thing about NARAL’s ad—substituting “30 seconds” for “four minutes.” Taking that position would have meant holding an attack on a Republican Supreme Court nominee to the same standard as an attack on a Democratic presidential candidate—something which, for whatever reason, FactCheck seemed disinclined to do. The group that media analysts pointed to as the North Star of accuracy turned out to be a spinning weather vane. And in the absence of a left-wing media echo chamber to take up its cause, the NARAL ad—and its criticisms of Roberts—became a striking casualty of an unbalanced media playing field.
...and again, this is why we need our own media.
So are they Liberal or Conservative .........
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