Bozell & Graham Column: The Liberal Tilt at 'PolitiFact'

June 28th, 2016 11:50 PM

CNN's Reliable Sources offered a panel discussion on June 26 asking if Americans are so apathetic to the truth that our politics have entered a "post-fact check phase." This is a reference to Donald Trump, of course. The media believe he's a liar and gets away with it because of public apathy. What these journalists will never concede, however, is that Democrats get away with dishonesty because of their own apathy. Hillary Clinton's obscene lie about landing in sniper fire in Bosnia is a distant memory.

Washington Post humorist/columnist Gene Weingarten was less than amused. Referencing the segment, he tweeted out "Everyone associated with this needs to be fired, killed, buried in an unmarked grave."

Surely he was reacting to Trump-defending Jeffrey Lord , who said "I honestly don't think this fact checking business anything more than, you know, one more sort of out-of-touch elitist media type thing." You can start with CNN.  It has been documented countless times over the years how its fact-checking of politics has required fact checking in return.

CNN is by no means alone.  This arrogance, this "out-of-touch elitist media-type thing," also infects a liberal-media project calling itself PolitiFact. CNN interviewed PolitiFact boss Angie Drobnic Holan, who agreed that in assessing last week's candidate speeches, Hillary was more accurate than Trump. "Clinton is very well-prepared. She is very literal. She doesn't make unforced errors." Like Bosnia?

Let us briefly review the ratings this "fact-checking" project gave the candidates that week.  

Trump had nine statements rated. There was one"Mostly False," four "False," three "Pants on Fire" lies, and one "True" - restating that Hillary-Bosnia thing. Hillary had only four rated statements: two "True," one "Mostly True," and one "Half True."

A Clinton critic can easily shred these results. They found it "True" in a Hillary speech to Planned Parenthood that maternal mortality has plummeted since Roe v. Wade - as if that's some kind of scientific principle connecting the two instead of a general advance in health care since 1973. That was a "Mostly False."

What about Hillary claiming Trump "actually said `women should be punished for having abortions'?" Fact is, under heavy pressure from Chris Matthews, Trump gave the thoughtless answer -- "there has to be some form of punishment" --  but fact also is that he then almost immediately backed away, withdrawing that answer. "Half True" is being generous.

PolitiFact avoided Hillary saying "Thank you for being there for Natarsha McQueen, who told me how Planned Parenthood caught her breast cancer when she was just 33 years old and saved her life." Wrong. One of the most persistent lies is that Planned Parenthood does mammograms and "catches" breast cancer. They only refer women to other people who do mammograms. That lie is told incessantly by Hillary Clinton. "Pants on Fire Lie" puts it mildly.

This is a pattern with PolitiFact. Overall, they've rated Trump as Mostly False/False/"Pants on Fire" 77 percent of the time.  But they've rated Hillary as False 27 percent of the time.

The PolitiFact political agenda jumps off the page. Republicans: Ted Cruz lands on the "false" side 65 percent of the time, Newt Gingrich 57 percent of the time, and Rick Santorum 55 percent of the time. Democrats: Obama is ruled false 25 percent of the time and Bernie Sanders is false only 30 percent of the time. This is the guy who routinely says "the business model of Wall Street is fraud."

Then consider possible Hillary running mates. HUD secretary Julian Castro has 11 ratings from PolitiFact and not a single one leans False. Elizabeth Warren has only four ratings and again not a single one leans False. It's not just quality of analysis, it's quantity. Ted Cruz and Warren were both elected to the Senate in 2012. Cruz has been assessed for truth on 114 occasions by PolitiFact, but Warren only four? And for the record, there's no rating for Warren claiming to be part-Cherokee Indian.

Does this sound like a liberal out-of-touch elitist media thing? Jeff Lord nailed it.