STUDY: PolitiFact Is Nearly 6 Times More Likely to Defend Biden Than Check His Facts

September 28th, 2022 10:00 AM

This week, the Poynter Institute and their PolitiFact website are hosting their "United Facts of America" conference to "celebrate facts" with a cast of liberal journalists, including PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, CNN "misinformation" reporter Donie O'Sullivan and CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic.

We've also found the "fact checking" at PolitiFact has a liberal tilt. Earlier this year, a NewsBusters study of Biden’s first year in office – from January 20, 2021 through January 19, 2022 – found Biden was fact-checked 40 times, while Biden critics were checked on 230 occasions. In other words, they’re much more sensitive about someone mangling the truth about Biden than they are about Biden mangling the truth. 

Now MRC analysts have updated the research to include another eight months to the count. The pattern continues. From January 20 to September 19, 2022, we counted 18 PolitiFact checks on Joe Biden, compared to 108 “fact checks” of Biden critics. That's exactly a six-to-one ratio.

Put it all together, and over his first 20 months in office, Biden had 58 fact-checks, while Biden critics were checked 338 times.  Overall, there were 5.8 fact checks of Biden critics for every one of the president.

Over his first year and a half, Biden landed on the “Mostly False” or worse side in 28 of 58 fact checks (48 percent). But the “Fact Checks About Joe Biden” were overwhelmingly negative – 298 out of 338 were “Mostly False” or worse (88 percent). There were only three that were “True,” six that were “Mostly True” -- making 9 out of 338 (2.6 percent). Another 31 were “Half True.”

There were zero “Pants on Fire” rulings about President Biden in his first 20 months. By contrast, Donald Trump has 10 in that time span. Biden has only six in his entire career since PolitiFact began in 2007. Biden could say the evacuation from Afghanistan was an "extraordinary success,” and we have “zero percent” inflation, and there were no factual objections. On April 22, he claimed he was a "full professor" for four years at the University of Pennsylvania, which is simply false. They called it "Half True."

But there have been 79 “Pants on Fire” rulings against Biden critics in the first 20 months of his presidency. Some of them repeat. On May 10, just like last year, they lunged to correct a Facebook post that the jockey who won the Kentucky Derby refused a White House visit because "If I wanted to see a horse’s ass, I would’ve finished second." They performed two "Pants on Fire" checks -- on March 25 and April 20 -- insisting Hunter Biden had not been arrested. They threw two "Pants on Fire" flags -- on July 21 and August 31 -- at "Biden threatens to assassinate Ukraine president."

Many of the fact checks about Biden are about “Facebook Posts,” “Viral Images,” or “Instagram.” Those rulings often translate into content warning flags on social media. The shutdowns of Biden critics don't just happen on PolitiFact, but on Big Tech platforms. 

Methodology note: Media Research Center analysts found only a fraction of fact checks about Biden appeared under PolitiFact’s “Fact Checks About Biden” heading. But PolitiFact lists every “Truth-O-Meter” rating on pages broken down by category, and reviewing those pages brought our total to 338.