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View Diary: PolitiFact says you need evidence to make claims about Mitt's tax returns (155 comments)

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  •  Politifact says they objectively evaluate claims (2+ / 0-)
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    MPociask, sethtriggs

    I give them a "pants on fire" rating for this statement.

    Yes, Harry Reid made an unsupported statement. However, when offered a chance to refute this claim, Romney did not do so. He did not release his tax returns for the last 10 years, as everyone who has been watching this unfold well knows.  Moreover, Romney has not categorically denied this. His exact words?

    Well, Harry Reid has to put up, or shut up. All right.

    There is no way for me to parse that comment as meaning, "No, I did pay Federal income taxes in the last 10 years." It's plainly evasive. Even his elaboration cannot be parsed as a clear & unequivocal denial of Reid's accusations:

    Let me also say categorically, I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes. A lot of taxes. So Harry is simply wrong.
    This may seem to be a lot of hairs-splitting, but we are faced with two people with differing accounts of the truth. If Romney had clearly said he had paid Federal income taxes, then someone like Politifact could be expected to investigate how likely Reid's claim was. But he didn't say that; Romney evaded the question. So a disinterested observer is welcome to assume Romney may have done something very unusual: managed to evade paying Federal income taxes for 10 years.

    And if Politifact believes it is germane to investigate how likely it was that Romney hadn't paid any Federal income taxes, wouldn't it also be germane to investigate whether either -- or both -- party is lying? Romney's truthfulness on paying taxes has been investigated by Rachel Maddow, so Politifact has no excuse not to consider that angle. (It would also mean that Harry Reid's ability to tell the truth should be investigated, but AFAIK no one has called him a liar, let alone a compulsive liar of the calibre of Mitt Romney.)

    This report is barely more than a white-washing. I could accept a "Mostly False" or "False" rating, but I am probably too generous in accepting half-done work. But for "Pants on Fire", I would expect Politifact to further show that Mitt Romney has no worse than an average record on telling lies -- a fact well documented by a more careful researcher. Should we start another pool for when (if ever) Politifact retracts their rating?

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