What was strangely overlooked in the most recent Politifail debacle was its bizarre defense of its ratings. Lets start with this paragraph:
In our first couple of years, we treated many of those claims very literally. If someone said jobs had gone up since a governor was in office, and we found the numbers backed it up, the statement earned a True.
This makes perfect sense. The job of a fact checker is to check the facts. Whether the policies of this hypothetical governor was actually responsible for the creation of jobs is a debatable topic better left to the pundits. After all, the name of the website is Politifact - not Politipundit.
If you noticed in the past year or so that Politifact has made an inordinate amount of questionable calls there is actually a good reason for that, as they explain in the next paragraph:
About a year ago, we realized we were ducking the underlying point of blame or credit, which was the crucial message. So we began rating those types of claims as compound statements. We not only checked whether the numbers were accurate, we checked whether economists believed an office holder's policies were much of a factor in the increase or decrease.
So in essence they switched from being a fact checker to a truthiness checker. They became less concerned with the hard facts of a statement and more concerned what they perceived was "implicit" meaning of certain statements.
Obama is correct on both counts when using private-sector job numbers. But he went too far when he implicitly credited his administration policies.
Well at least they admit they are more concerned with truthiness and less concerned with the hard facts. I only wish they would change their name from Politifact to Politipundit if they are going to continue down this road.
As a side note I also found this statement in their defense to be extremely bizarre:
We give a lot of Half True ratings because the numbers are often right, but experts repeatedly tell us that the policies of a single executive have a relatively small impact in a big and complex economy.
They even repeated this in their failed take down of Obama:
But labor economists tell us that no mayor or governor or president deserves all the claim [sic] or all the credit for changes in employment.
Um economists are not a monolithic group. In fact there is a wide range of opinions from Keynesians to Austrians. What experts does Politifact talk to? As a matter of fact there are a lot of economists who would say a single executive's policies can have a large impact on a big and complex economy (see New Deal). It seems Politifact has more or less adopted the ideology of conservative economists as fact. Moreover, the CBO has said that Obama's policies are responsible for the creation of millions of jobs, which any reasonable individual would say is a large impact. And that my friend is a fact, whether Politipundit wants to believe it or not.
8:54 AM PT: Many of the commenters on this diary have made a good point. It seems the facts have a liberal bias, so as Punditus Maximus noted Politipundit invented a way to create a false equivalency. Thus, they can claim, "Both sides do it!"
And a big thanks to everyone for putting my diary on the rec list!