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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PolitiFact's Nose: As Long As A Telephone Wire

"I've been outspent by my opponents every time I've run for U.S. Senate." -- Sen. Russ Feingold

That's a truth.

However, after the Journal Sentinel Politifact editorial wrongly gave Feingold’s statement a "Pants on Fire" rating on their Truth-o-meter, several Wisconsin blogs scoffed at PolitiFact's cherry-picking the numbers including this fact-based posting by Corey Liebmann of Eye On Wisconsin. Liebmann lays out the numbers and Feingold's opponents and adds them up to support the undeniable truth. Feingold has been outspent by all of his opponents in each election cycle and overall, Feingold's opponents have outspent him by almost $10 million. Numbers don't lie.

The objective folks at Politifact also implied that Feingold is disingenuously positioning himself as an underdog so as to gain sympathetic campaign donors, when according to some recent polls - he is the underdog! The idea that that statement was published in a so-called fact-based analysis just about destroys any little integrity Politifact might have had without it.

But on the surface, I tend to agree with Mike McCabe's view that, "the average voter would think of the opponent as the head-to-head matchup." That's what the average voter would think providing they zoned out the plural context of Feingold's statement or believe the garbage thrown out by PolitiFact. Yet, that is precisely why we need to keep hammering and shine a light on PolitiFact's opinion and any other self-described "facts" Wiki or Web-based org.

Kudos to Corey Liebmann.

But it doesn't end there. Politifact posted ideologically skewed interpretations defending republicans modern narrative on "renewing" Social Security.

"Somehow we have to establish a phase-out of the current Social Security system to a new system. And that will have to happen over time. It could happen in a single generation." -- Reid Ribble (8th District candidate)

Spoken like a true politician.

After that remark, an ad by Rep. Steve Kagen messaged that his opponent, Ribble, wants to phase out Social Security and that seniors should tell Ribble to keep his hands off. PolitiFact again came out swinging and ironically gave Kagen's statement, not Ribble's distorted Social Security bankruptcy narrative, a "Pants on fire" rating.

Blogger Folkbum took that one to task and ramped it up explaining how Rep. Paul "numbles" Ryan's Roadmap double-counts the same dollar everyone pays into Social Security would eventually double-up deficits and guarantee insolvency twice as fast than any other worst case scenario, since he promises current and near-future retirees no change in their benefits while younger participants risk their futures in "guaranteed personal accounts."

Clearly, the Ribbles and the Duffys' along with Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson have been parroting Ryan's erroneous talking-points on Social Security and need to be called to account.

With six weeks to go, the mainstream media now appears to be on a mission to soft pedal republicans on their destroy Social Security rhetoric.

Make no mistake, Republicans comparing Social Security to Bernie Madoff, a Ponzi scheme or "the money isn't there" terminology are not repeating those fear-based distortions to strengthen the program. These people hate it, they literally hate the idea that government could possibly provide some level of economic security for people when they've reached their senior years. Road mapping republicans, Ayn Rand republicans and conservatives want to destroy the current format of Social Security. That is a fact.

My other point about Politifact is I believe they are entitled to their opinion just like the rest of us. But tackling broad political statements with even more ambiguity or outright lies while running under a fact check banner should be considered downright fraudulent.

That is my opinion.

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