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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PolitiFact Editorial Makes a Weak Case Defending Paul Ryan

Let me start off by saying that this post is in no way in defense of the organization, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), or any of their positions on immigration.

But what I found strange in this PolitiFact editorial titled, Group says Wisconsin jobless rate was on the rise while Paul Ryan advocated for immigration increases, was that PolitiFact attempts to discredit the ad (rated "Mostly False") based on the core argument that one month does not create a trend. I think most of us can agree with that.

In their video ad, FAIR does quote unemployment rates of several Wisconsin communities from one month (June, 2013), but it's obvious the figures are posted to represent current examples of local rates. FAIR does not detail nor imply the figures form the basis for their "unemployment has been on the rise throughout Wisconsin" overview but they do link to this story as a source showing unemployment rates increased in many Wisconsin counties and cities in June. With that, "throughout" Wisconsin doesn't necessarily describe a single statewide factor such as an unemployment rate, it's just shorter for "a majority of communities."

So, Politifact continues to work on micromanaging statewide unemployment trends by placing them in the narrow window of Ryan's immigration reform advocacy of just three months (May, June and July), and zero in on June by stating, "The time frame matters because the unemployment rate increase in June was not the norm for 2013."

OK, remember that, "the unemployment rate increase ...WAS NOT THE NORM" June for 2013. Or was it a decrease? ...not the norm. Oh well, Politifact ends their convolution of conflicting statements with that final contradiction.

PolitiFact Excerpt:
But saying the rate "has been on the rise" suggests more than a one-month trend -- and there is no such trend in recent months. And for that one month, statewide unemployment in June fell, not rose, undercutting FAIR’s statement.

Basically, they're saying FAIR was desperately wrong for implying one month constitutes a trend - although FAIR never implied that. Got it? And because the rate actually fell in June instead of rising, PolitiFact is confidently right that one month undercuts everything else.

Personally, I think the video ad is well done and difficult to discredit. But Politifact always seems to take on the role of a defender when it comes to Rep. Paul Ryan. By giving the FAIR ad a mostly false rating, readers walk away with a presumption that Paul Ryan was wrongly attacked and that those unemployment rates posted in June can be conflicted enough to mean anything you want.

In the end I thought, why did they bother?


Anonymous said...

Using your logic I guess that unemployment rates have declined nationally as well? How stupid do you think we are? The official numbers published by BLS belie the fact that millions have dropped out of the labor force altogether which is the primary reason rates are dropping.

Lou Kaye said...

Okay, So I'm right.

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