A Jumbo! One More Time: If You Trust PolitiFact, You Are As Biased As They Are

“Airplanes? I don’t see any airplanes!”

There are no good political factchecking organizations. Some are more ethical than others. Snopes is terrible, biased, and unreliable unless it is really checking urban legends. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler tries, but he works in the progressive bubble of Democrats who run the place, and he is corrupted. The Annenberg Foundation’s Fact-Check.org claims to be non-partisan and often succeeds, but of late it too has entered political advocacy into a category that is supposed to be only about objective facts.

As a general proposition, it is fair to call the  exercise of “factchecking” inherently misleading and so ripe for abuse that any fact check by a media organization should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

This goes double for PolitiFact; indeed, someone saying that this is their favorite fact checker has triggered signature significance. Nobody who is properly sensitive to partisan bias and committed to objectivity can possibly trust PolitiFact, a feature launched by a Democrat newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, and recently taken over by the Poynter Institute, which I once respected as a voice for ethical journalism. Like its industry, however, it is corrupt. Either that, or Poynter isn’t providing oversight for PolitiFact.

This is res ipsa loquitur. PolitiFact, like many other media hacks from the Left, meaning almost all of them, is trying to provide cover for the “Green New Deal” that the Democratic Party has foolishly embraced, by throwing up dust, word-salads and lies. The current approach is pure Jumbo, the Ethics Alarms category for a lie in the style and scale of Jimmy Durante’s classic, trying to steal an elephant and upon being stopped by a constable and asked what he was doing with a pachyderm on a rope, exclaiming, “Elephant? WHAT elephant?”

Here’s Politifact, lying:

After U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., unveiled the Green New Deal, Republican critics said it would eventually ground air travel.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., outlined his opposition to the Democrats’ Green New Deal in a Feb. 25th Orlando Sentinel op-ed:

“If you are not familiar with it, here’s the cliff notes version: It calls for rebuilding or retrofitting every building in America in the next 10 years, eliminating all fossil fuels in 10 years, eliminating nuclear power, and working towards ending air travel (to be replaced with high-speed rail).”

Scott described mayhem if a Democrat wins the presidency; some 2020 presidential candidates are co-sponsors of the Green New Deal.

“What then? Tear down all buildings, eliminate oil and gas, and stop air travel?”

Let’s hit the brakes right there — do the Democrats want to end air travel?

We found that Scott is ignoring the actual text of the resolution. The resolution does not ground airplanes, either now or in the future. And climate advocates told us the elimination of air travel isn’t a practical goal….

The resolution makes no mention of airplanes

The “Green New Deal,” resolution was introduced by Ocasio-Cortez on Feb. 7 and has 89 Democratic co-sponsors.

A companion measure in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., has nearly a dozen sponsors — all Democrats — including presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Broadly, these resolutions address ways to curb climate change and protect the environment. Even if it were to pass both chambers, the resolution would be nonbinding.

The tell in this is that last sentence, a “hominahomina” if I ever heard one. That’s the desperate irrelevant protestation of an activist who has been caught spouting irresponsible nonsense, and can only mumble, “Well, it’s not like we really would DO it…!” In the same category is the earlier note about experts saying that eliminating air travel is impossible. Of course it’s impossible: that’s why the Green New Deal is bonkers, why it is being roundly mocked, and why it deserves every guffaw, and more.

The resolution wasn’t the Green New Deal; the resolution endorsed Ocasio-Cortez’s fever dream. She, in turn, made the mistake of revealing what her brain-child was, in the infamous FAQ that she posted on her website. (See also here.) That WAS the Green New Deal, and it did state the goal of replacing air travel with high-speed rail—you know, like they have been so successful at building in California. Once the revealed progressive, eco-fascist idiocy saw the light of day, Ocasio-Cortez pulled it down and launched the cover-story spin that it was a mistake, as if one of the gerbils in Ocasio-Cortez’s skull escaped somehow and  got mixed up. No, this was what New York’s silly socialist meant when she said “Green New Deal.”  This is what all those Democrats were endorsing with their votes, whether they knew it or not, and for any factchecker to say that Rick Scott, the President or anyone is misrepresenting this policy proposal abortion by being so gauche as to point out its ludicrous details should be enough to disqualify that organization as an information resource for any serious, objective, intelligent individual.

As with so much of late, the issue comes down to how stupid Democrats and progressives think the public is. The way it is looking, the answer apparently is that they will place all their chips on the space that says, “Too jibberingly stupid to participate in a democracy,” and spin the wheel.

[Aside: There has been much recent discussion here about the band of progressive advocates who exited the blog over the last year, many due to their apparently sincere belief that my chronicling of the unethical, dangerous and quite likely illegal efforts by the Justice Department, the FBI and others in the government to essentially overthrow the Trump presidency was an acceptance of Fox News talking points. In fact, my posts on the topic were accurate, and subsequent developments and revelations have made this undeniable by anyone still capable of fair and unbiased thought. I was reminded  of this when one of the more impenetrable partisans, defied his banned status to enter an illicit comment referring to my “conspiracy theories.”

I want greater participation from the Left, because it makes this a more versatile forum, and challenges lazy thinking, and when their analysis is not infected with emotion and bias, they can make important points and illuminate difficult issues. Sometimes, they are right.

Still, I was thinking about this post, and wondering how many of the Departed would have the integrity to reject the  dishonesty of the Green New Deal,and the Left’s deceitful efforts to convince the public that the elephant isn’t there. I am wondering how I would react to a commenter who insisted, against all logic, that PolitiFact was right. That’s a delusion, not an opinion….a delusion, or a lie. Then what would I do, as an ethicist and a moderator? Neither crazy nor dishonest advances the cause of ethics.]

17 thoughts on “A Jumbo! One More Time: If You Trust PolitiFact, You Are As Biased As They Are

  1. as much as I dislike progressivism, this blog is worse off by their absence (generally). Clear-thinking true believers are always helpful because they make the best case for their positions (good or bad). Maybe that is the lawyer in me; or, I am just a contrarian looking for conflict.
    -JutGory

    • Concur, in spite of being neither lawyer nor looking for conflict (though crochety-to-contrarian would fit). I am still and, I trust, always looking to learn, to look at the world through others’ eyes, to gather, sift and evaluate evidence on the way to truths… and to continually test my logic against my beliefs. Ethics Alarms is one of my touchstones: the more lucid marks made on it by others the more gold is revealed, the more valuable it becomes.

  2. Politifarce lost credibility to me when they latched on to the talking point about a government “ban” on gun violence research, rating true a politician lamenting that gun violence should be much more worthy than government spending of about a third of a million on rabbit massage research. I pointed out the rabbit study was funded by the NIH, and that same entity funded 22 studies on gun violence to the tune of 18 million about the same time… and still no corrections on the story.

  3. There has been much recent discussion here about the band of progressive advocates who exited the blog over the last year, many due to their apparently sincere belief that my chronicling of the unethical, dangerous and quite likely illegal efforts by the Justice Department, the FBI and others in the government to essentially overthrow the Trump presidency was an acceptance of Fox News talking points.

    It would be impossible to understand the concerted Left-Progressive reaction to the presidency of Trump without establishing, in clear terms, what he is (what he is doing) and what he represents. This requires a perspective of a person who has the *objectivity* that Politifact and other fact-checking organizations are asked to have, and is supposed to have (or, itself says that it has). One imagines then that this is possible.

    Therefore, the issue surrounds the question of objectivity and honesty as a possibility. “Objectivity and honesty”, which seem like simple demands, are excruciatingly difficult to attain and to live in accord with. It is absurd to ask that the Media Systems (the giant media news corporations which are deeply enmeshed with power & ideology & government) have such objectivity. It requires a child’s faith and trust to imagine *they* will *reveal truth* or approach reporting truthfully. But, it must be said (I think this is a fair statement) that people are generally speaking informed by the *narratives* that are established by Media Systems and those who work for them and within this realm. So-called *academia* and its experts and its views seem to ‘dovetail’ today, perhaps more than ever? with the views purveyed through Media Systems. There is, then, a kind of ‘regime’ that one notices. It underpins what could be described as a ‘regime of thought’.

    Let me put it another way: if a person decides to really & truly become *objective and honest* and starts to express observations and opinions borne out of that position, he and she will be shunned excluded derided ridiculed. I think that what I am saying here is substantially true.

    Leftists and Progressives in their pure, abstract, ideological form, according to my grasp of their critical discourse, contrast ‘democratic people’s power’ as an ideal & possibility, against concentrations of private capital that usurp people’s power. I think that is a fair general description. They have an analysis of America that is based in a critical *dialectic*. And within that general view they establish ‘egalitarianism’ as their political and social ideal. And this extends to economic egalitarianism, the philosophical underpinning of feminism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and the construction of a genuine *America* true to its ideals. And today — I think this is fair to say — their views and their policies have penetrated far into both government and also into industry and business. If this is so an acutely capitalist and corporatist system is, now, acutely interested in incorporating policies that, formerly, it shunned. The ‘managerial revolution’ of the Postwar (James Burnham wrote that book in 1941) is now penetrating itself farther and ‘structuralizing’ itself into the existing Systems. I think that this might explain “AOC” and people like her now poised to assume molding roles in American government. The System itself is gearing itself up to embody and incorporate a model of government with a civil identity that is multi-cultural, multi-racial and strenuously egalitarian (even to the point of becoming slightly *totalitarian*), while the corporate entities and their governmental partners more or less keep on as they have (and as they must). And those *interests* extend beyond the borders of America into the international sphere. American is less now an *ideal* as a model that can be *imposed*.

    But how would one describe what the Right-Conservative pole in American politics believes in and desires? Do they have a principled position as easily locatable and describable as that of the Progressive Left? I think it is fair to say that anyone would be hard pressed to find someone who enunciates this American Right-Conservative position as a series of ideals that can be communicated in a way even slightly comparable to that of the political left. But what one can say, and say fairly, is that American Conservatism and ‘Republicanism’ is nearly entirely dependent on the ideologies of the Left and Progressive intellectuals, and that this American Conservative, and Republican, is not very distinguishable from the Left Progressive. They are *right-leaning centrists* who have absorbed the same principles and ideals.

    According the the Left, the Trump Republicans are ‘dismantling’ the programs and policies that had been put in place by so-called Progressives. According to the Progressive Democrats, Trump is in this sense a diversion: a giant drama which distracts people from *what is really going on*. That is, a battle over the reins of power in a behind-the-scenes power struggle said to have dimension and repercussion. (This is the part that I do not understand very well).

    It seems to me that this view — what I describe here — needs to be established as the ground for the Objectivity and Honesty Conversation about what is going on in America.

    Obviously, as someone who can even think about *white nationalism* and try to develop a critical position toward Postwar Liberalism, I require a contrasting and contradicting philosophical position. This is found among those of the New Right who attempt to develop a critical stance.

    Therefore, if one desires to *understand the present* one will have to gain more knowledge about *all of this* and also see it in its context: long historical battles. Thus, one will have to examine *causation*.

    ::: yawn :::

    OK, I am going back to sleep now. Please say relevant things in the meantimes. And keep your responses under 1,000 words for Heaven’s sake! 😉

    • I would say your description of the ideals of the progressives is seriously flawed. They in no way want egalitarianism. They in no way are against racism. Their core beliefs are that people’s behavior, outlooks, and opinions are determined by their race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation. From this, a hierarchy of privilege is constructed based on those identifying factors. All of this is tied together by a hatred of the races, sex, and religions they have decided to scapegoat as the cause of all human suffering. Their ideology is one of hatred and violence against their scapegoats in the fight to cow enough people to give them the Communist or fascist paradise they long for. This isn’t an interpretation, this is what they state. Look at the rallies decrying white males and the war on ‘whiteness’, Christians, and Jews. Look at how Justice Democrats held casting calls to get candidates who were female, racial minorities, and/or muslim to run for Congress (AOC, Ilhan Omar, etc). What were their only qualifications? They were female, brown, and sometimes Muslim! What else do you need? People are only determined by their groups. This is definitely not an appeal to egalitarianism or against racism. You are also forgetting their most popular plank, the ‘free stuff’ plank. Their program is mostly based on getting ‘free stuff’ like healthcare, college, housing, and money. All this is supposed to be paid for by taxing the ‘rich white males’, Christians, and Jews, the scapegoats. All of this is right from the Marxist and fascist playbooks.
      Please don’t tell me I need to pretend their platform is anything but what they present. What they present is the stereotypical Communist and Marxist drivel that has been repeated for 100 years. The universities now look like the Red Guards during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Now, just as then, people are following them out of fear, and programming. If you don’t do what you are told you get banned from Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, even your bank. You may be denied service at stores, banned from an education, put in jail. This is the Chinese social credit system at work. It is presented blatantly and as a non-partisan good thing. Don’t pretend it is anything other than what it is. The progressives don’t present it as anything else, why make excuses for them that they don’t even make themselves?

      • Michael

        Is it possible that your evaluation an Aliza’s evaluation are equally true depending on who we are addressing.

        Obviously, the scapegoating component is clearly a tactic used by demagogues. However, if you ask a woke white male about the notion that he should forego any advancement to ensure a person of color gets a leg up it is quite possible the answer will be in the affirmative.

        In short the purests will absorb the demagogue’s rehetoric hook line and sinker and the demagoues will continue to use systemic unfairness as the bait to capture their attention. Things have not changed. The young are idealists that want equality and fairness while the demagogues are merely those that use progressivism to gain or retain power over the gullible.

      • Very interesting response. There is a great deal to work with in it. Yet I admit to being puzzled on many points. But you have presented me with an idea-set that will take a good deal of time to work through, and I appreciate it! What I will come up with now will inevitably be inadequate, but I will try.

        I would say your description of the ideals of the progressives is seriously flawed. They in no way want egalitarianism. They in no way are against racism. Their core beliefs are that people’s behavior, outlooks, and opinions are determined by their race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation. From this, a hierarchy of privilege is constructed based on those identifying factors. All of this is tied together by a hatred of the races, sex, and religions they have decided to scapegoat as the cause of all human suffering. Their ideology is one of hatred and violence against their scapegoats in the fight to cow enough people to give them the Communist or fascist paradise they long for. This isn’t an interpretation, this is what they state. Look at the rallies decrying white males and the war on ‘whiteness’, Christians, and Jews. Look at how Justice Democrats held casting calls to get candidates who were female, racial minorities, and/or Muslim to run for Congress (AOC, Ilhan Omar, etc). What were their only qualifications? They were female, brown, and sometimes Muslim! What else do you need? People are only determined by their groups. This is definitely not an appeal to egalitarianism or against racism. You are also forgetting their most popular plank, the ‘free stuff’ plank. Their program is mostly based on getting ‘free stuff’ like healthcare, college, housing, and money. All this is supposed to be paid for by taxing the ‘rich white males’, Christians, and Jews, the scapegoats. All of this is right from the Marxist and fascist playbooks.

        Some random thoughts

        You seem to say (though you did not say this openly) that you support their progressive ideals, but that you do not trust the political operatives that are using that idealism to gain power. In other words, you would not put together a program of ideas and ideals that would oppose their anti-racism or pro-homosexual, pro-woman, and pro- what-have-you, positions, and you accept these as good ideals?

        Would you then say that ethnics (such as Blacks, Mexicans) have no case at all, and that their demands — their accusations of racism and their campaigns against *whiteness* as a dangerous and immoral construct — are without a solid base? Would you say the same for women who clamor for ‘equal rights’ and ‘equal pay’?

        Are you saying that you basically agree then to the egalitarian program? But do not think *they* are being honest?

        If I understand correctly — of them — their position is that it is Occidental Civilization in its imperialist phase which ‘oppressed’ people of color, and that the history of America is bound up in these expressions of such imperialism. And they reverse-critique America by noting that it was not really ever set up as a place for universal freedom (for all races certainly) but rather as a specific place for the white races to live, conduct life and business, and to prosper. It is in this ‘critical project’ that they take aim at everything and anything that stands in the way of overturning the *structures* of white supremacy that, according to them, still exist.

        If that is so, what you wrote: All of this is tied together by a hatred of the races, sex, and religions they have decided to scapegoat as the cause of all human suffering makes sense: they want to dismantle ‘whiteness’ and they want to structure its oppressive qualities out of the American system.

        Like I said, a rather feeble response since this will take more thought and more time.

        You could start from the other side and from another direction, and this is the direction that the New Right is starting from. I will attempt to paraphrase it:

        That is, to accept their basic tenet that white culture (European culture) has been, for them (often), just what they say it has been. Indians slaughtered, Blacks enslaved and not a nice situation for dark ethnics. It recognizes that their (Left-Progressive) general ploy or play for ‘egalitarianism’ is a sham not because it is idealistically untenable but because it is practically untenable and should never have been attempted.

        This philosophical right is forced to *cut to the chase* and recognize that the only way for *them* to get what they want would be for them to have their own state where they could set up their system and regime. Therefore, starting in Europe which is far less ‘integrated’ than America, they are advocating for a slow and hopefully non-violent (or limitedly violent) push to make Europe white again: to reclaim itself for itself. This is a significant turn against one giant pillar of progressivism and of liberalism. And this is one (good reason) why the powers-that-be are genuinely concerned: people are beginning to consider these ideas.

        They of the New Right simultaneously recognize — if only in the idea-realm — that a similar process must begin here in America. It establishes as a fact, as a datum of perception, that the problems now rising up have come about because of the forced-integration program model (Americanism in a nutshell); because of the deliberate importation of dissimilar peoples and the deliberate adulteration of the demography, and it recommends that people — starting in the idea-realm — begin to label this as the error . . . that must be reversed so that a general white ‘super-majority’ can be reestablished.

        Again, if one really desires to get clear about *what is going on in the present* one has to put this and all things out on the table for examination and conversation. Because this is what is going on.

    • Ali: How about random things, maybe not all quite relevant?
      1) That was more clear than usual, thanks. Assuming that your analysis of the situation re “…what the Right-Conservative pole in American politics believes in and desires.” is correct, why do you think that has come to be? Is it the cumulative influence of leftist academia over time and bullying by the trained and compliant media?

      2) Here’s a comic for you (linked from SlateStarCodex):
      http://existentialcomics.com/comic/275

      3) Can a black American (or any “American of color”, if you wish) be a white European?

      • 1) That was more clear than usual, thanks.

        Assuming that your analysis of the situation re: “…what the Right-Conservative pole in American politics believes in and desires” is correct, why do you think that has come to be?

        … is it the cumulative influence of leftist academia over time and bullying by the trained and compliant media?

        I suppose I would begin by saying that the Right-Conservative pole is the vestige of the ‘original establishment’. Likely coming from the former eastern WASP elite. And that this class is descended from the Founders certainly in a racial sense, but also in terms of the Old Establishment. Although he is Catholic I think Pat Buchanan represents that older American demographic which is, now, being assaulted.

        Again, I do not think they have a ‘philosophy’ or a policy nor do they have principles or ideas that could function against the influence of an activist-class (socialists, internationalists, communists) that are advocating for new forms. My understanding is that the WF Buckley ‘conservative’ is not really a form of conservatism, but an adopting of the progressive-American program, but through limiting it or controlling it. Further, that they purged out of their ranks the more idea-based Conservatives, pushing them into the extremist camp.

        (The Conservative Republican class is usually the money and business class, isn’t it?)

        3) Can a black American (or any “American of color”, if you wish) be a white European?

        If I answered, I would have to project myself into ‘them’ and try to answer for them. And I will modify *European* to *European American* for the sake of my response.

        I have read a good deal of the writing of Angela Davis. Would she consider herself — without qualification — an American or a European? I think the answer is no. You could ask the same of Malcolm X and I think you’d get the same answer. My sense is that their sense of dignity-of-person would prohibit that identification. I had lots of contacts with Black Americans when I lived in the Bay Area (California). If I meditate on them as a whole, I sense a similar psychological dynamic.

        To be ‘full persons’ with awareness of their historical trajectory would mean that they would have to construct their identity on their own terms. And that is the key. That involves the *power issues* that brought them to the New World originally. As Davis said: We were robbed from the shores of Africa. That is a huge thing.

        As long as ‘White America’ exists, rules, determines, decides, no person of color who is aware of *who they are* could be a European-American (in the sense you seem to mean). But they could certainly be a Black-American and (necessarily) demand that America modify itself to suit them, as you would had you been forced to live a similar historical trajectory.

        (If I am unclear, it is I think because I am a coward and am used to speaking through *hints*. I am trying to become bolder. It is not easy!)

  4. As far as Walking the Walk instead of just Talking the Talk, the talented Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ personal and her staff’s grossly hypocritical approach to their own Carbon Footprint has some ‘splainin’ to do.

    GREAT line:

    But the woman who boasts of a ‘razor-sharp BS detector’ seems to have trouble sniffing out her own.

  5. The Green New deal, like the companion measure, and like mulch of was the new posterchild for the party says, is idealism without substance, and that’s really all it needs to be.

    It’s marketing. They want to sell the American people the idea of the deal to get more political power, then they’ll actually sit down and ask “what in here is reasonable”, but they’re not going to move on to step two until step one has paid off.

  6. This air travel thing is interesting. Why do lefties concede air travel is irreparable? Being completely science free, they assume battery technology can be miraculously advanced to allow for affordable storage of intermittently sourced energy sufficient to replace fossil fueled and nuclear fueled power. Why not assume airplane technology can be advanced to allow for electric passenger plane engines or really, really big rubber bands (bungee cords! They’re cool!) to be developed to propel them? My cell phone runs on batteries all day! Or like hydrogen cells. Whatever those are? Why get reasonable and skeptical all of a sudden when it comes to air travel? Is this really the kind of bold thinking we need to eliminate all fossil fuels in ten years, (just in time for all humanity to expire two years later any way)? A mystery.

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