A blogger for USNews, Peter Roff, wrote this back in 2013, and it is worthwhile to examine it once again:
Now comes a study from the George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs that demonstrates empirically that PolitiFact.org, one of the nation’s leading “fact checkers,” finds that Republicans are dishonest in their claims three times as often as Democrats. “PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims during President Obama’s second term,” the Center said in a release, “despite controversies over Obama administration statements on Benghazi, the IRS and the AP.” http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2013/05/28/study-finds-fact-checkers-biased-against-republicans
I have no doubt at all that the Study was correct. The fact checkers most probably do rank Democratic Politicians as more truthful about 3 times as often as Republican Politicians.
(I say politicians because Democratic and Republican American ordinary Citizens are NOT the subject of anything I am about to say.)
There is a simple reason for this, and it is not bias (although of course some bias can always creep in).
The reason is this:
The Democratic Politicians ARE three times more truthful and accurate than the Republican Politicians.
We Americans, and in particular the press, have gotten a funny–and dangerous–notion into our heads: In ANY argument, the two sides have equal validity, and must be given equal time and equal acceptance.
This of course is a corollary of the Laws of Idiot America that Charles Pierce discovered:
- Anything is good/true/valuable if it moves units (sells things/makes money).
- A fact is what enough people believe.
- Truth is how fervently they believe it.
From these also flows the idea that any one’s opinion about something is the equal to an educated opinion from a bonafide expert in the field, and indeed opinions Trump® (actual) Facts.
Read Pierces’s book for the whole horrible story:
A fact-based decision making process, a requirement for our Democratic Republic as the Founders knew, is scarcely to be seen.
We progressives of the Yankeedom-led coalition are not blameless in how experts came to be distrusted. During the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, we attempted a wholesale reliance on “experts” to run our society, and they made some whopping mistakes.
We need to admit this and work to restore the legitimate place of expertise in our National Discourse.
(For the coalitions that make up the United States, see these two works:
Nevertheless, the meretricious and lying scheme to bamboozle the American People into believing falsehood was cooked up to keep on selling tobacco long after the Tobacco Industry knew it was deadly.
Pierce outlines how the Tobacco Industry called on a Madison Avenue Advertising firm to help them, and a strategy of subterfuge was plotted to create a false “scientific” controversy about the effects of tobacco with falsified studies, purchased “experts,” calling any one with an MS a “Scientist,” and generally pseudo-scientific skepticism.
It worked for a long time. Hey, the GOP VEEP candidate, Mike Pence still believes it:
“Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill,” he wrote on his old Mike Pence for Congress website in 1998, BuzzFeed first reported more than a year ago.
(And don’t forget, if Trump® wins, he and Trump’s kids are actually going to running the country…you don’t think The Donald® wants to work that hard, do you?)
More recently, the Creationists and the Climate Change Deniers (the Fossil Fuel industry) have used the same strategy with great success. So too the Birthers, the Speed Boaters, and the “Crooked Hillary” crowd. (Fact Checkers–remember them?–rate her the most honest of all the candidates in this cycle.)
In a perverted mockery of the Fairness Doctrine, the Media have decided that on any issue, both sides deserve equal time, regardless of the factually demonstrated falsity of one side. However:
- Creationism is not an alternative scientific theory. It is a religious and philosophical viewpoint that belongs in a different classroom, not in science curriculum.
- Humanity’s effect on the global climate is the clear consensus from the vast majority of real scientists and studies. We see the effects all around us. Must we wait for Florida to become an Archipelago to act?
Once the falsity of claims like these and those of the Birthers, the Speed Boaters and the “Crooked Hillary” crowd are shown to be false, the media should stop covering their politically-motivated supporters who don’t have the civility to shut up. Falsehood, Lies and Untruth do not deserve a voice.
I am not suggesting that they should stop speaking—thank God and the people of New Netherlands that we have Freedom of Speech—I am suggesting that we, and our media, ignore them.
There are answers—actually scientific, factual answers—to the questions that face us today. We must stop letting our “gut” rule us, and get back to listening to the Head—and the Heart!
Enough ranting for today! Thanks for reading!
Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant