October 10, 2010

PolitiFactWisc only contacted anti-abortion outfit

Wisconsin Stem Cell Now:
An Open Letter to Marty Kaiser, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Likewise, Ann Coulter wrote a book about evolution, and her consultant was Bill Dembski, a theologian of "intelligent design."

"[A]llowing embryonic humans to be shredded up ..."


xoff said...

In my reporting days I found that going to a second source just confused things, especially if the first one had already confirmed your own supposition.

illusory tenant said...

Boy they're gonna flip when they see how RoJo manipulated graphics of the paper in his latest teevee ad.

Cory Liebmann said...

Did you see Walker's new ad? He "manipulates" mjs pants on fire graphics. I wonder if that will get him pants on fire from Politifact?

illusory tenant said...

I'll check it out as soon as I'm done shredding up these embryonic humans.

gnarlytrombone said...

going to a second source just confused things

LOL. But really, there's something to this when it comes to the PolitiFact method.

What are they attempting to source in that story? Scientific facts? I don't think so: science really has nothing to do with what they're trying to verify. Or for that matter "fact," which calls into question the very notion of verification. Like most of their efforts, the PolitiFacters are instead attempting to referee interpretation. IT put it perfectly: just because something is misleading doesn't mean it's false.

One of the best - or worst - examples of this is in the "fact check" of a Feingold ad. The reporter (arbitrarily IMO) determines that the ad's verity turns on the implication of "government loan," then tries to nail down the correct connotation by calling an economist and a lawyer.

This is madness. The economist and lawyer may possess expertise on industrial revenue bonds, but their assessment of conventional semantic meaning is no more valuable than that of a traffic cop or carnival barker. That's really what the reporter is doing: conducting a man-on-the-street interview and passing it off as authoritative.

This is not to say refereeing interpretation can't be interesting or useful. But then the sources should be semioticians, pragmaticians and literary theorists.