The stated job of Politifact is to get the facts and present them correctly. They fail in spectacular fashion.
As we are approaching the time to replace the desk blotter calendar, most outlets are busy with their annual summations. Top-10s and “Best of” lists will be predominant all the way through New Year’s, and over at Politifact, they follow suit, issuing what that outlet has declared to be its Lie of the Year – 2021. It is an exciting time as we are on the edge of our seats. Who will win?!
Will it be CNN lying that Biden was not given a vaccine program from Trump? Maybe 60 Minutes having its supposed expose of Ron DeSantis debunked before it even was broadcast? Or Rolling Stone claiming Hospitals were overrun with non-existent Ivermectin poisonings? How about the bogus ICE agents whipping migrants as they crossed the border? Wait, certainly, it will be Chris Cuomo repeatedly lying about his involvement with his brother’s sex scandal, right?!
It seems that we are to be permanently infested with this offshoot of the journalism game known as fact-checkers. More outlets are coming out with their own variation of this reportorial method, which forces questions to the fore on the matter. If your news outlet is doing its job of reporting stories and the facts therein, why is there a need for a separate office dedicated to reporting facts?
As we know, these divisions are a hustle. They treat their reports as definitive last words on a topic (despite frequent corrections, which defy their very description), manipulate results by using sliding scale measurements or applying their interpretations or context, and target Republicans and critics of the Democrats far more often. This last example we recently saw as Politifact tried fact-checking Townhall for posting a Joe Biden video of a speech, with no other commentary; it was just Joe’s own words.
Well, now, Politifact joins all the other news outlets running end-of-year special reports, theirs signifying what they declare to be the Lie of the Year, and what is amazing here is – they lie throughout its presentation. To start, here is their grand announcement.
By the evening of Jan. 6, democracy was still standing. But the manipulation of the narrative was already underway. PolitiFact’s 2021 Lie of the Year? Lies about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and its significance. 🧵https://t.co/BriwueYTfi pic.twitter.com/WEGJGv0Gs8
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) December 15, 2021
Now, this selection in itself is not exactly shocking. I guess the real surprise is they showed restraint and did not go with The Big Lie as their choice. But they did not pick a solitary example as their “winner” — it was awarded to the overall January 6 coverage, and here is where the viscounts of vérité, went off the reservation. The outlet listed numerous examples of what they declared to be errant coverage about the Capitol riot, and in so doing they dispatched their very mission statement – they butchered the facts.
Politifact made the pick of highlighting those who were “downplaying the realities and significance of the Capitol insurrection.” The site gave a lengthy Twitter thread laying out their case, and in it you see them departing from their one job, which is getting the facts correct. The first problem is that they declare that anyone who was not bleating hysterical claims about the riot was “downplaying the realities” of the attack. They even quote a judge calling this the worst attack on the Capitol since 1812. The bombings in the 70s, nor the actual shooting of five Congressmen on the House floor by Puerto Rican radicals are facts that Politifact is not interested in.
Those who were using hyperbolic descriptions are not fact-checked; they are considered correct. Therefore, if you dare say something like, we have seen worse attacks, you are downplaying their hysteria, and thus you are considered a liar. It also means you can accurately cite historical FACTS and be declared a liar. It is a convenient little dodge.
But there is also a convenient massive dodge by the site. Throughout their explanation, Politifact repeatedly calls the Capitol riot an insurrection. This is a claim that, again, is diffused with the application of FACTS. First, there was no real attempt to overthrow the government. Sure, they stormed the Capitol in opposition to the confirmation vote, and it was wrong to do so. But it was not a coup attempt, no matter how desperately they want it to be classified as such.
There are nearly 700 people who have been arrested for involvement in the January 6 attack. Barely a handful of them are facing a weapons charge, so this was not an armed takeover attempt. The FBI has declared there was no organized plot to storm the building that day. Even the Jan.6 Commission has released text messages this week showing GOP players wanting to stop the attack as it was taking place – the opposite behavior of those staging a coup.
But the most obvious reason it is wrong to call this day of violence an insurrection is supported, once again, by the facts. Look over those 700 detainees facing criminal punishment and you see one commonality throughout; not a single person is being charged with insurrection or treasonous activity. That is a significant departure from the claims being made…by these FACT checkers.
In one of the comments, the site says this: Nearly a year later, there is zero evidence to say that Jan. 6 was an antifa operation, a tourist visit, a false flag, or an uneventful day to forget. I do not know of anyone suggesting it should be forgotten, but this choice of words is telling. There is also zero evidence showing this was a planned insurrection, yet that does not deter the FACT checkers from claiming this was the case.
We have come to expect that this division of the journalism industry is a manipulative tool used to massage the facts in order to help form a chosen narrative. What is remarkable is that they are brazen enough to make a declaration of what they consider to be The Lie of the Year, and in so doing repeatedly lie in order to make their point.