Without getting into the pros and cons of this most recent debate, I did want to share a couple of quotes from PolitiFact editor-in-chief Bill Adair:
"We're going to make the best calls we can in a pretty gutsy form of journalism," he says. "When we do, I think it's natural that the people on one side or other of this very partisan world we live in are going to be unhappy."And from PolitiFact itself:
The most over-the-top response (was it tongue-in-cheek?) was a rant from Jim Newell in Gawker under the headline "Why PolitiFact is bad for you." He conveniently ignored the fact that our fact-checks are based on hours of journalistic research and portrayed them as the work of rogue bloggers with a gimmicky meter.We've mentioned concerns about the decline of journalism and how various factors compound the problem. This is another one of those compounding factors: the strange obliviousness of many journalists. Adair, on the record, describes his own work as "gutsy." He holds up "hours of journalistic research" as an impressively high standard. He seems incapable of thinking of criticism as being based on anything but partisan bitterness. (If you think I'm cherry-picking here, follow the link above. The whole piece is like this.)
Even if you put aside the many criticisms of PolitiFact (spelled out cogently and with crushing thoroughness by Chait) and view them in the best (and I do mean best) possible light, the most you can say for the organization is that it's doing what we used to think of as standard due diligence from journalists.