Politifact & the NJ School debacle

Since I am still challenged for time but didn’t want to leave this space blank yet again, I thought I’d share some fun I had when I first discovered Politifact.

While there are some pretty good fact checking sites out there, and I’ve listed my favorites over there on the right, Politifact is probably my most favorite right now. I love the way it is organized. For instance, you can isolate on a particular person and see their full stats:


Since he is the President (no matter that 37% of Republicans polled have doubts about that – yikes!) the focus of the site is squarely on him. He has the most rated statements at 208. Exactly 50% of his statements are rated Mostly True or True. For a politician, that’s not half bad! (sorry).

What I really love though, is this page:


That page is also organized by topic (education, defense, economy etc), top 25 in terms of most mentioned during the campaign and then also categorized bu current result. Obviously this is a dynamic chart as days progress.

What I love about the site is how thoroughly they explain their ratings. Click into any one and it will explain and site the sources for the results. I like that they have shades of gray like ‘mostly true’ and ‘stalled’. In politics, applying a black and white true or false measure is always much too limiting. And, I think, where many pundits/opinion type talkers fall way way short in analyzing statements and legislation. That’s how you get statements about Death Panels for instance 😉 Yes, that one was rated Pants on Fire. I find it interesting how Sarah Palin has as many PoF ratings as Obama with barely 10% of the number of rated statements. Check out the PoF section in fact. It’s pretty darn funny!

So how do I use these sites? Well, for instance, this week one of my conservative friends tweeted about how appalled she was at some New Jersey school kids being taught songs praising Obama. Her first link was to someone’s personal blog site which didn’t link to any other site so I dismissed it. Then a couple of days later she mentions it again so now I googled it and found all the right leaning blog sites just on fire about it. Then I go to Politifact:


The expanded information link explains the situation. Being ‘pragmatic’ as I am, I’m able to say “whoa now, not a good idea there” not only to teaching the kids songs like that but also to recording it and spreading it around. Somehow I doubt those kids parents knew that would be video taped. They DID know about the song lyrics though and had no protests. But then, this all really happened in Feb just after the inauguration and during Black History Month. There is one mention of the district investigating if the parents gave permission for their kids to be filmed and those films posted all over YouTube & the news this week, but of course there is no right wing outrage over that part. I wonder why this came out so many months later too? Anyway, it’s creepy and should not have happened top to bottom for sure. The teacher was apparently already retired from the district and I guess voluntarily came in to work with the kids on this particular program. The principal is now getting a lot of heat directed at him and is refusing to divulge the teacher’s name. Probably wise since the usual suspects are whipping up an obscene amount of outrage over this. Parent’s who didn’t object in February are suddenly speaking out. Schools with the same name, but in other states are getting angry phone calls. Media types are swarming around the New Jersey school and district offices. National attention and anger over something the kids probably all forgot about immediately.



    1. I tried to leave a comment at your site, but I guess it doesn’t have a comment section? Anyhow, no, I didn’t do a search to see if this title was taken ‘first’ across the entire internets. You see, this is just a humble little place for me to rant on politics in such a way that it doesn’t bog down my personal site. I actually *assumed* there were many more of us out there using the PP description and why should that matter? I’ve got all of 10 regular readers and I wont be trying to compete with anyone. Heck, I wont even be updating than once or twice a month!
      Yes, I am aware it is a common term. I used it because it is something my friends have called me during our real life debates. Trust me – my user name around the blogs is identified with TFB since that’s been around for 4 years. And really, any other TFB’s out there surely don’t infringe upon my use of that title in any way in my mind.

      Can you please explain to me why a personal political site with hardly any traffic or anticipated traffic would need to be thinking about copy infringement on a blog title?

      All that said – I like your site – seems like you spend much more time on it and that’s awesome so I’ve got you in my Reader. Though I am not sure I appreciate the call out post you did. Perhaps an email would have been a nicer way to broach the topic?

  1. I understand that we’re both non-profits, and like I said it’s up to you. The issues matter, not the names. So if you think it’s kosher, so be it. If not, please reconsider the 100 billion name combinations that haven’t been used and don’t get mad when some angry person attacks you for something I’ve said. You’re like the third “Pragmatic Progressive”, to pop up, and please consider how you would feel if you’d been working under a certain name for eight years and then everyone else decided that will be their name. I don’t know if you plan to profit or not profit off this someday. I don’t know if your comments will be attributed to me. Sorry this was in your comments section, but I didn’t see an e-mail addy.

    So long as you don’t intend to profit, it’s your call, and I’m just asking for some courtesy.

    You can always contact me at pragpro@gmail.com

  2. Also, you are always welcome to publish on my blog, if you want a slightly larger audience. This really isn’t about my ego, or copyrights. I always like to have guest bloggers, whether you change your title or not.

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