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.