Friday, October 14, 2016

Two and a half examples of bias at Politifact - UPDATED: Three and a half!

The first time I noticed blatant bias at Politifact was when reading Hillary Clinton says Bernie Sanders voted for regime change in Libya | PolitiFact. It gives Clinton a rating of "mostly true", even though it admits, "Sanders supported a non-binding Senate resolution that called on Gaddafi to resign his post in a peaceful, democratic transition of power" and quotes Sanders explicitly opposing regime change:
"Look, everybody understands Gaddafi is a thug and murderer," Sanders said to Fox News. "We want to see him go, but I think in the midst of two wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan), I'm not quite sure we need a third war, and I hope the president tells us that our troops will be leaving there, that our military action in Libya will be ending very, very shortly."
A non-binding resolution is not regime change—regime change is supporting the use of force to change a regime, as Clinton did when she encouraged Obama to support the people who staged the coup against the democratically-elected President of Honduras.

In Libya, Clinton got her wish for regime change. The New York Times sums up what happened in Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall:
The president was wary. The secretary of state was persuasive. But the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi left Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven.
Today I noticed a second example of even more blatant bias. In Trump says Clinton viciously attacked those who charged abuse by Bill, PolitiFact concludes,
Bill Clinton certainly has been accused of sexual assault and having affairs. The record shows Hillary Clinton played a role in defending her husband, and that the Clintons’ first presidential campaign deployed tough tactics to defend against stories of consensual sex.
Their rating is "mostly false".

But the charges against Bill aren't about consensual sex. Even Clinton apologists like Slate's Michele Goldberg acknowledge that Juanita Broaddrick's rape charges are very credible. Juanita Broaddrick's case against Hillary Clinton, explained - Vox points out,
Norma Rogers, who was the director of nursing at the nursing home Broaddrick ran at the time, told reporters that she entered the hotel room shortly after the assault allegedly took place and "found Mrs. Broaddrick crying and in 'a state of shock.' Her upper lip was puffed out and blue, and appeared to have been hit." Rogers elaborated to the New York Times, "She told me he forced himself on her, forced her to have intercourse."

Broaddrick's friends Louise Ma, Susan Lewis, and Jean Darden (Norma Rogers's sister) all told NBC News that Broaddrick told them Bill Clinton raped her at the time. David Broaddrick — with whom Broaddrick was having an affair at the time; they both eventually left their spouses to marry each other — also told NBC that Broaddrick's top lip was black after the alleged incident, and that she told him "that she had been raped by Bill Clinton."

This is real evidence. It includes Broaddrick’s eye-witness accounts, as well as confirmation from two further eye-witnesses that Broaddrick had injuries consistent with the assault she alleged. Further, those witnesses and more confirmed that Broaddrick recounted the assault to them in 1978, when he was not nearly as powerful a political figure, and one who she supported.
When Politifact glosses over rape charges, they are not interested in facts. Significantly, they don't address the insults Clinton is said to have used when talking about the women. We know Betsey Wright, who worked for over a decade Bill Clinton, coined the phrase "bimbo eruption" for his accusers.

Because "fact" is in Politifact's name, it's hard for them to ignore facts, but they can obfuscate them when it's useful. Reading How much would Bernie Sanders’ health care plan cost the middle class? | PolitiFact, you might conclude no one knows whether Sanders' plan would save money. But US Uncut noted that if you didn't skim the article, you'd see that that Politifact concluded that Bernie's Healthcare Plan Saves Families $1200/Year.

That's a conservative estimate, of course. For a better look at the savings of universal healthcare, see How Much Universal Healthcare Would Cost in the US – Decision Data:
The Netherlands is actually a good baseline to use, since private companies still exist as more regulated entities alongside the government system, and it’s not likely the US will ever shut down private companies. When we add in the costs of obesity and the drug costs listed above, we land at around $6,862 per person on average in the United States. That’s a total savings of around $1,851 per person; $600 billion overall, or about 21.2% of the total cost of healthcare.
ETA: A new example from If Clinton Campaign Believes WikiLeaks Emails Are Forged, Why Don’t They Prove It?:
Ordinarily, if there is no supporting evidence for a claim, PolitiFact has no problem declaring it false. But in this case PolitiFact reached no conclusion — and actually went so far as to raise the possibility that the Clinton campaign does have proof that the emails have been doctored, but isn’t sharing it for political reasons.