Monday, October 24th, 2016

We rate it a full flip for Politifact


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s failed experiment at playing fact checker of politicians finally found an error worth commenting on – their own. When Governor Scott Walker requested federal funds for the Hiawatha line between Chicago and Milwaukee, they originally rated it as a “half-flip” in the governor’s position. However, Politifact, without any explanation of the differences between the original evaluation and the revised evaluation, pulled a full-flip and gave Walker a no-flip.

Since the evaluation was made largely the result of statements made by Walker previously to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media outlets, it’s not like the governor’s views on funding for the Hiawatha line were unknown by the newspaper’s reporters. Unfortunately, without an explanation from the newspaper on why the evaluation of the governor’s position changed, we’re left in the dark what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel considered flawed in the first analysis.

Too bad the newspaper does not have an ombudsman to address these issues and to address whether bias played a role in the first rating.

Perhaps after reversing this Politifact review the newspaper will take the opportunity to look back at some of the other “Politifacts” to test their accuracy. Some of them, written about candidates on both sides of the aisle, were just awful examples of bias. (The Politifacts on Charlie Sykes and Jim Sullivan spring to mind.)

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