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Nov 28 2012

The Conservapedia of Fact Checking

There’s a new site called Conservative Fact Check that will likely provide a good deal of entertainment. The creator of the site, some guy named Chuck Rogers that few people have heard of, says it is “dedicated to providing a conservative alternative to enormously liberal-biased fact checking sites like snopes.com, factcheck.org, and politifact.com.”

And they have “definitive proof” that Politifact is biased, which is going to crack you up. Their proof is that they added up all the times Politifact had called a political claim a “pants on fire” lie and — shock and horror — conservatives were more likely to receive that designation than liberals. They don’t dispute a single one of those “pants on fire” calls; in fact, they don’t even discuss any of them. All that matters to them are the numbers.

To have any semblance of fairness, PolitiFact should play it 50/50 and present an equal number of lies from both sides. They clearly are not concerned with any pretense.

Well that might be true, if both sides lied equally often. Do they? Rogers does not even make an attempt at such an argument. Well, he does make this very amusing argument:

The results are, sadly, not surprising. But the situation is grave. PolitiFact (and other supposedly unbiased fact-checking sites) paint Mitt Romney as a serial liar. They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place — she simply says what she feels.

Seriously? That’s your argument for why it’s unfair to call Michele Bachmann a liar, because she isn’t trying to make truthful claims in the first place? Brilliant. Absolutely freaking brilliant. Andrew Schlafly would be so proud. This site may rival Conservapedia for the number of gut laughs per visit.

58 comments

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  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    Fact checking sites have a “liberal bias” because reality has a liberal bias.

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    Snopes has a liberal bias?

    Let’s see how this works, then. Is he saying that if Snopes was a bit less lefty, they wouldn’t be quite so certain that the:
    Stolen car is returned with theatre tickets inside to lure away the owners while their home is burgled.

    Is perhaps true?

    Or perhaps what he’s saying is that the whole duality of true/false is too simplistic. But, no, he couldn’t be saying that because he’d have just blown his entire epistemology out of the water.

  3. 3
    Mr Ed

    her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place — she simply says what she feels.

    So her political career is performance art? She is just the Joe Isuzu of the House? Or the dementia patient who writes legislation?

  4. 4
    Bronze Dog

    They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place — she simply says what she feels.

    In other words, it’s unfair to call a person who says untrue things a liar.

    Though granted, you can split hairs about whether a falsehood told recklessly because the speaker didn’t feel like researching the truth constitutes a deliberate deception or just willful negligence. Doesn’t really matter too much to me, since either way, the goal is to stop the spread of falsehood by way of negative reinforcement. If you don’t want to be called a liar, do some basic fact checking to make sure you’re telling the truth before you say it on national television or whatever.

    Just yesterday I found out about a blog post asking people to prove the author wrong without resorting to logical fallacies. Someone stopped by to whine that she was unfairly limiting their options.

  5. 5
    holytape

    So Michele Bachmann isn’t a lair, because she didn’t meant to be truthful in the first place? So Michele Bachmann isn’t a lair, because she meant to lie. So since she meant to lie, and therefor she meant to be a lair, and since she meant to lie and therefor isn’t a lair, does that mean that Michele Bachmann fails at being a liar? …. Head explodes.

  6. 6
    D. C. Sessions

    So if he starts with the a priori rule that both sides lie equally, and adjusts the “truthiness-o-meter” to support that.

    Anyone care to speculate how long it will be before his results are offered as proof that both sides lie equally?

  7. 7
    Chiroptera

    What? Conservatives need to have someone else just make shit up rather than doing it themselves? How lazy can you get?

  8. 8
    loren

    “They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place”

    Wow. Echoes of the “Not intended to be a factual statement” excuse.

  9. 9
    mandyjane

    They have an article titled “American Hero: Sheryl Nuxoll” she’s proposed the same ditzy thing the guy on WND proposed about the electoral college needing a quorum. You had an article here about it. There’s no fact checking! They just call her a hero.

  10. 10
    Aspect Sign

    They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place — she simply says what she feels.

    I see, she is delusional rather than dishonest. While neither should be acceptable qualities in an elected representative, if those are my only choices I think I would prefer dishonest, at least that retains the possibility of being rational underneath the dishonesty. Unfortunately Michele Bachmann clearly appears to be both.

  11. 11
    Anthony K

    They just call her a hero.

    Which Democrat do they also call a hero in order to remain fair and balanced?

  12. 12
    Tony Sidaway

    I’m pretty sure this is a Poe. I could always be wrong.

  13. 13
    mandyjane

    @Brownian – ha! EXACTLY.

    I kinda think this is a big joke, though. I know there are some weird wingnuts out there, but this just seems like a parody.

  14. 14
    DaveL

    One of his articles:

    Dean Chambers Uncovers Voter Fraud

    Big news from Dean Chambers, of Unskewed Polls fame: voter fraud has been found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida… Many people have suspected voter fraud, but it looks like Dean Chambers has found the smoking gun. For complete details of his analysis, visit his new site, barackofraudo.com.

    There’s no analysis of the claim whatsoever. Great fact-checking job, there.

  15. 15
    raven

    They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar…

    I don’t think Michele Bachmann is lying. That takes a certain amount of mental ability.

    AFAICT, she is delusional. A victim of fundie xianity induced cognitive impairment. She shouldn’t even attempt to cross a street without her minder these days.

  16. 16
    samharris

    I would love to check out the original paper on the determination of a ‘liberal bias’ in the so-called MSM from a few years back. As I recall, their determination was premised on the ratios of positive/negative coverage of liberals/conservatives on a ‘random’ number of days.

    I’m betting that even those folks were working on the notion that all politicians engage in equal amounts of dishonest activity.

    How dumb.

  17. 17
    DaveL

    In a “fact checking” article about a NOAA report on climate change:

    It is implied, but never stated, that the NOAA really is taking temperature tests in the middle of the oceans. It’s more likely that they are doing some averaging of their own; doing some linear calculations based on temperature readings at coastal points on either side of each ocean, and then extrapolating the temperatures at the points between them. The flaw in their science is the fact that oceans are cooler than land — so if this were a map of actual temperatures, the oceans would be blue… and the map wouldn’t be nearly so dramatic.

    <jaw drop>

  18. 18
    hylidae

    From their article “debunking” NOAA’s state of the climate:

    “The left has its “scientists” and “economists” and “statisticians,” while we have common sense. And common sense will win every time.”

    This site almost has to be a parody.

  19. 19
    eric

    To have any semblance of fairness, PolitiFact should play it 50/50 and present an equal number of lies from both sides

    Hands up if you think the new site will follow its own advice on having a ‘semblence of fairness.’

    Anyone think half of their ‘liar’ ratings will be conservatives? Anyone? Beuller?

  20. 20
    Bronze Dog

    To have any semblance of fairness, PolitiFact should play it 50/50 and present an equal number of lies from both sides

    Sooooo, if we’re talking about a sporting event, the referee, to be fair, has to end every game in a tie?

    What he’s advocating is the mainstream media concept of “balance,” which is quite often antithetical to fairness.

  21. 21
    composer99

    They also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place — she simply says what she feels.

    what is this I don’t even

  22. 22
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    These are the facts you use as a Republican to make yourself feel better.

  23. 23
    rolfboettger

    I checked their fact-checking, and it absolutely has to be satire/parody.

    http://conservativefactcheck.com/filter/category/fact-check

  24. 24
    Bronze Dog

    …she simply says what she feels.

    This bit reminds me of a lot of newagers I’ve met over the course of my life as a skeptic. It doesn’t matter what the logic evidence say, what matters is what you feel is true.

    Of course, if this is parody, that would be appropriate ridicule.

  25. 25
    jamessweet

    Yeah, this is a real problem. As an ideology starts to lose touch with reality, it becomes self-reinforcing. If purportedly unbiased sources have only bad things to say about your ideology, you could realized your ideology is wrong (hah!), or you could decide those sources were biased after all.

    In other words, if your ideology is wrong enough, then it becomes impossible to identify unbiased sources.

  26. 26
    Anthony K

    Sooooo, if we’re talking about a sporting event, the referee, to be fair, has to end every game in a tie?

    Right, and the courts would have to either incarcerate everyone or no-one, too.

    Lying, theft, murder—you’re not even attempting a pretence of a semblance of fairness if you only focus your legal attentions on those who actually commit crimes—

    Fuck, I meant to lampoon Chuck’s perspective, but ended up describing the legal systems of both the US and Canada anyway.

  27. 27
    Wes

    That site definitely exemplifies a Poe, where I could imagine someone stupid enough to say those things. However, this quote pushed me over the edge:

    Donald Trump delivered what should have been a crushing blow to the Obama campaign just weeks before the election, by exposing Obama’s unwillingness to release his college transcripts. As a result, $5 million — which could have gone to any charity that Obama had chosen — stayed in Trump’s bank account.

    But did the Romney campaign mention this? Not once.

    http://conservativefactcheck.com/content/articles/39

    Gotta be a parody, right? Please, let this guy be joking, non-existent Jesus. I wouldn’t want to live in a universe in which my suspicions are wrong and he’s for real.

    Of course, that hasn’t stopped Breitbart.com from quoting this guy like the site’s for real. Maybe the joke’s on them.

  28. 28
    davem

    “Chuck Rogers”. Hmm, that’s not based on Chuck Norris is it? That NOAA article has me thinking it’s a spoof. The bit about the ocean should all be blue cannot be serious…

  29. 29
    AshPlant

    Yeah, it’s most certainly a spoof, pisstake, attempt at invoking Poe’s Law, parody, mockery and slash or created with derisive intent. From http://conservativefactcheck.com/content/articles/25 :

    25,000 – 50,000 adults die prematurely each year due to a lack of health insurance.

    25,000 to 50,000. Are those numbers accurate? Perhaps.

    But, remember: there are some 206 million adults living in the United States (source: Wikipedia).

    This means that each year, only one in four thousand adults will die prematurely as the result of a lack of health insurance. That’s statistically insignificant.

    So, practically speaking, Romney is correct.

    Statistically insignificant? Ping! Added to the dedicated, almost deliberate-seeming lack of sources and fact checking…just that little bit too far.

    It’s a good one though. Got lots of people fooled on the site.

  30. 30
    Alverant

    So if they want to be fair, does that mean they’re going to call out conservative lies too?

  31. 31
    Daniel Kolle

    As a comedian and satirist (albeit one very low on the totem pole), I might know a thing or two about spoofs. This site is too self-aware to be anything but a parody. The fact that is site came out after the election lends support to my position, too.

  32. 32
    frog

    To quote George Costanza: “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”

  33. 33
    Worldtraveller

    I feel like Chuck Rogers is a total douchewaffle. I don’t need to justify this, I just feel it’s true.

    Damn, I gotta start me a website! So, the important question is (I’m not going to give that page any hit counts), does he have a donate button set up somewhere yet?

  34. 34
    Worldtraveller

    Ok, I read the later posts. Chuck is either a total douchewaffle, or a brilliant satirist.

    And no, there is no in-between!

    Because I said so dammit!

  35. 35
    alvintheaardvark

    I sure hope it’s a Poe – have you read the ‘Reagan didn’t raise taxes’ entry?

    In its entirety:

    Reagan was a lower-taxes, small-government Republican. Raising taxes would never be something he would even consider. If he had, the economic results would have been disastrous.

  36. 36
    democommie

    Fact Checkers, my ass.

    They miss the one Glaring ANOMOLY in the whole “blue ocean” scenario.

    The oceans ARE getting warmer in certain places. Those places are where the huge, underwater FEMA labor camps are set up, thousands of feet down, on the sea floor. They are mining manganese nodules for Obama’s Lizardian Overlords. Mars needs women; the LO’s need manganese, LOTS of it, to carry out their breeding programs! True Story!!

  37. 37
    gshelley

    Has to be satire, though the real nutty stuff that makes it obvious is a few links in
    http://conservativefactcheck.com/content/articles/20
    has a method for balancing the budget that not even the most extreme of Republicans would endorse

  38. 38
    Jordan Genso

    They have their own news.

    They have their own polls.

    They have their own encyclopedia.

    They have their own universities.

    They have their own math.

    They have their own science…

    Why shouldn’t they have their own facts as well?

    If they’re going to live in their own alternate reality, they need to know what the agreed-upon facts are in that reality.

  39. 39
    baal

    It might not be done by an actual conservative but I’m not sure I’d call it satire either. My guess would be someone who doesn’t care really but wants ad revenue. The crap on there is mostly consistent with the various intellectually lazy talking points the right puts out. The tone and language is the same across articles so I suspect it is just one person assembling the pages.

    As to politifact, I gave up going to the site (before maddow did a few pieces on them) due to its right wing spin. They may not support Bachmann but they aren’t equal in judgment.

  40. 40
    philhoenig

    Harry Frankfurt’s essay “On Bullshit” describes the same distinction
    that Rogers is making. According to Frankfurt, If you know what the truth
    is and say it, you’re truthful; if you know that the truth is and say something else anyway, perhaps because the truth doesn’t suit you, you’re a
    liar; if you’re ignorant and/or apathetic towards the truth and say whatever suits you, you’re worse than a liar – you’re a bullshitter.

    It might be amusing to have a fact-checking site that ran with this idea
    and, rather than place statements on a truth/lie scale, place them on a
    truth/lie/bullshit triangle.

  41. 41
    Area Man

    I can’t tell if it’s satire. It’s extremely stupid, but it’s stupid in a way that is perfectly consistent with contemporary right-wing beliefs and cognitive deficiencies. Which is to say, if it’s fake, I don’t think satire is the right word for it. Mimicry is more like it.

  42. 42
    pacal

    Let me get this straight it is unfair to call Michele Bachmann a liar because she knows she is lying when she lies, and / or doesn’t care if what she says is truthful to begin with?

    Pathetic.

  43. 43
    thebookofdave

    “This site may rival Conservapedia for the number of gut laughs per visit.”

    Both sites should do the responsible thing, and feature the warning banner:

    WARNING: Exposure to these articles have been associated with explosive spit-takes. Violent epileptic fits of laughter may propel users from their seats, resulting in serious injury. Users are strongly cautioned to avoid simultaneous consumption of beverages and our content.

  44. 44
    ursamajor

    Took a quick look at the site – I vote real. But then, the right wing is impossible to satirize – one can only quote.

  45. 45
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    So if he starts with the a priori rule that both sides lie equally, and adjusts the “truthiness-o-meter” to support that.

    Unskewed Facts™

  46. 46
    Nihilismus

    This article should lay to rest any question about whether the site is satire: http://conservativefactcheck.com/content/articles/5.

    The Bush administration did not find Osama bin Laden simply because they weren’t trying too hard. If they wanted to, they could have, but shortly after September 11th, the Bush administration wisely turned its focus to the conflict in Iraq for the ultimately successful hunt for WMDs. Due to the Bush administration’s efforts, Saddam Hussein was deposed and could not use his stockpile of WMDs against Israel or the US, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda were driven from Iraq.

  47. 47
    Area Man

    This article should lay to rest any question about whether the site is satire:

    I hate to break it to you, but that twisted nonsense you quoted accurately reflects what a significant portion of people on the right really do believe.

    I don’t know if it’s “satire” or not (if so, it really skirts the traditional meaning and purpose of satire), but it’s neither here nor there when people point to various inanities on that site and say, “There’s no way anyone could be that stupid.” Sadly, they are. We have Conservapedia as an exemplary model of deranged but completely serious right-wing fantasia.

  48. 48
    bad Jim

    I vote for tongue in cheek:

    The spin machine was out quickly on this one: after many bloggers watched in horror as Michelle Obama said “all this for a flag?” on live TV, deaf people came to the consensus that she was probably just saying “amazing how they fold that flag.”

    This one just takes common sense. Who would you trust — educated bloggers, including James S. Robbins of the Washington Times — or some deaf people, who have no political experience, a wide range of education, and may be Obama supporters?

    This one might be the most telling:

    Hey, look at that — not counting the Eisenhower/Carter outliers, Obama’s the only Democrat on the wrong side of the Misery Index.

    The point being that people almost always do better with a Democrat in the White House.

  49. 49
    bad Jim

    This reminds me how much I miss “mad the swine”.

  50. 50
    dingojack

    Hopefully not ‘Mad the pork pie’. :(

    And on an unrelated note.

    Dingo

  51. 51
    dingojack

    Uh – I think I meant: ‘Hopefully he/she is not…’, sheesh!
    :) Dingo

  52. 52
    Ichthyic

    In other words, if your ideology is wrong enough, then it becomes impossible to identify unbiased sources.

    IOW, this is another definition of religion.

    …just in case it hasn’t already been noted multiple times.

  53. 53
    Ichthyic

    ‘Mad the pork pie’. :(


    Goodbye Pork Pie

  54. 54
    Ichthyic

    If they’re going to live in their own alternate reality, they need to know what the agreed-upon facts are in that reality.

    NOW i get why conservatives always called Dungeons and Dragons “evil”:

    It was competition.

  55. 55
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    @23:
    Followed your link. One of the articles was on the number of people in the US who die from no health insurance each year. The numbers they used were 25-50k. They linked to Wikipedia for the population of the US, which they list as 206 million. Yet wikipedia lists the US population at 314 million. How can you provide a link to a site, but get your numbers that wrong?

  56. 56
    bradleybetts

    And look at this gem of an article on their Oh so unbiased “factchecking” site.

    http://conservativefactcheck.com/content/articles/52

    *sigh*

    (sorry, no idea how to link).

  57. 57
    Michael Heath

    BradleyBetts:

    sorry, no idea how to link

    Here’s a link to a page that shows you how. I’ve bookmarked this link. I also usually keep this page open in a window with other pages I’ve got open where I might comment, e.g., Ed’s blog posts that are getting active comments. I then subscribe to the permalink at the bottom after the comments start to die out so I can close that page at some point without missing out on subsequent comments.

    Then when I want to link to a webpage in a comment, I just copy and paste the the tags as they’re formatted on the afore-linked page into the box where we type our comments. At that link’s page, it’s the line which contains the comment, Visit W3Schools.com! I then copy and paste over that line’s URL and comment with the URL and comment I’ll be publishing in my comment post just like I’ve done here.

    There may more efficient ways to do this, like memorizing the line and just typing it out, having an app which lets you store multiple items in your clipboard, or a key-stroke shortcut macro that inserts text. This is just the way I do it.

  58. 58
    thisisaturingtest

    Definitely a parody. They have an article titled “2012 May Break Record for Fewest Tornadoes,” which reads, in its entirety:

    While the “climate scientists” continue to argue that extreme weather conditions are evidence of global warming, little attention is paid to the fact that weather is actually getting better.

    It includes a link to an article which says, in it’s sub-head, that the “fewest tornadoes” is due, in large part, to drought conditions. No one could possibly be that self-unaware…could they? (Yes, I’m aware of the whole “real stupidity is often indistinguishable from a pretense of it” thing)
    And, to cap it off, the illustration chosen to show “that weather is actually getting better” is the flying-cow still from the movie Twister. I suppose that could be a subtle dig at climate-change; but it’s hard to reconcile that kind of subtlety with the blatant idiocy of linking to an article that undermines the whole point of the article being linked from.

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