24 January 2014

Politifact Profiles

This week Politifact released a list of the top-ten politicians it and its regional affiliates have fact-checked.

Because the service launched in 2007, Barack Obama has been President for most of its existence, so it’s not surprising that he’s the most fact-checked person. Nor is it surprising that the people ranking second and third behind him are his main opponents from 2012 and 2008, Mitt Romney and John McCain. But Politifact has fact-checked Obama far more often (500 times) than Romney (204) and McCain (170) combined.

What’s more significant lies underneath those rankings in Politifact’s findings on each politician. It ranked President Obama’s statements True or Mostly True 46% of the time. In contrast, Romney was True or Mostly True only 31% of the time and McCain 38%. Add the Half True category to the men’s totals—after all, they are politicians, used to emphasizing one side of the argument—and the percentages are Obama 73%, Romney 59%, and McCain 56%.

We can also look at the three men’s numbers from the bottom up. Politifact gave only 2% of the Obama statements its lowest rating of Pants of Fire, and deemed another 13% False (total: 15%). Romney had 9% Pants of Fire and 16% False (total: 25%). McCain had 5% Pants on Fire and 22% False (total: 27%).

Either way we look at it, President Obama adhered to the facts more often than his major opponents. He made fewer statements that the service judged to be whoppers. And not just by a little bit, but by a 10% margin or more.

Nevertheless, one of the beliefs that people with OIP Derangement Syndrome share is that President Obama is dishonest. But that’s just another way they’ve divorced themselves from reality. In actual fact, Politifact has subjected Obama to more scrutiny than any other politician, and has assessed him to be more factual than the Republican Party’s chosen candidates.

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