So-called nonpartisan fact-checking outlet PolitiFact spent President Joe Biden’s first 100 days defending the president from inaccurate Facebook posts instead of fact-checking his numerous falsehoods.
A report from the right-leaning Media Research Center found that PolitiFact was eight times more likely to defend Biden than to fact-check him in his first 100 days, a vast difference from how the outlet treated former President Donald Trump. For Trump’s first 100 days, “PolitiFact offered 52 fact checks with a ‘Truth-O-Meter’ ruling of Donald Trump in his first 100 days (January 20 to April 30, 2017), while in the same period this year, PolitiFact offered just 13 fact checks of President Biden,” the MRC found.
As the MRC noted, “the media insist Trump’s in his own category on truth and falsehood,” so the outlet decided to see how often PolitiFact defended Biden as opposed to fact-checking him. The MRC found that for Biden’s first 100 days, PolitiFact fact-checked Biden just 13 times while it defended him from claims made about him 106 times.
“In other words, they’re much more sensitive about someone ‘lying’ about Biden than they are about Biden lying,” the MRC reported. “Many of the fact checks about Biden are about ‘Facebook Posts,’ ‘Viral Images,’ or ‘Tweets.’ Those rulings often translate into content warnings. But there were two ‘Pants on Fire’ rulings for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and one each for Fox News and for Tucker Carlson. Liz Cheney got the Flaming Pants for insisting that less than six percent of Biden’s infrastructure package is about infrastructure.”
Surprisingly, the MRC’s report found that even though PolitiFact chose to fact-check Biden far less than it did Trump, the percentage of falsehoods between the two presidents was about the same.
“Perhaps the surprising measurement here is that the percentage of PolitiFact ‘Truth-O-Meter’ rating of Biden and Trump were the same – 61.5 percent. Trump just had four times as many evaluations. Thirty-two of 52 Trump evaluations were defined as ‘Mostly False,’ ‘False,’ or ‘Pants on Fire.’ Eight of 13 Biden evaluations landed on the False side. Biden had zero ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings in the first 100 days. In 2017, Trump had two,” the MRC found.
The fact checks about Biden, however, were overwhelmingly found by PolitiFact to be false, with 91 out of 106 total (which includes pages other than the one simply labeled “Fact Checks About Biden”) labeled as “Mostly False” or worse. That’s an 86% false rating for what PolitiFact chose to fact check.
“There were 24 ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings for Biden critics, 45 ‘False’ ratings, and 22 ‘Mostly False.’ Ten were ‘Half True,’ three were ‘Mostly True’ and two were ‘True,’” the MRC reported.
“Overall, Biden’s PolitiFact page shows he’s been put on the ‘Truth-O-Meter’ 169 times in the website’s history beginning in 2007, and was found to be on the True/Mostly True side 67 times (almost 40 percent) and Mostly False or worse 78 times (46 percent). By contrast, Donald Trump has 931 of these fact-checks, and 692 of them Mostly False or worse (74.3 percent). Trump has 161 ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings. Biden has six,” the MRC concluded.
The outlet didn’t break down the details of the fact checks, including whether they were accurate or left out pertinent information that would change the rating or if they determined something was false when it, in fact, wasn’t or vice versa.
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