Media Watch: Once Again, PolitiFact Redefines the Word "Fact"


In their relentless pursuit of the truth (so that they can run it over and call it untrue), the folks over at PolitiFact Oregon have once again redefined what a “fact” is.

This time, they’ve taken on the Democratic Party of Oregon’s statement that Republican State Senator (and candidate for Labor Commissioner) Bruce Starr cast a vote that “would have thrown 6,000 Oregonians off unemployment.”

The bill in question is House Bill 3483 from 2009, which provided a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. It passed overwhelmingly (because, well, duh), but got a few No votes, including one from Sen. Starr.

If Starr had gotten his way and the bill died, it’s true that at least 6,000 people would have lost their unemployment benefits.

According to the Oregonian’s own reporting: “Without the bill, it’s clear, based on numbers from the Unemployment Department, that 6,000 people would have been cycled off unemployment. (In fact, that number is closer to 12,000 if you consider the full life of the extension.)”

So, the DPO’s statement is true, right?

Well, apparently not according to PolitiFact Oregon, which rated the statement “Half True.” Whaaaaaaat?

No, really—what?

In order to demote the truth to “Half True,” PolitiFact decided they couldn’t just rule on the statement itself, but on Starr’s possible motives, self-reported two years after the fact. He claims that he voted No on the bill because he didn’t like one of the other provisions.

Who knows if that’s true or not (I guess we just have to take his word for it), but it doesn’t matter. His excuse doesn’t change the simple, undeniable, verifiably true fact that Sen. Bruce Starr’s No vote on HB 3483 “would have thrown 6,000 Oregonians off unemployment.”

In the real world, that’s what we call a True statement.

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