Mmm Hmmm. Promoted by Rosi.
Marie Corfield posted a diary on Blue Jersey last week that has been “fact checked” by the good people over at PolitiFactNJ. In this they demonstrate why no one, and I mean no one, should take “fact checkers” seriously.
Corfield, a public school teacher who ran unsuccessfully in November for the District 16 Assembly seat against incumbent Republican Donna Simon, criticized the state of jobs in New Jersey in a Dec. 30 column on the Democrat (sic) blog BlueJersey.com.
It’s the last three words that show how little facts matter to the “fact checkers.”
First is “Democrat blog,” a phrasing that is not only ungrammatical but created and promoted by right-wing message gurus to sound contemptuous when talking about Democrats. The proper way to write this would be “Democratic blog,” but instead the “fact checkers” chose to use poor English and partisan language. Odd for a “non-partisan” column.
And besides being poor writing, it’s simple not factual. Blue Jersey is honored to have many Democrats write here, but it is definitively not the party organ that “Democrat blog” implies.
Just Friday, front pager Jeff Gardner slapped the Democratic Governor’s Association for having abandoned New Jersey in the last election. Diarists regularly attack Democratic leaders, “Christiecrats” and what they consider poor policy decisions by Democrats, and many of these are front paged. Just look at the arguments over George Norcross buying the Philadelphia Inquirer or Steve Sweeney’s relationship with Governor Chris Christie. And, occasionally, Blue Jersey even praises a Republican for taking courageous votes on marriage equality, the death penalty or medical marijuana.
And that last point is really the issue here. Blue Jersey will back the Democrat over the Republican 99 44/100s of the time, but not because we are a part of the “Democrat party.” Generally the site is to the left of the Democrats, but they’re closer to the site’s average view than the Republicans.
Blue Jersey is a liberal blog, nice and simple. But it is not a “Democrat blog.” That’s a fact.
It’s also not “BlueJersey.com.” That’s not the name of the site, but the domain it is hosted at. The banner at the top of every page reads “Blue Jersey” and when a front pager, the leaders of the site, write about it it is called “Blue Jersey.” PolitiFactNJ couldn’t even get the name of the site correct, a pretty simple fact to check by just visiting the site.
Which brings us to the point: for all the parsing of language, the selection of minutiae, the judgement calls that the folks at PolitiFactNJ make they are not careful with the “facts” in their own work. It’s just as easy to give them “Pants on Fire” or “Half True” or “Mostly True” ratings for some part of every article they write if you use their methods.
Wanna give it a “Pants on Fire” rating? Well, Blue Jersey is not a part pf the Democratic party, a Democrat (sic) blog, or called BlueJersey.com so the facts in that statement are 100 percent inaccurate. So, “Pants on Fire”!
Or, how about a “Half True” rating? There are people with official positions in the Democratic party, including Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Hawthorne municipal chair Jeff Gardner who are given front page status on the site. While not officially part of the Democratic party, Blue Jersey is connected to a lot of the leaders of the party. So, “Half True”!
Or, let’s see about a “Mostly True” rating. While the real name is Blue Jersey, many websites are referred to by their domain name, and while the Democratic party doesn’t control the site but many of its leaders are involved, the blog definitely supports Democrats over Republicans. So, “Mostly True”!
And now that we have said, “On PolitiFactNJ the claims that Blue Jersey is called BlueJersey.com and is a part of the Democrat (sic) party is ‘Pants of Fire'” people will think the entire column is a lie. This is what fact check columns like PolitiFactNJ eventually wind up doing, parsing words and assigning random and usually negative ratings, muddying the waters so that nothing anyone says is believed. Democrats can use PolitiFactNJ to slam Republicans, Republicans can use PolitiFactNJ to slam Democrats, blah, blah, blah.
And yet the folks at PolitiFactNJ don’t get basic facts like a site’s name, affiliation or even the link to the blog post they’re talking about (it links to a tag on the post, not the post itself, so if that tag is used in the future Corfield’s post won’t be visible).
No one on either side, or any side, should use PolitiFactNJ or any of the other alleged fact checking sites and columns out there as a weapon because it is always pointing in random directions and will hit you as often as not, deserved or not.
P.S. Yes, we know the PolitFactNJ column is actually PolitiFact New Jersey. 🙂