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Romney claims five studies back up his tax plan - Politifact says "mostly false"

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Bryan White

Member
Sep 15, 2012
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But you are still only relying on your opinion.
Am I? Is that your opinion or is it fact?

Seems like you're drawing lines out of convenience.

As is politifact relies on opinions of experts (take it or leave it, you don't have to like it)
Sorry, but have you been paying attention? PolitiFact arbitrarily dismissed the opinion of its best-qualified expert. Or if it wasn't arbitrary it at least wasn't explained. How would you justify either action? It's like, "Just trust us. We're fact checkers so what we put in our stories is just the facts." If they put "fact check" over their opinion do you just accept it as gospel? Explain for me, please.

Unless... there is a law somewhere that stipulates what the legal definition of a presidential apology must contain, this issue is entirely subjective and silly.
Okay, so in that case we've got a fact checker putting a truth rating on something "entirely subjective." But that's perfectly okay? Shouldn't we want fact checkers to rule on matters of fact rather than things that are "entirely subjective" and/or "silly"?

Apologies "not intended to smooth things over" ... that doesn't sound like an apology then does it?
No, it doesn't. What's your point, other than to prove you can take a quotation out of context just as well as the next guy?
 

Bryan White

Member
Sep 15, 2012
36
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Let me get this straight, you use crowdsourcing when it agree with your opinion, but in general don't like it. Sounds like.. selection bias.
Yes, let's let you get this straight.

"you use crowdsourcing when it agree with your opinion"

Your statement implies that I act inconsistently with my reference to crowdsourcing. The evidence doesn't measure up (explanation forthcoming).

I'm not a huge fan of crowdsourcing because it essentially represents an appeal to the people (a fallacy). On the other hand, it has a reasonable record of accuracy, accounting for its recent popularity with projects like: AllSides.

And in favor of AllSides, bias is partly a relative conception. To some in Europe, for example, the U.S. media are all skewed to the right. As a result, it's hard to escape the validity of a survey (to create an example) of all Americans that shows that 75 percent think the New York Times leans left. Relative to the American viewpoint, we'd have to accept it as true, based on such a study, that the NYT leans left.

Clear?

By the way making your page based on an existing well known source is a crappy way to leech. If you want to make a fact check page, make it on its own merits, don't try to ride someone else's name and fame.
It's not a fact check page. Read the FAQ.

It's like all the douche bag books on Amazon (again from the right, always the right) attacking the work of someone else by using the name in the title.
lol
Yeah. Always from the right ("Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot"). Welcome to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Franken.

"Free Will: A Response to Sam Harris"

"God is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins"
Yep, always from the right.

The thing is, if you're writing a refutation of Rush Limbaugh or even of Sam Harris, isn't it just truth in advertising to have your chief subject matter in the title?

"Going Rouge: Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare"
This one's especially good because the cover page ripped off Palin's book "Going Rogue."

"Crazy like a FOX"
(get it?)

"Brainless: The lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter"

Shame on the right. Shame, shame, shame.


Oops--almost forgot about letting you get one more thing straight:

"Sounds like.. selection bias."

Maybe if we expand the definition of "selection bias" toward the insane end. Selection bias is what happens when a representative (wrong term, but bear with me) selection is non-random. But I've been wondering for years how PolitiFact stacks up against other fact check services in terms of its public trust. The data from AllSides is, so far as I know, the only measurement we have. If it's the only measurement we have then it doesn't quite make sense to carp about it not being a representative measurement. A selection that represents the whole of a set is maximally representative.

Now, if I had a slew of polls available to me and chose the AllSides data just because it backed me up--yeah, then it's selection bias.
 
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OrByte

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
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Am I? Is that your opinion or is it fact?

Seems like you're drawing lines out of convenience.

Sorry, but have you been paying attention? PolitiFact arbitrarily dismissed the opinion of its best-qualified expert. Or if it wasn't arbitrary it at least wasn't explained. How would you justify either action? It's like, "Just trust us. We're fact checkers so what we put in our stories is just the facts." If they put "fact check" over their opinion do you just accept it as gospel? Explain for me, please.

Okay, so in that case we've got a fact checker putting a truth rating on something "entirely subjective." But that's perfectly okay? Shouldn't we want fact checkers to rule on matters of fact rather than things that are "entirely subjective" and/or "silly"?

No, it doesn't. What's your point, other than to prove you can take a quotation out of context just as well as the next guy?
My point is this is a silly issue, with no objectivity to rule one way or another.

Politifact gathered expert opinion.

you seem like a smart fella, and you came to your own conclusion that although experts in their field, they had as much access to a TRUTH or FACT as the next person with an opinion and the next etc etc. on this issue . After reading the same politifact article about the same dumb ass issue (Apology or not) believe it or not I came to the same conclusion as you!! but I am not going to draw any further conclusions about politifact or any other fact checker based on a single analysis. Isn't that what you are asking us to do with respect to your own blog?

Each issue has its own fact(s) with its own arguments for or against..when it comes to politics. This is why I asked you about the quote from an earlier post. And you may have missed that because I didn't see your response (Or I might have missed your response :) ) When there is NOT something measurable or objective to weight the fact against (In this case there isn't) then we are all left simply with educated opinions...and as I said before...take it or leave it.

How did I take your comment about "apologies not intended to smooth things over" out of context? I believe that is your opinion about qualifying an apology as "not intended to smooth things over"....and to me, if something is stated as such then that means there is no apology! If something is said to "smooth things over" that sounds like it could qualify as an apology.. if something is said which is "not intended to smooth things over" that comment doesn't qualify as an apology in my book...which sounds like the whole darn issue to begin with!

I've never heard of such "apologies" (Apologies not intended to smooth things over) Although I think I understand what it is you are trying to ascribe to comments that may seem apologetic, but lack the actual APOLOGY.

If someone would have come out and said, "Dammit it I hate it when Obama is SYMPATHETIC to the enemy" or "I hate it when Obama is always sensitive to the enemies feelings" WRT THIS ISSUE well...I could understand that sentiment! if the comments in question don't seem "angry" enough coming from POTUS. If you want stronger language...

But imho the White House comments in question offer up no apologies, call it weak, call it sympathetic, call it benign, call it apologetic if you want...but don't expect everyone/anyone to agree with you...this issue is simply not as black and white as say...some of Ryan's lies during the RNC :)
 
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OrByte

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
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OH and one other thing

I agree with you about fact checkers should be fact checking fact

But Politifact, factcheck, <insert your random fact checking blog here> all operate as a business. I suspect these groups all have to stay on top of current events no matter how stupid or significant, in order to keep people clicking on their sites. So everything gets analyzed to death including issues about whether "Apologies" are issued or not.

I have no illusions about that.

I do check in with the fact checker sites...read and understand their analysis, weigh in some sort of objectivity rule of my own, then draw my own conclusions.
 
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Bryan White

Member
Sep 15, 2012
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My point is this is a silly issue, with no objectivity to rule one way or another.
Point taken, though I don't agree. The issue of apologizing isn't amenable to strict scientific analysis. But it's possible to be objective about whether something meets a definition in whole or in part along with whether a definition is applied consistently. In journalistic terms, this would fit "news analysis" rather than objective news reporting. It's not merely opinion.

After reading the same politifact article about the same dumb ass issue (Apology or not) believe it or not I came to the same conclusion as you!! but I am not going to draw any further conclusions about politifact or any other fact checker based on a single analysis. Isn't that what you are asking us to do with respect to your own blog?
No, I don't think I'm asking you (or anybody else) to draw any general conclusions about my blog based on this issue. Rather, I believe I am trying to discourage people from dismissing my blog because supposed flaws in the analysis of this one issue. And beyond that simply defending the work I've done on this issue.

Each issue has its own fact(s) with its own arguments for or against..when it comes to politics. This is why I asked you about the quote from an earlier post. And you may have missed that because I didn't see your response (Or I might have missed your response :) )
http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost.php?p=33973124&postcount=72

When there is NOT something measurable or objective to weight the fact against (In this case there isn't) then we are all left simply with educated opinions...and as I said before...take it or leave it.
If PolitiFact is filing opinion under the banner of objective journalism then it is a breach of journalistic ethics. Shall we all simply look away?

How did I take your comment about "apologies not intended to smooth things over" out of context? I believe that is your opinion about qualifying an apology as "not intended to smooth things over"....and to me, if something is stated as such then that means there is no apology!
Here's the context (bold emphasis added):
I've dealt with the problem of apologies not intended to smooth things over. Saying that some people think it's wrong undermines the perception that the person accepting responsibility is admitting fault. Rather, he's just saying that some people (not necessarily him) think it's wrong. But that isn't what Obama did and it isn't what the embassy did. Is it?
We agree that an apology not intended to smooth things over shouldn't qualify as an apology. In the immediate context I pointed out that Obama's remarks seem clearly intended to help smooth things over. Same with the embassy statement. All we're left with is "apologies" offered as reductio ad absurdum of my argument about apologies. But I'm pointing out that I dealt with that objection in advance. So my argument doesn't reduce to absurdity.

If something is said to "smooth things over" that sounds like it could qualify as an apology.. if something is said which is "not intended to smooth things over" that comment doesn't qualify as an apology in my book...which sounds like the whole darn issue to begin with!
I'm not entirely certain how you think we came to disagree.

I've never heard of such "apologies" (Apologies not intended to smooth things over) Although I think I understand what it is you are trying to ascribe to comments that may seem apologetic, but lack the actual APOLOGY.
I'm saying that simply admitting fault can serve as an attempt to smooth things over. It feeds into the scholarly discussions of apologies as social rituals surrounding a common moral framework. If you admit fault you're saying you share the same moral framework with respect to the point at issue. The person across from the table implicitly takes that to mean you condemn the behavior you say is wrong and that you do not intend to continue to deliberately do wrong things. Those are the central features of an apology. All are present in Obama's statements and even in the embassy statement.

If someone would have come out and said, "Dammit it I hate it when Obama is SYMPATHETIC to the enemy" or "I hate it when Obama is always sensitive to the enemies feelings" WRT THIS ISSUE well...I could understand that sentiment! if the comments in question don't seem "angry" enough coming from POTUS. If you want stronger language...
We need language that discourages using violence to chill free speech. Instead, we're getting a response from the administration that suggests that the sociopath's veto is a fine and effective way to effect changes in society (these protests have put a weak blasphemy law into effect in the United States. Appears to apply only to Islam).

That's my opinion. ;-)

But imho the White House comments in question offer up no apologies, call it weak, call it sympathetic, call it benign, call it apologetic if you want...but don't expect everyone/anyone to agree with you...this issue is simply not as black and white as say...some of Ryan's lies during the RNC :)
Funny you should mention that one. PolitiFact graded Ryan "False" for claims about the Janesville GM plant made at the convention. But Ryan's statement at the convention was absolutely true. PolitiFact went back a few days and graded a different statement from Ryan and then presented that (in effect) as something Ryan said at the convention.

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/did-barack-obama-break-promise-keep-gm-plant-open/

If Ryan was talking about the same promise in both cases (as PolitiFact says) then Ryan wasn't saying Obama made the promise PolitiFact used in grading the statement.

These types of shenanigans may be far more common than you realize.
 
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OrByte

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
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I think you and I agree on more than we don't

thank you for joining AT. Look forward to your insight.

If PolitiFact is filing opinion under the banner of objective journalism then it is a breach of journalistic ethics. Shall we all simply look away?
I think we got our communication wires crossed. I'm not claiming Politifact is submitting opinion in loo of investigative journalism. I think that Politifact gathered expert opinion in doing it's investigative journalism.

In its analysis wrt this issue and article, what I see is Politifact going "meta" and including statements made from previous POTUS as well as looking at statements from Romney and Obama.

I don't see Politifact relying soley on the experts opinion, when also introducing the historical context of similar comments made by previous POTUS. I think they make a solid case when gauging the "apology level" of the comments in question, that in comparison, they don't rate as an apology. But there is no objective/quantifiable fact to gauge this case...and we've already covered that.

ie. I don't think you and I are going to agree on this :)

I do however question why there is no response to the "minority" opinion (Nile Gardiner) it makes the collection of expert opinion seem disconnected. I do like the idea of going thru historical precedence...because each case is different and there is no script on apologies..its the best gauge to determine whether a statement is sufficient to be defined as an apology.

I'm saying that simply admitting fault can serve as an attempt to smooth things over. It feeds into the scholarly discussions of apologies as social rituals surrounding a common moral framework. If you admit fault you're saying you share the same moral framework with respect to the point at issue. The person across from the table implicitly takes that to mean you condemn the behavior you say is wrong and that you do not intend to continue to deliberately do wrong things. Those are the central features of an apology. All are present in Obama's statements and even in the embassy statement.
admitting fault is the easy part. saying you are "sorry" or asking for forgiveness requires interacting and ultimately reconciliation with the offended party. The result is the closure that only comes when an apology is actually stated. I don't think it is part of human nature to accept as an "apology" only statements of someone admitting fault... I know that doesn't work with the people in my life :) I know that with my own kids, there are 2 parts to saying sorry, admit what you did wrong and ask for forgiveness. I'm not saying that in all instances, the same should happen with POTUS, but just giving my opinion and framing my POV

imho, seeking closure/resolution is the essential part of an apology, not just admitting fault. Otherwise, it is hard to argue that there is a need for resolution. I imagine it is easier to issue an apology as POTUS when you just come out and state clearly that America is Sorry. At that point you've "cleaned your side of the street" so to speak and that's all anyone can really expect. I think it's also why apologies from POTUS are few and far between, we don't just say 'sorry' willynilly!

Thats why I don't see these comments as apologies.

As far as Ryan's speech. There are already a couple of threads on that.
 

Bryan White

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Sep 15, 2012
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imho, seeking closure/resolution is the essential part of an apology, not just admitting fault.
"Okay, you two shake hands and say you're sorry." The kids shake hands and say they're sorry. Did they mean it? The attempt at closure came from a third party. But maybe it worked! Closure seems to have occurred. And they said the magic words "I'm sorry." Is it an apology? When Obama made his address in Cairo he talked about past mistakes by the U.S. and past mistakes by Arabs. Then he said it was time to get past it. Is that an attempt at closure? The point here is that experts don't agree on the measure PolitiFact chose i making its rating. Some agree with you to the point that a "true" apology requires an attempt at closure; some even stipulate a requirement for restitution. But is such a high standard for a "true" apology appropriate to the point that something less ("I'm sorry I spilled your soda") fails to qualify as an apology at all? Who possesses the authority to make that determination? And how did they obtain it?
Otherwise, it is hard to argue that there is a need for resolution.
I'm reading the above in context and I don't know what it means. If there's no need for resolution then no apology can result from the situation? Any attempt to smooth things over (obviously referring back to the apology as a social ritual concept described earlier) appears to represent a recognition on the part of the person trying to smooth things over that some type of resolution is needed (otherwise there's no reason to try to smooth things over).
I imagine it is easier to issue an apology as POTUS when you just come out and state clearly that America is Sorry. At that point you've &quot;cleaned your side of the street&quot; so to speak and that's all anyone can really expect. I think it's also why apologies from POTUS are few and far between, we don't just say 'sorry' willynilly!

Thats why I don't see these comments as apologies.
The international stage is different from the domestic stage. It's a matter of culture. Hence Gardiner's relevance in terms of expertise.
As far as Ryan's speech. There are already a couple of threads on that.
I'm afraid to look.
 
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Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
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It's what happens when you let scum trolls start a thread and then run away from it.
No, it's what happens when a thread gets derailed by an unrelated, or at least marginally related, conversation. I wonder who started that derailment, who first introduced the topic of politifactbias.com? Why that would be you, of course. So if you want to rail at "scum trolls", you best start with a mirror. Or, you can wash the sand out of your vagina and recognize this thread took on an interesting life all its own.
 

OrByte

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
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The point here is that experts don't agree on the measure PolitiFact chose i making its rating. Some agree with you to the point that a "true" apology requires an attempt at closure; some even stipulate a requirement for restitution. But is such a high standard for a "true" apology appropriate to the point that something less ("I'm sorry I spilled your soda") fails to qualify as an apology at all? Who possesses the authority to make that determination? And how did they obtain it?
I agree, not having an objective fact to measure the comments in question...raises all sorts of questions doesn't it?

From Politifacts website:

We strive to make our work completely accurate. When we make a mistake, we correct it and note it on the original item. If the mistake is so significant that it requires us to change the ruling, we will do so.

Readers who see an error should contact the writer or editor. Their names are listed on the right side of every Truth-O-Meter item. Clicking on their names will take you to their bio pages, where you can find their email addresses.

When we find we've made a mistake, we correct the mistake.

In the case of a factual error, an editor's note will be added and labeled "CORRECTION" explaining how the article has been changed.
In the case of clarifications or updates, an editor's note will be added and labeled "UPDATE" explaining how the article has been changed.
If the mistake is significant, we will reconvene the three-editor panel. If there is a new ruling, we will rewrite the item and put the correction at the top indicating how it's been changed.

We respect that reasonable people can reach different conclusions about a claim. If you disagree with a ruling, we encourage you to email the writer or editor with your comments about our ruling. You can also post comments to our Facebook page or write a letter to the editor. We periodically publish these comments in our Mailbag feature.
Have you submitted your analysis ( on this issue or any other) with Politifact to see if they change their findings?

I'd be curious to see...
 

Bryan White

Member
Sep 15, 2012
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Have you submitted your analysis ( on this issue or any other) with Politifact to see if they change their findings?

I'd be curious to see...
My experience with submitting examples of errors to PolitiFact is that they have trouble seeing their mistakes. This goes again to one of our repeated criticisms of PolitiFact. They don't respond to criticism (from the left or the right) effectively. They usually just repeat the portion you highlighted in bold about respecting that people can disagree or repeat the canard that they get criticism from both sides (this is supposed to mean that they're balanced right in the middle). They don't justify what they did and they don't answer the criticism. I keep a series on my blog where I occasionally document messages I send to PolitiFact where I criticize their handling of a story. Typically I don't hear back. Getting the editor to add some ellipses to a quotation (following AP style) was a huge victory recently. Unfortunately the editor ignored the more substantive criticism of the same story. I think the error's obvious. PolitiFact doesn't think it's an error. http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/jul/30/gerard-robinson/florida-education-commissioner-says-fcats-equal-le/
 

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