Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Balancing factcheck.org

I've slagged on factcheck.org for, by my reading, taking pains to maintain parity between posts criticizing Republicans and Democrats, maintaining the impression that both sides are equally dishonest. So it is significant that currently 8 out of their 12 most recent posts are false attacks on Obama by McCain and allied groups. Still, their requisite fact-checks on the Democrats are relatively weak tea:

The campaign says the ad is referring to Obama's long-standing proposal to spend $150 billion over 10 years for research into alternative energy – "to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid."

Spending that money may well be a good idea, but it's not our place to judge. We do object to implying that a decade-long program, which in all probability could not even begin until sometime in late 2009, is a "fast track" to anything.

It is a mystery to me how any alternative energy proposal by a presidential candidate could begin before late 2009.

Also, the only reason McCain got asked about insuring contraceptives vs. viagra is because his surrogate Carly Fiorina brought up the issue a few days beforehand (as they note at the end of their piece ).

Anyhow, it is unclear how well an organization like factcheck.org, which has to strain to be perceived as neutral, can really cope with the most important type of crisis they should theoretically exist to counter, when one side in particular starts spewing a long sequence of lies and disinformation.

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