PolitiFact Ohio Continues to Discredit Itself


PolitiFact Ohio continued to embarrass itself in the final days of the 2012 general election season, with a ruling against Josh Mandel which contradicted a previous PolitiFact Florida column and a generous ruling for a false Voters First Ohio claim. To date, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s liberal “fact checking” outlet has received no rebuke from any of the reporters who touted PolitiFact Ohio’s objectivity with regard to the U.S. Senate race.

On October 29, Plain Dealer columnist Tom Feran dissected a Mandel television ad which claimed his opponent, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, “voted six times to raise his own pay.” That the “fact check” of a conservative Senate candidate was researched and written by Feran – who Media Trackers exposed in mid-August as a progressive Democrat – proves the Plain Dealer expects no legacy media reporter to hold PolitiFact Ohio accountable.

The aptly named blog PolitiFact Bias compared Feran’s ruling to a February 2010 column from PolitiFact Florida. As both Feran and PolitiFact Florida noted, Congress must act to prevent pay raises from automatically taking effect. A vote not to take action could, therefore, be considered a vote for a pay raise, but whether this fact affects the truth of a claim depends on who is checking.

When the Florida Democratic Party made a claim nearly identical to Mandel’s in early 2010, PolitiFact Florida ruled the statement “True.” Feran ruled Mandel’s claim four “Truth-o-Meter” categories more harshly, declaring “False” essentially the same statement PolitiFact Florida found “True.”

Two days later, Feran hit Mandel with yet another “False” ruling.

As Media Trackers has reported, Feran slammed Mandel with three easily debunked “Pants on Fire” rulings over the course of two months this summer – and then wrote a Plain Dealer story giving Mandel the “Pants on Fire Crown.”

Time and again, leftist Tom Feran proves the ridiculousness of PolitiFact.com’s six category Truth-o-Meter.

Feran and other “fact checkers” in the Cleveland office are former coworkers of Sherrod Brown’s wife, Connie Schultz, who resigned from the Plain Dealer in 2011 after she was caught filming Josh Mandel at a tea party event. This does not appear to concern the Plain Dealer’s editors, who endorsed Brown and then celebrated his reelection.

On November 1, Plain Dealer reporter Joe Guillen wrote a column about a statement from Voters First Ohio that Issue 2 was endorsed by the Ohio NAACP. Voters First spokeswoman Sandy Theis had claimed the endorsement of the Ohio NAACP in an interview Gongwer News Service cited on September 25.

Guillen explained – as Media Trackers reported more than two weeks earlier – that Voters First was advertising the endorsement of “NAACP Ohio Chapter” on its website. Ohio Conference NAACP leadership confirmed to Guillen that Ohio Conference NAACP “has not blanketly [sic] endorsed Issue 2.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more cut-and-dry fact to check. Voters First Ohio claimed it had been endorsed by the Ohio NAACP. The Ohio NAACP did not endorse Voters First Ohio. The claim is false.

Guillen ruled “Mostly False,” because there were aspects of the Voters First plan which Ohio Conference NAACP supported in theory.

Again, the PolitiFact.com Truth-o-Meter is a farce, especially as applied by the strongly left-leaning staff of PolitiFact Ohio. Handed the reins of PolitiFact.com’s unscientific process, liberal journalists produce liberal “fact checks” – and somehow, none of Ohio’s other reporters seem to notice.

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