Study Reveals Republicans Lie More...Or That Politifact Has a Serious Liberal Bias Problem

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University has a new study noticing that the "fact-checking" site Politifact.com over the first four months of Obama's second term found Republicans were cited as dishonest three times as often as Democrats.

Even in the first three weeks in May, while the Obama scandals piled up -- from Benghazi to the IRS to the DOJ phone-records scandals --  Republicans are still being flagged as worse than Democrats, with 60 percent of the website's selective claims rated as false so far this month (May 1 – May 22), compared to 29 percent of their Democratic statements – a 2 to 1 margin.

As for the entire four months, CMPA found PolitiFact rated 32 percent of Republican claims as “false” or “pants on fire,” compared to 11 percent of Democratic claims – a 3 to 1 margin. Conversely, Politifact rated 22 percent of Democratic claims as “entirely true” compared to 11 percent  of Republican claims – a 2 to 1 margin.

A majority of Democratic statements (54 percent) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18 percent of Republican statements. By contrast, a majority of Republican statements (52 percent) were rated as mostly or entirely false, compared to just 24 percent of Democratic arguments.

Robert Lichter, CMPA's longtime president, asserted “While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.”

Or perhaps the credibility gap ought to begin with Politifact, who has now consistently identified the Republicans as more dishonest.  CMPA also found that same pro-Democratic tilt in a study of Politifact from last June 1 to September 11.

PolitiFact rated Democratic statements as “mostly true” or “entirely true” about twice as often as Republican statements -- 42% true ratings for Democrats vs. 20% for Republicans.

Conversely, statements by Republicans were rated as entirely false about twice as often as Democratic statements – 29% false ratings for GOP statements vs. 15% false ratings for Democrats. (This includes categories labeled “false” and “pants on fire.”)

The same pattern holds for statements made directly by the presidential candidates and their campaigns. A majority of the Obama campaign’s statements (55%) were rated as true or mostly true, compared to one out of four statements (26%) by the Romney campaign.

No one should assume that a fact-checking organization can only be assumed to be fair if it tries to employ a 50-50 partisan quota on who's mangling the facts. However, "independent" fact-checking groups run by "mainstream" media companies can easily be questioned about a liberal tilt.

It's this easy: when the "Pants on Fire" page presently displays 18 lies by Republicans or conservatives, and two by liberals or Democrats, perhaps there's some bias leaking in.

The pants-checkers at Politifact can even select vague philosophical statements as lies, such as Mitt Romney asserting redistribution" has "never been a characteristic of America." Apparently, subsidies for transcontinental railroads were "redistribution" in the 1800s.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis