At the top of their home page, PolitiFact begs for donations by proclaiming "Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy." But this "independent fact-checker" routinely betrays a tilt by coming out more aggressively to “correct” rhetorical or factual attacks on Democrats.
At the end of Biden’s first 100 days, we reported our study of PolitiFact found they published 13 fact checks of the president, and 106 fact checks of the president’s critics. In other words, they’re much more sensitive about someone “lying” about Biden than they are about Biden lying.
Now, after reviewing Biden’s first year, a NewsBusters study shows the same pattern continues. Overall from January 20, 2021 through January 19, 2022, MRC analysts found Biden was fact-checked 40 times, while Biden critics were checked on 230 occasions.
In the last 265 days of Biden’s first year, there were 28 Biden fact checks, and 124 checks of Biden critics, so the disparity was a little more than five to one, as opposed to the eight-to-one ratio of the first 100 days.
Over his first year, Biden landed on the “Mostly False” or worse side in 19 out of 40 fact checks (45 percent). But the “Fact Checks About Joe Biden” were overwhelmingly negative – 201 out of 230 fact-checks were “Mostly False” or worse (87.4 percent). There were only three that were “True,” four were “Mostly True,” and 22 were “Half True.”
There were zero “Pants on Fire” rulings about President Biden in his first year. He has only six in his entire career since PolitiFact began in 2007. Biden can say the evacuation from Afghanistan was an "extraordinary success", and the Republicans are pushing "Jim Crow on steroids," and there will be no fact checks.
But there were 53 “Pants on Fire” rulings against Biden critics in the first year of his presidency. They included some claims that were so funny they were unlikely to be taken seriously:
– May 3: “Says Kentucky Derby jockey John Velazquez turned down an invitation to the White House and said, ‘if I wanted to see a horse’s ass I would of [sic] came in second.’”
– May 18: “Photo shows Joe Biden groping Jen Psaki.”
– May 19: “Biden is computer-generated.”
– July 16: “An image shows President Joe Biden touching Olivia Rodrigo’s shoulders during a White House press briefing.” (They hated this sniffing meme so much they even made a video).
-- December 17: “Boy passes Joe Biden a vial of fresh blood to drink on his way back to the White House.”
Many of the fact checks about Biden are about “Facebook Posts,” “Viral Images,” or “Instagram.” Those rulings often translate into content warning flags on social media. The shutdowns of Biden critics don't just happen on PolitiFact, but on Big Tech platforms.
Methodology note: Media Research Center analysts found only 77 fact checks about Biden appeared under PolitiFact’s “Fact Checks About Biden” heading. But PolitiFact lists every “Truth-O-Meter” rating on pages broken down by category, and reviewing those pages brought the total to 230.