Home > Right-Wing Lies > Google Announces “Truth Rankings”; Fox News Objects

Google Announces “Truth Rankings”; Fox News Objects

March 9th, 2015

Well, naturally.

This was bound to happen: some impartial body would begin judging objective truth, and conservatives would start going ape. Because, after all, as Stephen Colbert once so aptly put it, “Everyone knows the truth has a liberal bias.”

And here’s Fox News actually claiming that, in their fashion:

But others who follow media bias note that even the media watchdogs – let alone the sites used by the Google researchers like Wikipedia – are often biased.

“They’re very good at debunking myths if they upset liberals, but if it’s a liberal or left-wing falsehood, the fact-checkers don’t seem as excited about debunking it,” Rich Noyes, research director at the Media Research Center, told FoxNews.com.

He cited a 2013 study by George Mason University researchers, which found that fact-checking site Politifact declared 52% of Republican claims it looked at to be false, but did the same to just 24% of Democratic claims.

Yes. Because it is inconceivable that Republican claims are actually false twice as much as Democratic claims are.

What’s really laughable here is that sites like Politifact and FactCheck are usually guilty of the reverse: going after fewer conservative falsehoods and more liberal falsehoods in a facile attempt to appear “less biased,” because giving a more accurate measurement of such things would produce a much more lopsided tally, resulting in even more cries of “bias” because false equivalency is not applied. This is referred to as “working the refs,” a sports term in which complaining harshly that the referees are biased against you will cause them to judge more favorably towards you in the future. Conservatives do this with incredible ferocity, and it works: fact-checking organizations fear nothing more than reporting the true balance of bullshit, knowing it will make them ripe for cries of bias. As a result, they let conservatives off lightly.

For example, when Obama and Romney had a debate FactCheck listed five “false claims” by both candidates as if to make it seem like they were telling truth and falsehoods equally—though Obama’s were grouped higher on the list, making him seem a bit more dishonest. Not only that, they had to stretch the definition of “false claims” for at least one or two of Obama’s statements to bring his tally up to five.

What they did not mention was the fact that at least a dozen more whoppers by Romney were left entirely off the list.

PolitiFact did the same thing, ignoring most of Romney’s fabrications, while going out of their way to make Obama seem untruthful. Among the examples I found at the time: Obama’s statement that Romney was proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. Politifact called this “half true,” because Obama did not take into account the fact that Romney intended to offset the tax cut with closing loopholes (which were never specified), even though Obama expressly mentioned that exact fact. Obama’s statement was fully true, but Politifact dinged him on it.

Meanwhile, Romney was rated as fully “true” for criticizing Obama on not halving the deficit in half in four years as he had pledged. Politifact ignored the criticism and only checked the plain fact of the original statement; they did not take into account or even note that any deficit cutting attempted by Obama was fully obstructed by Republicans. To choose this statement to rate as “true” is along the lines of giving Romney credit for telling the truth because he pronounced Obama’s name correctly. In the meantime, Romney was making substantive claims about Obama doubling the deficit, a clearly bald-faced lie—but PolitiFact could not be bothered to focus on that claim.

Conservatives do not want some organization to have an automated system of fact-checking, because you can’t “work” a robotic referee.

And that would screw up their entire game plan.

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  1. Troy
    March 9th, 2015 at 10:58 | #1

    per my other link:


    90% of “consistent conservatives” trust Fox News.

    Thirty years ago, I naturally assumed my generation would be a lot less conservative than the status quo then — the 1992 election was the first one most of us could vote in, and Clinton sneaked in.

    Now, I’m not so sure. Conservatives craft their appeal to the lizard brain — selfishness, self-righteousness, and self-serving, and this is a powerful thing to tap.

    It takes great mental effort and discipline to inculcate equanimity and empathy in one’s thinking. With this you get the liberalism of Adlai Stevenson, not the shifty conservatism of Reagan or Nixon.

    Thing is, people prefer being lied to than hear unpleasant truths.

    Per the above link:

    When it comes to raising children, conservatives prioritize responsibility, faith and hard work.

    Liberals’ #2 value to ‘responsibility’ was ‘empathy’, and ‘helping others’ and ‘curiosity’ were in the top 5. ‘Faith’, ‘Hard Work’, ‘Well-Mannered’, and ‘Obedience’ were the top 5 for conservatives.

    We really are wired differently politically, and this scares me since so much of the struggle is now just defending what progress we’ve achieved over the past 100 years, instead of striving to make the next 100 better than the last.

    Like in Japan, US progressives REALLY need to get people to the polls more, in every election. That’s where the rubber meets the road.

  2. Luis
    March 9th, 2015 at 11:13 | #2

    I actually would be somewhat concerned over how Google would handle a lot of “truths.” Its system would be vetted by experts, but what about statements like “God exists”? The majority of people believe this; would atheist web sites be relegated to the bottom of search results for not agreeing with this? Or would Google simply set aside entire categories of statements like this to avoid upsetting people? In which case, conservatives would try to get a handle on the list by acting hysterically about their own political claims?

    I’ll be interested in how Google handles a lot of this. Some of it is explained, but not all.

  3. Luis
    March 9th, 2015 at 11:36 | #3

    “When it comes to raising children, conservatives prioritize responsibility, faith and hard work.”

    The problem with things like this is that people don’t see “responsibility” as being the same thing.

    For some people, “responsibility” is treated with respect, meaning that they truly take their responsibilities seriously, do not only the bare minimum but everything reasonably necessary to accomplish their duties, and accept blame for their errors.

    For other people, “responsibility” just means taking credit for a thing and blaming others for anything that goes wrong.

    An excellent example: when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a “slut,” he really took responsibility for it. His apology, in fact, was a definitive example of responsibility: he admitted fully to his error, noted how serious and damning a thing it was, blamed no one else, and genuinely apologized, not taking the opportunity to excuse himself or espouse his views in any way.

    In contrast, when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a hell of a lot more, he also “apologized”—but it was a definitive example of not taking responsibility—the opposite, in fact: it was an example of reprehensible slime. It began by claiming he did nothing wrong, gave a thesis statement which was a miserable lie, spent the bulk of the “apology” expounding on how he was in fact right, and ended by mitigating his guilt with equivocal and self-exculpatory language before offering a lukewarm single sentence of “sincere” apology. (See post here.

    And yet, you will almost certainly discover Limbaugh claiming that he “took full responsibility” for his actions.

    This plays directly into the entire concept of “truth” online: people have greatly differing opinions on what terms like that actually mean.

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