April 12, 2012
“I hope you will agree that this rating was inappropriate and that the piece does not reflect the journalistic standards to which your organization intends to hold itself. Please retract the piece and issue a correction as soon as possible,” Romney adviser Lanhee Chen wrote in a letter obtained by The Huffington Post.
Chen wrote to PolitiFact that their “analysis in this instance was so inadequate that the piece ended up being little more than Obama for Americaspin.”
PolitiFact is headed by Bill Adair, Washington Bureau Chief for the Tampa Bay Times, and the item in question was edited by by Martha M. Hamilton, a former reporter and editor at the Washington Post.
Chen’s letter is a detailed and lengthy take down of PolitiFact’s analysis. He said that PolitiFact has in the past given credit to President Reagan for jobs gained from the beginning of his presidency to the end, and so their judgment that it was inaccurate to measure job losses from Obama’s first month in office was inconsistent.
Chen also took issue with the context, cited by PolitiFact, that men had lost the majority of jobs cut in the economy in the year before Obama took office. Because of this, PolitiFact declared that the Romney claim was “misleading.”
But Chen wrote: “Why should it matter that men had already lost millions of jobs? Was it now women’s ‘turn’? Is this part of the President’s conception of ‘fairness’ that he talks about so frequently?”
And Chen went after the two “experts” cited by PolitiFact in their article, Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution and Betsey Stevenson of Princeton University.
“As you may or may not know, Gary Burtless has already donated twice to President Obama’s campaign this cycle,” Chen wrote. “Much more inexplicably, Bestey [sic] Stevenson, who you identify simply as ‘a business and public policy professor at Princeton University,’ was until recently the chief economist for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.”
That’s going to leave a mark. And don’t miss Ann Althouse’s PolitiFact takedown. PolitiFact has been a joke all along — more like a DNC spin operation than any sort of media watchdog. But this one — your number’s entirely accurate but we’re going to rate your comments as mostly false because they make Obama look bad — is just pathetic, even by PolitiFact’s low standards.