Sunday, December 18, 2011

Corporate Media, PolitiFact And The Big Lie

In my previous post, I pointed out the big lie that Walker and his supporters told as they rob public sector workers blind.

Later in the same article which I had cited, the author points explains how the corporate media furthers the lie for Walker:
Gov. Walker says that he wants them to "contribute more" via deductions from their paychecks. But since the workers already contribute 100 percent of the money going to the pension plan the real issue is changing the accounting for this to reduce cash wages.

Once the state has settled on the compensation package for its workers then how the cash flows is merely accounting for how the costs are divvied up. If the workers got higher cash pay and diverted all of the pension contributions from their pay it would be the same amount compared to having the state pay directly into the pension funds.

By falsely describing the situation the governor has sought to create the issue as one of the workers getting a favor. The Club for Growth, in broadcast ads, blatantly lies by saying "state workers haven't had to sacrifice. They pay next to nothing for their pensions."

We expect ideological marketing organizations to shade the truth and even outright lie, as the Club for Growth has done. But journalists are supposed to check the facts, not adopt lies as truths.
Even PolitiFact doesn't escape, since they are really just another cog in the corporate media's machine anyway:

Here are some other examples of inaccurate reporting of the issue, followed by a critique and a simple solution.
  • Todd Richmond of the Associated Press reported on Feb. 20 that the governor wants state workers "to contribute more to health care and pension costs." Richmond has repeatedly used variations of that phrase.
  • On Feb. 18, Michael Cooper and Katherine Q. Seelye of The New York Times reported that the legislation sponsored by Gov. Walker would "require workers to contribute more to their pension and health care plans."
  • Jane Ford-Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel' s on-line community news service reported Feb. 22 on "an effort by Gov. Scott Walker to get state employees to contribute more toward their health insurance and pensions so that the costs are more in line with contributions by workers in the private sector."
  • has a Wisconsin operation and it was also among those that got it wrong – 100 percent dead wrong -- because it assumed the facts as stated by Gov. Walker and failed to question the underlying premise. Further, contrived assumptions make it is easy for the perpetrators of the misrepresentation to point to data that support a false claim, something Politifact missed entirely, on at least two occasions, in proclaiming false statements to be true.
Given how many journalists rely on Politifact to check political assertions, instead of doing their own research, this is, by far, the inaccuracy likely to have the greatest (or most damaging effect) on subsequent reporting. (Examples of Politifact's inaccurate assessments can be found here and also here.)
And then they wonder why their circulation and profits are down. Even more incredulous, the paper thinks that people will pay to see their tripe online. All they'll do if they try that is open the door for a real news source to move in to the area - which would not be a bad thing, come to think of it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, PolitiFraud believes that balance is more important than the truth. It's a useless source.