Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's war on facts continues with a couple attempts to fact-check the fact-checkers.
The MRC's Kyle Drennen gives it a shot in an Aug. 16 post, taking on PolitiFact editor Angie Holan's look into Donald Trump's assertion that President Obama was the founder of ISIS. Holan pointing out that "the terrorist group that we now call ISIS was forming right after the Iraq war, during the Bush administration."
Gotcha, Drennen proclaims: "Notice how she hedged her commentary by remarking that the terror group 'had a number of name changes.' In other words, the 'Islamic State' didn’t exist until Barack Obama came into office."
Well, no, that's not how that works, Kyle. Just like cigarette maker Philip Morris didn't suddenly become a completely different company when it renamed itself Altria in 2003, ISIS didn't become a completely different entity from its precessor groups simply by changing its name. Drennen is being utterly disingenuous here.
When an MSNBC host noted that the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was based on an agreement President Bush signed with Iraqis before heaving office in 2008, Drennen huffed: "It’s amazing how President Obama was able to abandon just about every policy of the Bush administration but was somehow helpless to alter that one in any way."
In fact, according to FactCheck.org (which means Drennen will have to impose his right-wing "fact-checking" on this too), the Obama administration tried to negotiate with the Iraqis to keep U.S. troops in the country longer, but then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't yield on a U.S. demand that U.S. troops should be shielded from criminal prosecution by Iraqi authorities.
Next up is Katherine Franklin, who uses an Aug. 17 NewsBusters post to go after a PolitiFact examination of a claim made by Ohio Right to Life against Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland accusing him of wanting to "force Americans to pay for abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, with their taxpayer dollars," a claim PolitiFact found "mostly false."
A few red flags are clearly noticeable: Franklin does not link to the offending PolitiFact fact-check (which is actually a state affiliate working with a local TV station, not the national PolitiFact organization, something Franklin does not note), she barely quotes from the fact-check in her attack on it, and she waits until the 13th paragraph of her post to disclose the salient fact that she is the communications director for Ohio Right to Life, meaning she's hardly objective on the issue.
Franklin accuses PolitiFact Ohio of engaging in "obfuscation and spin" in rebutting her group's claim:
Mostly, Politifact took issue with the idea of legalized abortion-on-demand up until the moment of birth. Politifact rated this claim as False “because abortions at the nine-month mark just don’t happen.”
However, just last week, FactCheck confirmed that “there are many places in the world where abortion up to birth is legal.” For supporting evidence, the column sited seven places in the United States where this is the case. Furthermore, from the limited data that is available at the CDC, we know that at least 6,180 abortions occurred in the United States after 21 weeks gestation in 2012. Guttmacher’s statistics put that number at 12,000.
As for “abortion-on-demand,” the Politifact column offers no True/False rating on this point, but instead spins the meaning of “on-demand” to include the location of abortion facilities in states like Oregon and New Hampshire. It’s a weak argument and sounds more like the spin that would come from NARAL or Guttmacher. Abortion is literally legal for any reason in Oregon and Politifact wants to debunk this on the basis that there isn’t an abortion clinic on every street corner? That is more than a bit of a stretch.
Franklin is the one spinning here. PolitiFact is pointing out that few abortions occur after viability and that Ohio Right to Life's claim that a woman would have an abortion at the "moment of birth" is rather nonsensical and a "hypothetical non-event," quoting a doctor as saying, "If the mother’s life was at risk, the treatment for that is delivery, and the baby survives."
And contrary to Franklin's spin on the "abortion on demand," PolitiFact pointed out that due to waiting period and mandatory physician consultations supported by anti-abortion activists such as Franklin, there really isn't such a thing as "abortion on demand."
Nevertheless, Franklin declared victory:
By my tally, at a minimum, 2 out of 4 of our points were clearly confirmed as “true.” That doesn’t sound like “mostly false” to me. On the other two points, Politifact had to spin the information in order to muddy the waters on whether abortion is allowed “on-demand up to the moment of birth.” FactCheck confirmed this point a week ago, using laws from the United States to support its review.
Of course, Franklin is the one spinning here, but neither she nor the MRC will admit it.