Sunday, September 02, 2018

From a facebook discussion on politics,as it concerns fact-checkers

In political discussions, particularly on Facebook, I like to fact-check the claims people make. But some conservatives, goaded on by Trump, don't like fact-checker. They think they are a bunch of liberals. But I don't see them recommending any conservatively acceptable fact-checkers. Do we live in a postmodern world now, where there are no facts, only the interpretations of facts? 

How do YOU determine what is true in politics? It seems to me, on one way of viewing things, we determine what is factual by whether it fits with the ideology we espouse. We assume that only those who are on our side of the ideological fence have any willingness to look at facts and determine what is factual. But why think that. I used to think that the MAGA hats were all made in China, until I fact-checked, and discovered they weren't. 

Or we can think that there are really no facts, only interpretations of facts, and so we can pick and choose based on our ideology what is a fact, since facts are determined by ideology. But that is exactly the kind of postmoderism that conservatives decry. Or we can ask who is doing their homework and working at getting their facts straight, regardless of ideology. 

When I was young I watched the Senate Watergate hearings thinking that Nixon was almost certainly innocent. I thought Democrats like Same Ervin wanted Nixon to be guilty, but why in the world would anyone but a bungling underling do something so stupid as to bug the DNC headquarters at the Watergate hotel. Surely Woodward and Bernstein at the Post were liberal Democrats who were eager to see Nixon fall. John Dean was just trying to save his hide. John Ehrichman came in and finally set everyone straight. And then there was the Saturday Night Massacre, the House judiciary impeachment hearings in which one pained Republican named Railsback laid out the evidence that Nixon was guilty, the Supreme Court said the tapes had to be released, and finally the web of lies fell apart. In the words of the Who, I won't be fooled again.

If you are a Democrat, you naturally want evidence to come out that supports what you believe as a Democrat. If you are a Republican, and like what the President is doing in general, you don't want it to be true that he has, for example, violated campaign finance laws in paying women for their silence in order to influence the results of an election. And then there is such a thing as evidence. We might ask this question-do the news sources you like ever report anything embarrassing the their own political beliefs. Do they ever retract claims that are shown to be incorrect?

The fact check that I quoted estimated the difference between what Trump spent on vacations as opposed to Obama more conservatively than I expected. But since it comes from Snopes, I guess you have to assume that, no Obama spent more money on vacations than Trump. This in logic is called the ad hominem fallacy. We don't look at the case a person presents, we look at the source instead. If we don't like the source, it has to be false, even if it isn't. Liberals can do the same things as conservatives, in which case it is guaranteed that no discussion on the issues on which we differ can be discussed with the hope of progress. You get conversations like this: 

L: Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance offense and implicated Trump. 
C: You're only saying that because you are a liberal. 

Look, I would be more impressed by conservative complaints about fact-checkers if conservatives could point out some fact-checkers to me that were more credible than the ones I use. (chirping crickets).

47 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

"How do YOU determine what is true in politics?"

Certainly not with Snopes, Politifact, or Factcheck. I've seen enough blunders, opinions, subjective interpretations, and sheer nonsense from all three that I pay no attention to them, or any other "fact check" site you could name.

Starhopper said...

No satire here, I judge the reliability of any piece of political information by what the mainstream media says about it. If ABC, NBC, CBS, the NYT, and the Washington Post all line up to say that thus is so, then that's good enough for me.

I am not so arrogant as to think that I can hope to compete with their armies of investigators, reporters, editors, and fact checkers. That would be pure hubris.

bmiller said...

Here is a site that claims it presents all sides of political stories.

I don't claim it is entirely unbiased, in fact I only just found it. But this interesting article highlights something that happens often. A particular story may never see the light of day depending on which side it casts a bad light on and which side decides to publish or not.

If you really want to know what's going on, you will have to read what both sides publish.

Legion of Logic said...

"If you really want to know what's going on, you will have to read what both sides publish."

Spot on.

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman said...
Starhopper said...
No satire here, I judge the reliability of any piece of political information by what the mainstream media says about it. If ABC, NBC, CBS, the NYT, and the Washington Post all line up to say that thus is so, then that's good enough for me.

I am not so arrogant as to think that I can hope to compete with their armies of investigators, reporters, editors, and fact checkers. That would be pure hubris.

that's the core of sources I use too, also NPR

ps on metacrock's blog today: golden oldie the second post I did on my blog from March 2005

Introduction to God Arguments

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger bmiller said...
Here is a site that claims it presents all sides of political stories.

they speak of media bias and fake news that tells us immediately they are right wing pro Trump.

I was media liaison on Dallas from a group called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,(FAIR) it was a liberal counter to AIM. Also I dealt with press a lot in connection with CISPES (central America group). My brother and I became good friends with a reporter for a national magazine covering our stuff. I have a good Frieda (she led me to the Lord) who was a newspaper reporter. What I learned in all that is the Media is not liberal or Conservative, they are not neutral either they are on the side of the publisher.

Their basic interest is Republican and they will in the final analysis come down on the side of big businessmen. They are owned by rich people. The editors are there to make sure the interest of the publisher is heeded.

you might think it's so stupid to say they are conservative but if you were a leftist you see it. that means I'm half right. What I'm telling you is what the press told me. The editors represent the owners and reporters have a lot of liberals among their ranks. The press will go the way they think they need to to sell their product to the masses, until they have to side with conservative interests.

Joe Hinman said...

Noam Chomsky the propaganda model of the news

The Myth of The Liberal Media

Joe Hinman said...

this is an old omen, 1992 but it's excellent in showing the conservative media bias. It's movie documentary.

Chomsky:Manufacturing Consent

Joe Hinman said...

disclaimer: He misses the boat on Neibur, Reinhold was not supporting control of the masses, he was exposing it.

Legion of Logic said...

"they speak of media bias and fake news that tells us immediately they are right wing pro Trump."

Which does not mean that what they report is inaccurate. Looks to me like they are trying to provide a service by linking to both left, right, and center sources on stories to give readers as much perspective and as many facts as possible. This isnt something Hannity or Breitbart would do.

Good for them.

Starhopper said...

Implicit in all the demands for so-called "balance" is that either

A. Both sides are partly right, or
B. Both sides are partly wrong, or (less probably)
C. Both sides are correct, and truth is a matter of opinion.

But what if one side is wholly wrong? In a debate between Churchill and Hitler, would you ask for balance? Would you insist that John Lewis be "balanced" by David Duke? Or would you understand that there can be no "balance" between right and wrong, between good and evil?

(By the way, thanks Joe. I forgot to include NPR, which is one of my major sources for knowing what's going on in the world. Don't know how I missed that one.)

Legion of Logic said...

"But what if one side is wholly wrong? In a debate between Churchill and Hitler, would you ask for balance? Would you insist that John Lewis be "balanced" by David Duke? Or would you understand that there can be no "balance" between right and wrong, between good and evil?"

I was sort of thinking about conservative and progressive, rather than good and evil...

Starhopper said...

Aaaaah... but which one is the "good"?

I considered myself a rock solid conservative until the Reagan years. I was even a loyal subscriber to the National Review (for about 10 years)!

But Reagan's Central America policies turned me against the Republican Party forever, although I still considered myself a sort of stateless conservative for at least a good decade thereafter. (I've never been comfortable with the Democratic Party's stand on the so-called cultural issues.) Recently, I tried mightily to be altogether apolitical, but the current occupant changed all that. Some things you just have to take a stand on (or against).

Legion of Logic said...

"Aaaaah... but which one is the "good"?"

The person who is kind and charitable is the good. Neither ideology provides that quality in of itself. Neither party does, either.

Of course, I pretty much disqualified every politician from the above category if one considers blatant lying to be unkind or uncharitable.

Victor Reppert said...

Legion: If you don't trust fact checkers (and they are not perfect), how do you check your facts?

Two examples that I alluded to. I had read that MAGA hats were made in China. Not true. They are proudly made in the USA. I didn't know that until I fact-checked. I had heard that Trump spent more on vacations in one year than Obama spent in eight. I got corrected on both those points by Snopes, I believe. Without them, I would still be thinking, and saying those things.

Legion of Logic said...

I've never seen a topic I care about that I can't locate information via multiple actual news sources - and that has the added benefit of not being subjected to the editorializing and selectivity that Snopes and others often do.

They are imperfect enough that I find them utterly unnecessary and foolish to rely upon. Anyone links Snopes to me and I will be fact checking the fact checker.

Joe Hinman said...

LL

I was sort of thinking about conservative and progressive, rather than good and evil...

face the reality of Trump He's either white supremacist or he doesn't mind letting them think he's one so they will back him. That's evil.

Crude said...

In political discussions, particularly on Facebook, I like to fact-check the claims people make. But some conservatives, goaded on by Trump, don't like fact-checker. They think they are a bunch of liberals. But I don't see them recommending any conservatively acceptable fact-checkers.

Why should they? So you can criticize their resources in turn, while they criticize yours?

I suspect you don't understand the reality here, Victor: they don't want to negotiate with you anymore. Not you personally, but the left in general. The gulf of values are too broad. The hypocrisy is too great.

Remember how the most important thing in the world was not contesting the results of the election (Which could not be rigged!) … until Hillary lost? Or how sexual escapades were no big deal when I was Bill Clinton, but suddenly with Trump, even talking crudely made him unfit for office?

We don't want to talk anymore. This country's going to break apart sooner or later.

Enjoy being the white straight Christian male on the left, I suppose. I'm sure they'll celebrate you and not treat you like dirt!

PS: This blog used to focus largely on theological and metaphysical debates. Now, it's Trump, Trump, Trump. A pity, but I'm thankful for the past. Sharpened my blades here, you know.

Victor Reppert said...

"The left in general" is a pretty motley crew. This is not about the legitimacy of the election, this is about the fitness of the one who was elected to be President. The reason I talk about this so much is that I feel sure there will be a Democratic victory in the 2018 election, criminal charges from several different probes (even though they may not actually indict), and a major anti-Trump electoral backlash. Traditional Christians who held on too strongly to Trump as the last best hope of anti-leftism (and conservatism is coming to be defined as opposition to "the left" and nothing else), are going to be blamed for the damage, and Christianity itself will be blamed. Trumpism reminds me a lot of the New Atheism, and Trump as President feels a lot like what it would be like if we had President John Loftus, combining a thorough immaturity with an attitude of total war on the other side. Now, maybe Trump is a perfectly mature leader, and he's really innocent all of all the corruption charges and is just the victim of fake news. But the sources for this

Victor Reppert said...

Well, the sources for the view that he is both childish and corrupt are too various to be entirely baseless. I mean, Omarosa, Bob Woodward, and an high-level inside source within the administration? All part of a vast left-wing conspiracy? Maybe we didn't land on the moon, and it was all done in Area 51.

SteveK said...

Feels like? Not an argument. ‘Trump is icky’ isn’t grounds for undoing an election.

Childish? See above. I say entertaining and effective. Rhetoric has its place. It works.

Unfit? Evidence please.

Corrupt while a politician? Evidence please.

Sources say? Other sources say otherwise. Policy decisions and court picks say otherwise. Economic data say otherwise.

bmiller said...

Traditional Christians who held on too strongly to Trump as the last best hope of anti-leftism (and conservatism is coming to be defined as opposition to "the left" and nothing else), are going to be blamed for the damage, and Christianity itself will be blamed.

If one is a Christian, one should expect to be ridiculed and blamed for things. I wonder why you think this is a good argument.

Starhopper said...

Living through the Trump administration has actually enabled me to understand for the first time ever atheists who cannot understand how anyone could possibly be a Christian. How so? Because I find myself constantly shaking my head in open mouthed bewilderment as to how apparently intelligent people can continue to be taken in by such a transparent blowhard, how they can so resolutely ignore or make excuses for the most outrageous violations of and outright attacks on our democracy, civil society, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

I look at his supporters and say to myself, "They appear to be rational beings, but they have nevertheless fallen for what can only be described as utter insanity. How is this possible?"

Legion of Logic said...

"the most outrageous violations of and outright attacks on our democracy, civil society, the Constitution, and the rule of law."

Precisely how the Obama years were also described.

bmiller said...

Bad arguments are bad arguments regardless of one's political leanings.

Legion of Logic said...

True, both are / were hyperbole. But I think it is useful to point out the subjective nature of politics and how not liking someone automatically amplifies any wrongdoing that one's own side can get away with. If Trump happened to be implementing progressive policies, he wouldn't get mentioned on this blog. Russia would be considered at worst a right wing conspiracy. The anonymous op-ed writer claiming to be a high ranking official would be condemned and doubted. And the networks would be touting the good economic numbers on a daily basis, except Fox of course.

bmiller said...

True, both are / were hyperbole.

Don't be so sure about that. I think we have true believers here.

Starhopper said...

Well, I for one was not being in the least bit hyperbolic. In all sincerity, I look on our current president as the closest thing this world has seen to the embodiment of Pure Evil since Stalin.

SteveK said...

LOL. Drama queen.

Starhopper said...

Hey, that's drama KING, buddy-boy.

But seriously, how am I supposed to react to evil incarnate? Would you have called me a "drama queen" had I lived in the Third Reich and called out Hitler for what he was?

And don't say "You can never mention Hitler!" Why not? There have been several Hitlers since the namesake. Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez, Castro, all 3 Kims in the DPRK, Ratko Mladic, Gaddafi, Pinochet, Leopoldo Galtieri, ISIS... I could go on, but you get the idea. Why do you think the US of A is somehow immune from adding to that list?

SteveK said...

"Because I find myself constantly shaking my head in open mouthed bewilderment as to how apparently intelligent people can continue to be taken in by such a transparent blowhard, how they can so resolutely ignore or make excuses for the most outrageous violations of and outright attacks on our democracy, civil society, the Constitution, and the rule of law."

It's not that I'm taken in. I choose to ignore - or more accurately stated, I choose to respond appropriately to - wild speculation, hearsay, he said /she said claims, personal preferences, doomsday proclamations, hyperbolic moral outrage, gossip, evidence-free claims and political rhetoric.

You say he's a blowhard. I agree but I like that trait in some people and the effect it produces is sometimes pretty good. Not every time but a lot of the time. I've been friends / co-workers with blowhard sales managers and Execs. They are somewhat irritating people and I know they are full of BS much of the time. I don't take every word they say as literal truth. Fact-checking their every word is pointless because they are blowhards (if only the media would realize this about Trump). What I've notice is these people tend to get stuff done so I focus more on that.

You say I ignore or make excuses for him. I don't ignore or excuse, I respond appropriately to the things mentioned above. I don't major in the minors and I don't treat speculation, political rhetoric and gossip as fact.

You see "Pure Evil since Stalin", I see you engaging in the expression of moral hyperbole (aka being a drama queen). Stalin - seriously? 'LOL' is about all I can do in response.

You see various outright violations and attacks. I say what is being done that (a) isn't forbidden by *settled law* and (b) hasn't been tried before, politically? Maybe you want things to change in politics. I do too but that's a bigger issue that has nothing to do with Trump.

SteveK said...

"But seriously, how am I supposed to react to evil incarnate?"

You react by putting it in the proper perspective. What is Trump doing that makes you think he's "like Stalin" rather than like some morally imperfect blowhard rich guy with a big ego and a lot of power? That description I gave probably fits Stalin and about a million other people too, but there's a reason why you think the name Stalin fits more perfectly than anyone else. What is that reason? Get specific or forever leave me unimpressed by your rhetoric.

Starhopper said...

I have listed multiple times on this very site the many crimes and abominations of this president. It is really necessary for me to repeat myself? Surely you have read my previous (and quite lengthy) postings on the subject. The internet never dies - they're still there.

Legion of Logic said...

Starhopper, you said Trump is the closest thing to Pure Evil since Stalin.

Mao was responsible for tens of millions of deaths and killed political opponents. After Stalin.

Pol Pot was responsible for millions of deaths and killed political opponents. After Stalin.

Saddam Hussein was responsible for tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths, and killed political opponents. After Stalin.

Osama Bin Laden founded al Qaeda and was responsible for countless terrorist attacks and thousands of dead, including 9/11. After Stalin.

Robert Mugabe was responsible for thousands of deaths. After Stalin.

Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro is ran their countries into the dirt with countless human rights violations and violent crackdowns on political opposition. After Stalin.

The Kims oversaw possibly the most oppressive regime in modern history and were responsible for millions of deaths and violent imprisonment and murder of political opponents. After Stalin.

Ratko Mladic committed genocide and countless other atrocities. After Stalin.

Gaddafi was responsible for funding terrorism and multiple human rights violations. After Stalin.

Pinochet was responsible for thousands of deaths and political imprisonments. After Stalin.

Leopoldo Galtieri ran death squads and was responsible for thousands of deaths. After Stalin.

ISIS...well we know what ISIS has done, don't we?

Now, list Trump's Pure Evil bonafides and explain precisely how he is worse than the above.


SteveK said...

He said he was not being in the least bit hyperbolic, Legion, and we know a drama queen like Starhopper would never lie about being hyperbolic.

*eyeroll*

Legion of Logic said...

I'd have ignored it except he said it wasn't hyperbole. So I'm giving him the opportunity to explain how Trump is worse than Mao, Pol Pot, the Kim's, al Qaeda, and ISIS, because I can'teven begin to imagine the form such an argument would take.

Starhopper said...

"I can't even begin to imagine the form such an argument would take."

The form it would take is to realize we are in Act III of a five act play. Give him time... he'll top everyone on the list - if the voters don't rein him in this November. My assessment of his bottomless evil is based on what he will do (given the chance) as demonstrated by his already abominable record.

A threat can be worse than something already over. If you live through a cat 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph, but see another headed your way with winds of 200 mph, then the one on the way is worse than the one you've already lived through, even though it has not yet arrived but is merely headed your way. That is the precisely situation we are currently in with Trump.

bmiller said...

Deaths attributed to Stalin: 20 Million deaths
Deaths in America since Roe v Wade: 60 million

Talk about bottomless evil.

Victor Reppert said...

It's best not to exaggerate. Trump may have very bad character, but he lacks the skill at statecraft to do the kind of harm that a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Pol Pot, or even a Vladimir Putin, does. His advisors make his administration a conservative one, but keep him from doing the nutty things he might like to do that will do worse harm than he already does. He does strike me as amoral and without real convictions, and I suspect he would sign off on single payer socialized medicine if he thought it would save him from impeachment.

As for abortion, bmiller, if you really thought abortions were as heinous as the murders of born infants, you would insist on penalties for the abortion doctors, as well as for the mothers, appropriate to first degree murder. I haven't heard anyone advocating that. Even if all or most abortions are wrong, (and I do think they are) I don't think they are as heinous as the murders of those already born.

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bmiller said...

Even if all or most abortions are wrong, (and I do think they are) I don't think they are as heinous as the murders of those already born.

How does a human's physical location make his life more or less valuable?

Crude said...

"The left in general" is a pretty motley crew. This is not about the legitimacy of the election, this is about the fitness of the one who was elected to be President.

Please. I've been lurking for a while, Victor, and I actually have a memory. There were pleas for recounts. Demands that the electoral college voters vote against him. Screams that the vote was hacked. Every possible charge has been thrown at him. Each failed.

And 'fitness'? Why? Because you thought this election was yours, by right and destiny. Because the idea that screaming 'racist! sexist!' doesn't de-legitimize someone terrifies you.

I mean, Omarosa, Bob Woodward, and an high-level inside source within the administration?

You mean Omarosa, who even the NeverTrumpers laughed at? Woodward, who's provoked outright claims that he's lying?

No shit a lot of people in Washington hate him. We knew that from the start. Largely because of his positions. Let me guess, Victor: you shed a tear when they put McCain, that patriot, in the ground? I've been here a while. I remember what you thought of him.

As for abortion, bmiller, if you really thought abortions were as heinous as the murders of born infants, you would insist on penalties for the abortion doctors, as well as for the mothers, appropriate to first degree murder. I haven't heard anyone advocating that.

Sure you do. I'll advocate for it myself, or at least some variation of murder.

Pro-lifers tend not to do that because they're swamped with Christian women and wimpier men who combine virtue signaling with fear of criticism to a rather devastating brew.

Regardless, Victor - as I said: the right doesn't want to appease you anymore. We do not want to share a country with you. And guess what: if the left wins power, do you think we'll regard it as legitimate?

Or do you think we'll say 'You're unfit to lead'?

This show is coming to an end.

By the way, it's funny you use Loftus as an example, since I can attest: your attitude towards Loftus has largely been - for decades? - one of attempted appeasement and befriending. Perhaps because, theism aside, you had politics in common. How'd that work out?

Oh, and John, if you're reading this... I told you you were a mediocrity who would go nowhere. I was right.

Later gents.

Hugo Pelland said...

Crude said:
"Regardless, Victor - as I said: the right doesn't want to appease you anymore. We do not want to share a country with you. And guess what: if the left wins power, do you think we'll regard it as legitimate?"

WTF was that? You literally want a civil war? You literally want people you disagree with to either leave the country or fight you out of it?

bmiller said...

Hugo,

What is unclear to you?

You are in an America which is divided already. The last time when half of the country did not accept the election of a president it was called "The Civil War" in the North and "The War Between the States" in the South.

It's happening today again with the Left's attempt to delegitimize the last presidential election. Enjoy your time in California which will be ground zero.

Hugo Pelland said...

What's unclear to me is why people like Crude don't want to share a country with something like half the population.

Even the most anti-Trump folks don't say that. Most Californians might despise Trump, but I have never heard of threats or civil war.

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