TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA — Fact-checking website Politifact is reporting today that the GOP debate that took place on CNBC this week has “permanently damaged” the rating needle they use to judge truth versus falsehood, and it the time of publication they do not have an estimate for when it will be repaired.
“It was bouncing off the left edge pretty heavily the whole night,” Politifact Chief Fact Checker Susan Williamson told the press, “and when Carson straight-up denied working for that supplement company, the needle went beyond our Pants on Fire rating, spun a full 360 degrees, and then came to rest just hanging off its peg.” Williamson said that Politifact’s IT staff has been made aware of the problem and they have their “best nerds” working on fixing it, but that she has “never seen this level of mendacity in a single two hour block” before, and that “all bets are off” because of it.
Ms. Williamson said that “the needle just couldn’t get a break” because as soon as one candidate would stop talking, another one would start and that would start the needle bouncing again. Williamson said that even before Carson’s lie had done the final deed to the needle, there was still plenty of damage being done throughout the debate. “When Chris Christie said that Bernie Sanders wants to tax everyone at 90%, it was Pants on Fire bad, and it had that needle ricocheting off the left edge pretty hard,” Williamson said, “and we thought that it was going to break at that point.
“We’re still fact-checking a ton of the claims made on the stage last night,” Williamson told reporters, “but because of the damage that Carson and Christie did, we have no idea what the readings are going to looks like. Thank God we got Trump’s ridiculous claims that he never said Rubio was the personal Senator of Mark Zuckerberg rated before the needle went kablooey.” Ms. Williamson then told reporters that ahead of the next primary debate, Politifact hopes to have “a whole new bank of ratings needles” installed. She said that “when you have demagogues like Cruz and less than intelligent outsider candidates like Trump and Carson running” that they simply “cannot predict how our highly sensitive truth detecting needles will react.”
“Let’s put it this way,” Williamson said as she was ending the press conference, “we’re in the business of rating how true statements made by politicians are. That in and of itself is a losing proposition for our equipment. Politicians lie like the rest of us breathe oxygen. But what’s truly fascinating to us here at Politifact is that a lot of politicians haven’t adapted to the times. We have almost instantaneous fact-checking ability at our fingertips thanks to the Internet, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from saying dumb stuff like Bernie Sanders is a modern day version of a Nazi, does it? Our work is never done. But hopefully we can get our needle repaired soon, because there is never a shortage of bullshit that comes out of a politician’s mouth to have to wade through and decipher.”