MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — As part of its preparation for the Republican presidential debate in Wisconsin tonight, fact-checking website PolitiFact has added fifty additional staff members specifically to cover the additional fact-checking needs they’ll have with both Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina participating in the debate.
“Having just gotten our ratings needle repaired from the damage the Republicans did to it as of Friday of last week,” Politifact Chief Fact Checker Susan Williamson told reporters at a press conference early on Monday morning, “we are not about to take any chances with this next debate. That’s why when we saw that both Dr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina were going to be on the stage at the same time, we knew we had to bump up our staff assigned to fact-checking each of them by at least a couple dozen people.”
Williamson told reporters that “when you have one candidate who lies about everything in his past and another candidate who lies about things she’s seen in videos” the potential for lies is astronomical. “According to our algorithm, having either Carson or Fiorina in your debate will increase the Mendacity Index — that’s a system we’ve come up with in an attempt to actually attempt to predict just how many lies will be told in one particular setting or another — skyrockets. But when you put the two of them together on the same stage at the same time, it literally breaks our algorithm.”
“The simple truth is that we have no idea how many lies will come out of their mouths tonight,” Williamson told the press, “both of them are known for stretching the truth like a rubber band, but Carson is also tremendously stupid and when stupid people get nervous on a big stage, some rather amazing lies can spill out of their mouths. So we’re both excited and nervous in anticipation of just how many incorrect statements, assertions, guesses, and rhetoric will come flying out of those two.”
But it’s not just Carson and Fiorina that Ms. Williamson says poses a threat to PolitiFact’s needle — she says the risk is there with any of the candidates. She said that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “is one of the better ones” but that he still gets caught making verifiably false statements nearly 40% of the time. Williamson said former Florida Governor Jeb! rates as speaking falsely just a little less than Rubio, at about a 34% clip.
“The Republican candidates are used to operating in a fairly fact-free media sphere — the Conservative Media Bubble. So truth to be told,” Williamson said, “none of them have sparkling records on our site. Out of all the statements Senator Ted Cruz has made that we have rated, 67% of them are at least mostly false all the way to Pants on Fire lies, and if you were to consider that we were charitable and left out the 13% of his statements that were only Half True, and therefore could be considered Half False as well, meaning a full 8 out of the 10 things he’s said that we’ve fact check have come out to be untrue.”