Once again the faux fact checkers at PolitiFact are proving that an entire website could be created just to fact check their “fact checks.”
This time the alleged fact checker Tom Kertscher, who has a long history of factual inaccuracies, was evaluating the claim that Maxine Waters said Trump supporters are “not welcome here” and “we must welcome everyone who crosses our borders.”
“No, California Rep. Maxine Waters didn’t say Trump supporters ‘not welcome here'” was Kertscher’s verdict, while rating the claim “mostly false.”
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) February 8, 2021
There are two quotes from Waters here, but the relevant one is the one saying that Trump supporters “are not welcome.” Kertscher’s laughable explanation for why the quote isn’t accurate is as follows:
…While Waters did make statements suggesting Trump Cabinet members should be singled out in public, she did not direct her comments at Trump supporters broadly, as this post suggests.
He was quoting comments that Waters made in June of 2018, which can be seen in the video below.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) February 9, 2021
In other words, the quote is “mostly false” because Waters actually encouraged violence against a similar but different group of people! Given the media attention that empty internet threats against politicians like AOC receive, why does Waters get a pass when she’s inciting violence against politicians? (Because she’s a Democrat, of course).
Kertscher then noted that future posts on Facebook quoting Maxine as saying this would be flagged. The specific Facebook post that Kertscher was “fact checking” was from November 2018, meaning he likely literally just decided to “fact check” information he wanted censored.
Regardless of if it counts as a “fact check” to point out that Waters was calling for violence against a similar but different group, Kertscher must’ve not bothered to do more than a few minutes of research, or else he would’ve found Waters defending and joking about past calls for violence while mocking those offended by her June 2018 comments. As The Hill reported in September 2018, in a speech where Waters would otherwise claim to be against inciting violence, she:
…mockingly said in a speech last weekend that she threatens Trump supporters all the time, defending her comments in June that said people should confront members of President Trump‘s administration.
Waters said she was not threatening Trump supporters or constituents when she called on people to confront Trump Cabinet members and supporters in June — and said Trump was wrong to accuse her of doing so at the time.
“I did not threaten [Trump] constituents and supporters. I do that all the time, but I didn’t do that that time,” Waters said to laughter from a crowd in Los Angeles.
And let’s be honest, if Trump called for violence against Democrat members of Congress do you think we’d be reading PolitiFact “fact checks” assuring us that he at least didn’t incite it against Democrat voters? Give me a break.
The explanation given for the “mostly false” rating was widely and deservedly mocked.
Pretty funny when normal citizens have to fact check Politifact 😂🤣😂
— 🇺🇸🇺🇸Doug🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@DPH_78) February 8, 2021
ummmmmm no. pic.twitter.com/hwTrgkQ7Xt
— Villainsmatter (@Widebrimgamer) February 9, 2021
Kertscher has a long history of embarrassingly bad fact checks.
In August Kertscher “fact checked” the claim that New York and New Jersey have five times more coronavirus deaths per capita than Florida by acknowledging that the claim is literally true before rating it “mostly false” under the logic that “things could change in the future.” Things have – and yet Florida still has roughly half the coronavirus deaths are those two states. By the “logic” here, any comparison where variables change over time can be rated “false” by these sort of fact checkers… which is most things.
Another one of his notably lazy “fact checks” was of the claim that violent crime in South Bend Indiana had effectively doubled under Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s tenure. Kertscher rated the claim false because South Bend changed the way that police counted assaults by including cases “where a weapon was shown” as aggregated assaults. Kertscher then did no actual work to quantify the extent to which this influences the numbers, he just says that the numbers then get tricky. That’s it.
Elsewhere Kertscher attempted to fact check the claim that the inclusion of illegal aliens in our population count gives California an extra six seats in the House of Representatives by emailing some dude at Texas A&M University who said it’s likely “only” 2-4 extra seats. He decided to then rate the claim “mostly false,” even though it was “mostly true” according to the only opinions on the matter he provided.
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