Politifact’s “fact checker” Tom Kertscher is at it again, proving that in the year 2020 anyone can call themselves a fact checker and get away with it.
This time he attempted (poorly) to fact check my objectively true claim that because illegal aliens are counted as population in the Census, California has six more representatives than they otherwise would. Overall, Kertscher’s fact check reads like something he lazily put together in a half-hour. He doesn’t even correctly identify the source of my claim correctly (a report from FAIR), but instead mistakes a summary of the study I quoted as the source of it.
The bulk of Kertscher’s case against this claim is his own inability to prove the claim. From that point on he just quotes a few people who disagree with me and then labels the claim false. To bullet the bulk of non-rebuttal:
- We found no evidence to back a claim that California has six more House seats than it would have if people in the country illegally were excluded from the apportionment.
This of course isn’t because the evidence does not exist, but merely because Kertscher isn’t competent enough as a fact checker to find it.
- The claim “is off base,” said demographer Dudley Poston Jr., an emeritus professor of sociology at Texas A&M University.
- He and other experts say California likely has two to four more seats than it would without counting people in the country illegally.
So to summarize, his case amounts to “I can’t find evidence for this, one sociology professor disagrees with the claim, and so do some unnamed experts that I’ll quote even though you have no idea who they are.” He then rated the claim “mostly false,” which just goes to prove how Kertscher assigns his “ratings” to claims before even trying to cobble together a rebuttal. Does he really think that “well actually California only has four extra representatives due to illegals, not six!” is a satisfying rebuttal to anyone who doesn’t want illegals counted in terms of determining representation (which is almost everyone)?
That sounds “mostly true” to me, but you have to understand Politifact’s partnership with Facebook to understand his true motivation. Kertscher and those like him at Facebook don’t want information like the narrative I’m spreading to gain traction, so they bring in a “fact checker” to do an “analysis” of the claim. That’s why Kertscher’s article makes many references to the fact that my article was posted on the Dan Bongino Facebook page, because once it’s “fact checked” the page gets a warning, thus throttling our traffic. It also means a warning will pop up over the article anytime someone shares it on FB, even though you can see that his fact check didn’t check any facts.
Had Kertscher been competent, he could’ve at least attempted to make it look like he put some effort into the fact check. He could’ve walked the reader through the process by which representatives are apportioned, and then provided estimates of the illegal alien population in California. But he doesn’t care about the truth – he cares about suppressing it.
So little effort did Kertscher put into his fact check, that he didn’t even bother to interact with the data underpinning the claim from its source, the aforementioned FAIR study. Illegal aliens make up roughly 17% of California’s population, and the six extra representatives California has due to illegals being counted as population (as per FAIR) represent roughly 11% of California’s representatives. Since representatives are assigned based on population, that would indicate that if there’s an error in FAIR’s math, it’s because they under-counted the number of reps attributed to illegals.
Just recently 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.”
Another one of 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.