Friday, January 14, 2011

PolitiFact Overload

The good people at PolitiFact do a great job of trying to tell us when politicians fudge, obfuscate, or just plain lie, but if they’re going to start to fact-check bloggers, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

The University of Arizona memorial service for the victims of the Tucson, Ariz. shootings was called “Together We Thrive.” But Michele Malkin claimed the slogan was cooked up by the White House

In an opinion piece about the Jan. 12, 2011, memorial event, Malkin, a conservative pundit, accused the White House of “branding” the memorial service with the slogan, complete with its own logo.

Malkin noted that all 13,000 people who attended the “Together We Thrive” event were given blue and white T-shirts with the logo.

“Can’t the Democrat political stage managers give it a break just once?” Malkin wrote in her column.


But officials at the University of Arizona said the White House had nothing to do with the name or the logo.

“The name of the event and the logo for the event were done entirely by the university,” said Johnny Cruz, a spokesman for the University of Arizona. “Branding of the event was not done in consultation with the White House, or any elected officials or political organization.”

The T-shirts were also the university’s doing, Cruz said.

“That was the university’s idea,” he said. “We wanted to give people something to remember, to symbolize the community spirit.”

The university bought the shirts without the use of taxpayer dollars, although he wasn’t sure if the cost was borne by donations.

“Almost everything was done by the university,” Cruz said, including selection of the location for the event and planning the agenda. Once the president accepted an invitation, he said, the White House helped coordinate some logistics, such as security, but that was the extent of the White House involvement.

And “Together We Thrive” was conceived by a University of Arizona student, he said.


The burden of proof is on Malkin and she has failed to prove any White House involvement. She may believe she sees the handiwork of the White House at play, but there’s no evidence to back that up. Certainly not enough to justify her claim the White House used the shooting tragedy as an opportunity to orchestrate a “branded” political event. We rate Malkin’s claim False.

John Cole says, “They are going to need to hire about 1,000 new researchers if they are going to start fact-checking wingnut blogs and even make a dent. Half those researchers could work nonstop fact-checking just Malkin and Hot Air.”

I think PolitiFact should just issue Michelle Malkin a blanket “Pants On Fire” rating and save themselves a lot of work.