What’s fact?

WSJ takes up an example of the ‘fact finder’ who can’t tell what a fact is – but doesn’t care because its goal has little to do with its name.

PolitiFact’s decree is part of a larger journalistic trend that seeks to recast all political debates as matters of lies, misinformation and “facts,” rather than differences of world view or principles. PolitiFact wants to define for everyone else what qualifies as a “fact,” though in political debates the facts are often legitimately in dispute.

Even the local newspaper gets into this game with its occasional ‘fact or fiction’ report on campaign dialog. The reports are often more interesting for what the reporter thinks is factual and what is not.

But the news media is not alone. One only has to look at the ‘net neutrality’ debate to see that. The matter of evil money is a big draw and evil money from big (evil) corporations is almost irresistible to many. With net neutrality supporters, it is AT&T and not FreePress and its ilk that are suspect. The Climate issue follows a similar pattern with those big evil oil companies corrupting money influence seen as culpable and not the big government research funds. These are only extreme examples. It is the details where things can really get interesting and patterns show more subtly.

What happens when reality meets fantasy is that a distortion is needed. That is the case the WSJ has noted.

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