PolitiFact botched a fact-check of a fact-check in a story exposing the group’s absence of a fact-check.
On Friday, PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan twice demanded The Federalist issue a correction to a story published Wednesday on comments the group was not very interested in fact-checking Vice President Kamala Harris.
“We’ve always been more interested in fact-checking the president than the vice president,” Holan wrote in an email Wednesday, when pushed on why the group had failed to fact-check demonstrably false comments from Harris. “That was true for the past two administrations as well.”
Harris claimed during an interview with Axios on HBO published this week that the Biden administration has been forced to start “from scratch” on coronavirus vaccine distribution.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Harris said, only to be directly contradicted by National Institutes of Health Director Anthony Fauci speaking to reporters a month earlier.
“We’re certainly not starting from scratch,” Fauci said. In fact, the Trump administration put team Biden on track to reach its initial goal of 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days. On the day after Biden was inaugurated, 1.3 million Americans were inoculated, according to Bloomberg News.
PolitiFact told The Federalist the group had no plans to fact-check Harris for the reason stated above, and added the fact-checking organization already fact-checked a similar claim when it was made by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain in January. The group rated Klain’s comments “mostly false.”
PolitiFact took issue with The Federalist story published Feb. 17, however, over the publication highlighting the group’s last fact-check of President Joe Biden dated for Feb. 10, one week earlier.
“Your report is wrong in multiple ways,” Holan wrote in a Friday email. “For one, we published three fact-checks on Feb. 16, so our last check on Biden was the day before your report was published. The link you use in the story shows that. Please issue a correction ASAP.”
Holan followed up two hours later, demanding an update.
The link embedded in the initial post to Biden’s fact-checks on the PolitiFact website, however, which remains unchanged, shows PolitiFact published three fact-checks after the story was published in The Federalist, of statements made on Feb. 16, including Biden’s remarks on vaccines. Contrary to Holan’s assertion, these fact-checks were published on Feb. 17 and 18, following the Federalist article.
PolitiFact has still not published a fact-check of Harris’s erroneous assertion the Biden White House has been forced to start “from scratch” with vaccine distribution.
Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]