PolitiFactRI is so obviously biased and has made so many blatantly wrong ratings that flew in the face of plain truth that, for me, it has achieved the status of a pathological liar. So I wonder sometimes whether it is even worth calling them out. You don’t bother to call out a pathological liar, you simply ignore everything he says because he has no credibility.
But then I remember that they have as a platform the state’s largest newspaper, the Providence Journal, which inexplicably continues to damage its own reputation for accuracy, perpetuate serious misinformation, promote bad government policies and squander valuable journalistic resources by hosting a mini-Pravda.
PolitiFact Rhode Island has compiled promises that Gina Riamondo made during the 2014 campaign and is tracking their progress on our Gina-Meter.
And yesterday’s rating involved the bias of choice: which statement did PolitiFact RI choose to rate? Governor Raimondo, obviously, made many statements during the campaign. PolitiFactRI chose to rate one that gives Raimondo a nice kiss on the cheek: her (bad, policy-wise) promise to forgive student loan at taxpayer expense. What a nice way for PolitiFactRI to promote the governor among young people, everyone in Rhode Island who works for a college or university and those who think that college should be free or at least much cheaper. “Look, look at what she did! She’s handing out taxpayer dollars for a cause that you agree with!”
A far more profound and questionable statement candidate Gina Raimondo made on the campaign trail was,
… we’re not going to cut our way out of this, we’re not going to tax our way out of this.
It is carefully couched in second person plural. But clearly, voters were to glean from this statement that a Governor Raimondo would neither cut spending nor increase taxes. This statement she violated less than three months into her governorship: her first budget contained both spending cuts and tax increases. If you view tolls as tantamount to mobile taxing, as many of us do, she is attempting to breach the second part of the statement on a massive, highly destructive scale.
But rating that statement would not have made her look nearly as good as the statement that PolitiFactRI chose to rate in yesterday’s Providence Journal. In fact, that seems to be the pattern for PolitiFact RI as we look back at the statements rated on the “Gina-Meter”: so far, none get worse than a “In the Works”.
It appears that a governor who is both the right gender and who is pushing all of the right (i.e., expensive and often destructive) policies has proven to be an irresistible combination for PolitiFactRI, which has clearly adjusted the bias for the Gina-Meter to high. This is entirely consistent with their setting for the Truth-O-Meter … but not with journalistic accuracy or the good of Rhode Island as a whole, which badly needs the truth rather than biased cheer-leading about elected leaders and their statements.
Monique Chartier is Communications Director of Rhode Island Taxpayers, a non-partisan taxpayer and business advocacy organization, and Editor of the R.I. Taxpayer Times.