PolitiFact needs to change its name. They’ve never been unimpeachably impartial, but lately they’re just not even trying anymore. Ted Cruz is their latest victim, and judging from this “journalistic” malpractice, apparently anybody who believes like Ted is to be considered inherently wrong whether they’re waxing philosophically or simply claiming 2 + 2 is 4.
In a post from June 18th that went viral yesterday, the premier “fact-checking” site evaluated the truthiness of Sen. Cruz’s claim regarding immigrant child detentions in which he stated:
There’s actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail.
I won’t bore you with my own analysis. The article itself explicitly states Cruz’s claim is “right” and “correct”, and yet they then proceed to rate it as “Mostly False”. Not the first time they’ve tried to pull this, but it’s particularly glaring and egregious here.
After conferring with experts, especially University of Buffalo School of Law prof Rick Su, PolitiFact concluded that, yes, the 1997 Flores v. Reno case, as interpreted in 2016 by the progressive 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, precludes sending children to jail with their parents when arrested (aka, 100% true), BUT–it’s still mostly false. Not even a qualified “true” or mixed verdict, but mostly false. Why? Well, you see, even though…
*Cruz is right that once you have make [sic] the decision to send the parents to jail, separation may be necessary because Flores generally forbids the government from detaining children in jail … *
Cruz’s claim [is] technically correct…
…nevertheless, this entirely correct and right statement is “misleading in that it leaves the inaccurate impression that the government, by policy and law, has no choice but to separate children from parents”.
How so? Simple–this all hinges on the assumed premise that a parent is being detained, when the government in fact has the option not to arrest and detain them. In other words, the government has a choice as to whether they perform the arrest, but no choice in regard to putting the kids with their parents in jail (Trump’s new legally dubious EO notwithstanding).
Well … yeah. With any crime, the government can choose whether it wants to actually enforce the law, and if they do, legal restrictions on detainment then come into play. What does that prove, exactly? Really, it’s a new weapons-grade level of pedantry to point out that incarceration regulations only pertain to cases in which people are arrested. The “well, actually” is especially STRONG with this one. That state of the argument alone dispenses with any serious claims that Cruz was lying.
But it gets worse. Dumber, even. The objection here is supposed to be that Cruz “leaves the inaccurate impression” that separation was the only option by assuming the “zero tolerance” detainment policy is required by law, or by the court ruling. In other words, that they have to be arrested, resulting in the Flores rule kicking in. This is where PolitiFact goes from biased to brazenly dishonest. As Cruz explicitly stated, as quoted in the actual article, this separation problem only applies “when you put the parents in jail”. That was part of the specific statement PolitiFact was reviewing for veracity. Moreover, in the broader context, which again–PolitiFact directly quotes at length–Senator Cruz provides the very circumstantial qualifiers his fact-checkers require for his statements to be counted true:
This is an issue that, I think, the media has largely constructed because what’s shifted is that the Trump administration is endeavoring if people cross illegally to arrest them, not to let them go–and so if they have kids, you know, there is actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail. (emphasis mine)
Just being clear: the Politi~~hack~~Fact experts dinged the Senator for being misleading in his statement by leaving “the inaccurate impression that the government, by policy and law, has no choice but to separate children from parents”, when in fact “the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of detaining and criminally prosecuting all immigrants [sic], even those who arrived with children, is what has led to this”. Um, that shift in policy was exactly what Ted Cruz claimed had changed. They’re just lying. How did Sen. Cruz leave the impression that the court order requires separation, irrespective of Trump’s actions, when he directly stated this new policy “shifted” the state of affairs into Flores territory?
Get a new job, or get a new URL, guys. You don’t like what he said even though it’s 100% true. Doesn’t matter. If you cite a man’s words, knowing they’re right, and call him a liar, you’re the liars.