Fact-Checking PolitiFact’s Clinton Email Fact-Check

I had an email exchange with Gene Emery of PolitiFact about a couple of its fact-checks related to the Clinton emails. PolitiFact just tweeted that it updated the ratings for one of them.

I have to give PolitiFact a Pants on Fire for its tweet…and for its rating.

First of all, that False rating is what the story had at the time of my and Emery’s email exchange. Checking in with the Wayback Machine, the rating was False when the story was first released.

So, no, PolitiFact, you didn’t re-rate this item. You said False on the 6th, and you still show False.

You did post a note following FBI Director Comey’s testimony in front of Congress when he clarified that none of the emails had a classified header, and only three emails had the insider markup (c) denoting classified material in the body of the email.

As I wrote back to Emery, to the average person, (c) means copyright. And I also expected PolitiFact would upgrade their rating following the Editor’s Note. After all, why insert an Editor’s Note if it wasn’t because PolitiFact needed to modify its rating?

But the rating hasn’t changed, and all PolitiFact has reluctantly done is add the note.

Let’s look at this rating, then. As Clinton has stated, over and over and over again, she did not send email that was marked classified. And none of her email showed a classified header, required for classified material.

At most, at most, three emails had the little (c) marking embedded in the email. Three out of 30,000+ emails. And yet PolitiFact, rated what Hillary Clinton has said as False.

Says she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified” on her private email server while secretary of state. False.

This following the PolitiFact Editor’s Note:

The day after we published this fact-check, Comey testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 7. Comey said he believes three emails on Clinton’s server contained information labeled classified at the time they were sent. This information was not properly marked in that the emails did not have a classification header, even though a “(c)” immediately preceded text in the body of the emails, designating confidential information. Without the clear classification header, it’s reasonable to infer that Clinton did not realize these three emails contained classified information, he said.

Couldn’t we also reasonably infer that PolitiFact would update its rating to Mostly True, or even True, based on this Editor’s Note, and Comey’s statement?

Of course not. Because after all…Clinton…emails…All reason goes out the window. Along with fairness, and perspective, and bluntly, honesty.

Your butt’s on fire, PolitiFact.

Originally published at Crooks & Liars.

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