Today PolitiFact looked at the claim by Michelle Malkin, myself and others over what we considered as political branding by the Democrats at the memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Tucson this last weekend. Their report, debunking the claim is here. In short, there is a claim by the University of Arizona that they are the ones who branded the event and PolitiFact accepted their statement as truth and gave Michelle Malkin and those of us who decried the branding the False Statement label.
Normally, I’m a fan of PolitiFact and FactCheck. I find that, even when they’re wrong on something, they give me something to think about. In this case, I think PolitiFact has made a very critical mistake. A very basic mistake in journalism at that.
They accepted the word of the spokesman, Johnny Cruz, without checking into it. He’s the one that claimed they came up with this on their own as a way of addressing the “community spirit.” I’m real sorry, Mr Cruz, but that explanation is about as believable as Frank Morgan’s reading of the crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz. A memorial service is NOT the place to brand anything. You are there to pay respects to the dead, not to do community service.
Now, the basic mistake in journalism that PolitiFact made is that they didn’t get verification of Mister Cruz’s statement. At the very least, I would have asked to see a copy of the invoices for the shirts to verify the accuracy of his statement. It is a mistake that could have been avoided. I don’t like to believe a blanket statement about something like this without some form of verification attached to it.
There is another reason to suspect that UofA had nothing to do with this and that’s the slogan itself. If they really wanted to address the “community spirit,” then wouldn’t a simple “Together We Thrive” logo os something similar to it have worked better? Why make specific mention of Tucson & America if it’s only for the local community?
There is yet one more reason to suspect the political leanings of this “memorial service.” It is worth noting that nearly every person who addressed the people in the crowd was a Democrat. Each one got applause while Obama got people singing his praises from the audience. Okay, that last part is only partly true, but the audience was wild when he finally made his appearance. However, the one person who was booed at the “service” was Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican (surprise, surprise) who is not too liked by the Democrats.
So, what do we have here? PolitiFact not checking the veracity of a statement made to them even as they are checking on the truth of a statement made by Michelle Malkin and others of us in the blogosphere. We have a lack of information to see who really paid money for these t-shirts that address “community spirit.” We have people acting like they are at a political rally and not a “memorial service.” How can anyone of reasonable discernment think this wasn’t orchestrated by Democrat politicos or the White House? As I said in my blog last night, this looked exactly like the start of Obama’s re-election bid.
Come on PolitiFact, do your research!