In the current post-fact, hyper-partisan era of politics, it’s hard to separate accusations of dishonesty from political sparring. If the “liberal mainstream media” accuses a conservative politician of lying, the conservatives fight back by alleging that there’s a bias, and vice versa.
Luckily, several fact-checking sites have attempted to rise above the fray, including PolitiFact.com and the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker. And while they’re nonpartisan in approach, a recent study of PolitiFact.com’s results by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University reveals something that will please one party more than another: Republicans lie more than Democrats, as much as three times as often during Obama’s second term. While this may not come as a surprise from a party that denies certain scientific basics (see: climate change and evolution), the study puts the two parties’ relationships with honesty into distinct relief:
PolitiFact rated 32% of Republican claims as “false” or “pants on fire,” compared to 11% of Democratic claims – a 3 to 1 margin. Conversely, Politifact rated 22% of Democratic claims as “entirely true” compared to 11% of Republican claims – a 2 to 1 margin.
A majority of Democratic statements (54%) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18% of Republican statements. Conversely, a majority of Republican statements (52%) were rated as mostly or entirely false, compared to only 24% of Democratic statements.
Despite controversies over Obama administration statements regarding Benghazi, the IRS and the Associated Press, Republicans have continued to fare worse than Democrats, with 60% of their claims rated as false so far this month (May 1 – May 22), compared to 29% of Democratic statements – a 2 to 1 margin.
While these stats are pretty damning, in the multi-channel era of media consumption, it may be harder than it should to get this information to the people who need to hear it: conservative or conservative-leaning voters.