I have a piece in the Aus this morning re the fact-checking fad going on – it’s a bit like hula hoops or yo-yo’s. Everyone is doing it, then no one is doing it.
It seems to be that, earnestness and bias aside, most of the fact checkers are committing Type III errors – answering another question, a question that they like better.
Take Peter Martin’s conclusion that Tony Abbott’s suggestion that women on average weekly earnings would be $21,000 better off than under the government’s scheme.
This figure is true but according to fact-checking Pete, he should have taken into account the fact that many women work part-time and a majority of women earn less than the average. So what?
So everything, according to intrepid Pete, and allows him to conclude: MOSTLY FALSE. (How’s he going after his blunder with superannuation contributions – you know the one, where employers were chipping in $90K for every million dollar earner on their books. Oops, he should have checked the regulations. Would be awarded the Pants-on-Fire label.)
This is a classic Type III error, shifting the goal posts because the fact checkers doesn’t like to rule TRUE on a statement made by someone they dislike.
Any leads on ABC fact checking welcome. I understand they are making a meal about the difference between gross (we pay interest on this) and net (thanks to the Future Fund, there is something to subtract from gross) government debt and the timing of the figures.
And as for this furphy that Australia has not raised any debt from overseas since 1987, the fact-checkers really don’t have a clue.
- A large portion of Australian government securities issued in Australia is purchased by overseas investors;
- Government debt was routinely raised in Australian dollars and some of it swapped into $US debt.
Check the facts, I say.