Rand Paul’s office didn’t like the ‘Half True’ rating they received from fact-checking website Politifact this week.
If you aren’t familiar with Politifact, it’s a website from the Tampa Bay Times that takes statements made by elected officials or candidates for office, researches them, then assigns them a grade on the ‘Truth-O-Meter’ – anything from ‘True’ to ‘Pants on Fire!’
They gave Paul a ‘Half True’ – right smack dab in the middle of the scale – for comments he made on CNN’s “Crossfire” Monday night.
‘Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Syrian President Bashar Assad is probably a war criminal but some of his opponents are equally dangerous.
‘We’ve seen priests beheaded by the Islamic rebels on the other side,’ Paul said on the inaugural edition of CNN’s relaunched Crossfire. ‘We’ve also seen an Islamic rebel eating the heart of a soldier.’
These are dramatic and gruesome claims that have great staying power on the Web, so we decided to see if we could verify them.
The short answer is that rebels gunned down a priest but didn’t behead him. And a rebel commander made a show of cutting organs from a dead Syrian soldier but denies actually taking a bite.
Politifact rates claims all the time, so that’s not special. What is special? Paul’s camp actually sent them a response.
“Paul’s office sent us a statement that read, in part, ‘To get caught up in the specifics of which organ was eaten or how, or the manner in which an innocent priest was murdered is to miss the truth to argue over the details: that atrocities have been committed by both sides of this civil war.’”
You know what? That’s a pretty good response. It’s another sign that Paul and his team (this was sent to Politifact by Paul’s Communications Director Moira Bagley) aren’t okey letting people create the narrative for them.
Paul was making a point that the violence in Syria isn’t exclusive to one side, an important distinction. The details aren’t quite as important when the result is gruesome death either way.
Everyone did their job here, and did it well. Paul made his point – Politifact rated it – the Paul team responded to clarify – and Politifact posted it in their story. It’s hard for Democracy and the media to work much better than that.
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