PolitiFact’s handling of the situation was exemplary, the site acting with the transparency befitting an organization positioning itself as a kind of truth police. In fact, it was the publication of three letters supporting Huffington and criticizing PolitiFact’s verdict on PolitiFact’s own “Mailbag” page that inspired Huffington to write on the issue a month after the Half True rating had been published.
PolitiFact editor Bill Adair commented on Huffington’s piece on Media Bistro’s FishbowlDC.
“I respect Arianna’s right to disagree with us, but I think we got it right,” Adair told FishbowlDC in an e-mail. “We spent several days researching her statement and found that while there was the overbilling she cites, there wasn’t clear-cut proof it was fraud. So Half True was the right call.”
Going by the parameters of PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter, we think it’s the right call too. A cautious call, true—read the full text of the finding and there seems to be something fishy going on with KBR—but right.
Perhaps it’s just another case of the difference between the old guard, represented here somewhat ironically by a rigorous, old-school, fact-checking Web site, and the new guard in Huffington and her Post.