Politifact has long been an outlet for the left. Masquerading as a news-only, “just the facts, ma’am” truthtelling outlet, Politifact has burnished its reputation for veracity by labeling President Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie half-true – only to reverse course and label the very same statement its lie of the year just a year later.
Now, Politifact has seen fit to attempt to debunk my video attempting to estimate the number of radical Muslims on the planet.
This was, admittedly, a tall order for the mental midgets at Politifact. That’s because I drew all my numbers directly from well-established polling companies like Pew, and clearly defined my terms: radical Muslims, I said, believed in one of the following: (1) honor killings; (2) conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11; (3) the implementation of shariah law; (4) support for terrorist groups or attacks. I then calculated the highest polling percentages from the world’s most populous Muslim countries that fell within these four categories. The goal: to set an outer limit at the number of radical Muslims on earth. My conclusion: at least 800 million Muslims fell within these categories.
So, what was Politifact’s response? They didn’t like my criteria. Instead, they claimed, my claim was false. They did not claim that I misquoted the polls, or that I skewed the numbers. They simply stated that supporting honor killings, conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, implementation of shariah law, and support for terrorism didn’t make you radical.
Which begs the question: what in the hell actually makes you a Muslim radical according to Politifact?
Let’s analyze their asinine analysis.
First, they argued, believing in implementation of shariah law did not make one a radical Muslim:
It is a moral code that covers marriage, crime and business. Different branches of Islam use different versions of the law. Some elements are widely accepted, such as the immorality of fraud. But for countries and sects that follow the harshest versions in which thieves have their hands cut off and unfaithful women are stoned to death, the opposition from the West, and parts of the Muslim world as well, is strong and visceral.
Somehow it seems less than honest to suggest that those who back implementation of shariah law in Pakistan want to restrict that implementation to usury laws.
And yet that’s precisely what Politifact does:
Pew reported that 84 percent of Pakistani Muslims wanted Sharia law, but of those, nearly two-thirds said it should only apply to Muslims. Run those numbers through and you get about 54 million Muslims who think all Pakistanis should be subject to Sharia law. That’s about 60 percent fewer than Shapiro said.
Well, no. If Christians wanted governments to apply Biblical punishments for adultery, but only for Christians, they'd still be radical Christians. It matters little to the young Muslim woman stoned for adultery whether shariah law is only applied to Muslims or not. The person doing the stoning is radical.
But here’s where Politifact gets truly hilarious: they can’t even stick with their own statistics:
We are not saying that Pakistan has 54 million radical Muslims. Our point is that more detailed polling data changes the results a great deal. Shapiro chose one yardstick. Other analysts could with at least as much justification choose another.
That doesn’t make my yardstick wrong, of course. It just means Politifact doesn’t like my yardstick. So they try their own. And, sadly, they come up with a calculation of 181 million Muslims in 15 countries who are radical. Which is lower than my estimate, but reasonable.
But that’s politically incorrect. So Politifact simply says that no standard can be used for determining radicalism in the Muslim world: “To be clear, we’re not saying there are 181 million radical Muslims.”
They're not saying there are 54 million radical Muslims in Pakistan or 181 million radical Muslims in the most populous Muslim countries. So, what are they saying?
They’re saying that all definitions of Muslim radicalism are off the table, so we can never tell if there are any Muslim radicals at all. As they concede, “We should note that we found no solid estimate of the number of radical Muslims worldwide.”
To prove that point, Politifact quotes James Zogby of the Arab American Institute to support the notion that even honor killings do not make one a radical Muslim: “Zogby said that as cruel as honor killings are, they are not tied to beliefs that underlie beheadings and suicide bombings.” In other words, as long as you’re not a head-chopper, you’re not a radical Muslim. And even then, we’d have to examine your true Islamic motives.
That's certainly convenient for Zogby, given his reported defense of groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as certain individual terrorists. Zogby even said that Palestinian organizations that refused to sign a pledge not to use American aid for terrorism were not supporting terrorism. So there’s that.
Finally, Politifact concludes that my claim that a majority of Muslims are radical is false: ““Shapiro’s definition of radical is so thin as to be practically meaningless and so too are the numbers he brings to bear.”
Which is beyond ridiculous, given that they established no definition for radicalism, disowned their own numbers in order to avoid coming to uncomfortable conclusions, and even admitted that my yardstick was justifiable, as were others.
Politifact, it turns out, is actually just PolitiOpinion.
We rate Politifact’s brand “false.”