Milwaukee Journal Sentinel readers are likely familiar with PolitiFact Wisconsin, a JS-affiliated fact-checking site that finally brings fact-checking to journalism. It’s a useful tool for determining the honesty of politicians, rating their sometimes-dubious claims “True,” “False,” “Mostly True,” and, occasionally “PANTS ON FIRE.” And, just like the JS, it’s possible to see a liberal or conservative bias in PolitiFact’s findings: Agree with PolitiFact? Right on! Disagree? Liberal/conservative bias!
So yeah, the integrity of PolitiFact is up for debate. Happily, that debate just got a little more rockin’, because PolitiFact drove out past the cornfields where the woods get heavy, hopped in the back of its ’60 Chevy, and fact-checked a Bob Seger song. Yes, the site is taking aim at the unstoppable “Night Moves” singer for “It’s Your World,” an environmentally conscious song from his new album, Ride Out, which contains this lyric: “Let’s talk about mining in Wisconsin / Let’s talk about breathing in Beijing.” More specifically, PolitiFact takes issue with a statement Seger made to The Detroit News last month, in which he mentions the controversial Gogebic Taconite iron mine in northern Wisconsin:
“The governor, Scott Walker, passed a bill through the state legislature on a weekend that there will be no environmental oversight, ‘we want this mine.’ Well, the mine is right by a river that runs into Lake Superior, which is some of the cleanest fresh water in the world. But sorry, according to Scott Walker, there isn’t going to be oversight, we’re going to build this thing, and it’s going to be 9 miles long. I read about it in The New Yorker.”
Not so fast, Seger. PolitiFact is giving your claim a big fat “False,” determining the mine “would be closer to four miles long,” and the project “will be subject to regulation and oversight on several fronts.” (PolitiFact also notes that it “attempted to reach Seger through his label, Capitol Records, but received no response.”) Finally, an offhand remark from the guy who wrote “Like A Rock” has been exposed for the lie it is. Bring on the iron mine!
Next week: Is it REALLY funny how the night moves? (Mostly False.)