PolitiFact Texas Mailbag: ‘Really, how stupid can you people get?’
When a reader thinks we’ve erred, we get blasted. Keep ‘em coming!
From our mailbag:
Several readers commented on the Pants on Fire given to Republican Donald Trump’s statement, in Beaumont, that President Barack Obama wants to admit 250,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S.
One reader said our article demonstrated Trump drew on Fox News’s Sean Hannity: "I suppose you know by now that The Donald was not making the large figure of immigrants up out of whole cloth........even your article shows how he got to that number. He took what Sean Hannity mistakenly said per Secretary of State Kerry's remarks about the administration planned on 100,000 (admitted refugees) in 2017. Hannity added the figure up to get the 255,000, however these were not just from Syria:"
Another reader liked the Trump check, saying: "What would anyone expect from Trump except the most ridiculous lies? The scariest thing is that so many people don't care that they are lies."
Several readers couldn’t stomach our fact check rating False a claim by Sen. Ted Cruz, another presidential hopeful, that the federal government was trying to force boys to shower with little girls. (We separately followed up with this broader story.)
One reader reacted: "When you look at things only through the heavy veil of your own bias, then you do not see clearly."
A second reader wrote: while transgender people may believe and display phenotypically that they are girls...genotypically, they are and always will genetically will be boys. So while Cruz’s comment is rude and he shouldn't be making it...you are wrong as well… you would have been better off not commenting on his silly comment."
Another: "I can't possibly fathom how you would justify giving Cruz's statement a False rating rather than a Mostly False.
"Here is your OWN definition of "Mostly False:"
MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
"The facts of the matter here is that there CLEARLY is ‘an element of truth’ in that the federal government IS trying to force school districts to ‘let’ kids [born as] boys shower with people born as girls.... I like to present PolitiFact ratings to conservatives in debates as evidence. They dismiss you guys as liberally-biased. And from my perspective, when you inflate the rating, you provide people evidence to justify that claim."
A Washington, D.C., reader said: "The issues surrounding gender dysphoria are hotly debated. Yet Mr. Selby's piece relied solely on four extremely biased sources for his information on whether people with gender dysphoria are the gender they identify as -- or the gender they are born as. In fact, many experts (such as a former head of psychology for Johns Hopkins, Dr. John McHugh:) argue that gender dysphoria is indeed a disorder, not a proper view of one's sexuality -- and thus they would disagree with Mr. Selby's conclusion that transgendered teenagers are the gender with which they identify."
Another: "If a ‘transgender’ student has the ‘boy parts’ with which to rape a biological girl, then said ‘transgender’ student has no right to be showering with girls, in my humble opinion. You rate Ted Cruz's statement false by wholly accepting any ‘boy’ who claims to be be a girl. I can tell you that as a woman I have known many ‘boys’ my whole life and every single one of them would have ‘claimed’ to be a girl if it got them into the girls' shower room, while girls were in there. The stupidity that America has become is absolutely mind boggling…
"Really, how stupid can you people get?"
A New York reader said we failed to draw on solid sources, saying he found the article "very misleading." The fact check, the reader said, "seemed to thump what you believed to be morally correct, rather than what is factually correct."
The reader also questioned this statement in our story: "It’s not factually accurate to say that letting transgender students into locker rooms amounts to boys being permitted to shower with girls."
"What the heck are you talking about? In something we like to call science, a person is born a male or a female. Their biological sex. As in XX or XY chromosomes. This is what Ted Cruz is referring to. You know that; I know that. YOU are introducing the term 'gender', not Cruz, then claim he is wrong because of it. And biologically speaking... a boy is a boy. You can change your name, change your clothes, take hormones or even go through sex reassignment. Someone born a male, will always be a biological male."
"Gender and the roles we assign to them are a human construct, which vary across the world. The role gender plays is different in every culture around the world. There have always been girls who like getting dirty and playing in the mud. We call them tomboys. There have always been boys who like dolls and dresses. So be it, let them do what makes them happy. But the notion that someone is born with a predetermined psychological gender is fiction..."
This email closed: "Ted Cruz is a manipulative, fear-mongering creep. True. And transgender people should be dealt with compassion and understanding. But that doesn't entitle you to present your own feelings as facts. You don't get to rewrite Biology 101 in your quest for equality. Lying is lying, even if you are looking out for people who really do need support... the ends never justify the means."
The same reader followed up, saying in part: "This is a Fact Check website... FACTS. It’s what makes you better than the opinion shows on Fox News or MSNBC. We count on you guys to check claims; not to peddle your social philosophies. I don't need you to tell me what to think or what is morally correct. I need facts. If we can't count on you, we got nobody looking out for us."