In a July 29 PolitiFact Ohio story celebrating PolitiFact Ohio’s two-year anniversary, Tom Feran reported that a total of 36 statements had been ruled “Pants on Fire” since launch. Feran didn’t note that liberal journalists had slapped Josh Mandel with nearly 14 percent of all the state’s “Pants on Fire” rulings, with the two most-recent written and researched by Feran himself.
After assigning Mandel the “Pants on Fire crown” in a separate July 29 piece printed in the Plain Dealer, Tom Feran gave Mandel another “Pants on Fire” ruling two weeks later. Interestingly, PolitiFact Ohio has heaped “Pants on Fire” rulings onto Mandel at an increasing rate as polls show Mandel’s prospects improving.
Media Trackers reported on August 16 that Feran gave Mandel three “Pants on Fire” rulings in the two months from mid-June to mid-August. That’s three times as many “Pants on Fire” rulings as Brown has received in two years, and one more “Pants on Fire” than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been given by PolitiFact in five years.
On Sept. 2, Ted Diadiun responded to a Plain Dealer reader complaint that PolitiFact Ohio’s trademark “Truth-O-Meter” flagged far more Republican than Democrat statements as untrue. “The PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter is an arbitrary rating that has the often impossible job of summing up an arduously reported, complicated and nuanced issue in one or two words,” Diadiun explained. “Ignore it,” Diadiun continued. “Read the story, and you will have enough facts to draw your own conclusions.”
Feran did not respond to a request for comment, but removed references to the Plain Dealer and PolitiFact Ohio from his Twitter account days after being contacted by Media Trackers. Though editor Robert Higgs confirmed that the @TomFeran account on Twitter is owned by his employee, he did not respond to additional questions.