PolitiFact has a Lean Left bias.
Fact checking sites often display bias in what stories they choose to fact check, as well as how they interpret information. Often, fact check outlets will interpret information for the reader, drawing a conclusion rather than just giving the facts and allowing the reader to decide the meaning for themselves.
Independent Reviews: 2020 & 2021
Numerous independent reviews by AllSides found that Politifact's bias is Lean Left.
In July 2021, PolitiFact issued a "fact-check" with the headline "Biden, Harris distrusted Trump with COVID-19 vaccines, not the vaccines themselves." The piece argued that videos of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris expressing skepticism/hesitancy about a COVID-19 vaccine, should it be developed under Trump, did not constitute general vaccine hesitancy but rather, distrust of Trump. This "fact check" constitutes an interpretation of Biden and Harris' remarks, not a fact check. A fact check would have simply included the quotes from Biden and Harris, and allowed readers to interpret the meaning for themselves.
In a widely-criticized piece published April 2016, Politifact said it is false to describe a person by their biological sex if that person identifies with another sex. Assessing a presidential campaign ad by Ted Cruz, Politifact wrote that “it’s not accurate to say that transgender women are men.” Following criticism, the website issued an editor's note and then changed the article to state, "“it’s not entirely accurate for Cruz to define a transgender woman as ‘a grown man pretending to be a woman.’”
Coronavirus Lab Leak Theory
On May 17, 2021, amid calls for a deeper investigation of the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic started with a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China, Politifact removed a fact check from its database in which it had referred to the hypothesis as a "debunked conspiracy theory."
Third-Party Accusations of Bias
In July 2018, 18% of Politifact's "fact" checks were actually checks of opinions, reports Investor's Business Daily, citing RealClearPolitics' Fact Check Review (a site that fact checks fact checkers).
A Capital Research Center piece about "Dishonest Fact Checkers" claims, "A Media Research Center analysis in June found that Trump received the “False”/“Mostly False”/ “Pants on Fire” label from PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter 77 percent of the time. Clinton received just “False”/“Mostly False” for 26 percent of her statements (Investors Business Daily, June 30, 2016)." AllSides has not independently examined Politifact's Truth-O-Meter labels.
PolitiFact is a fact-checking website focused on American politics. It is owned by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. PolitiFact's website describes its mission to "give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy." PolitiFact's "Truth-O-Meter" labels claims as "True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False" or "Pants on Fire." "PolitiFact.com is a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, in which reporters and editors from the Times and affiliated media outlets "fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups," according to its Wikipedia page.