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Maddow corrects PolitiFact’s ‘half truth’: In 29 states, you can be fired for being LGBT

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:55 EDT
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On Tuesday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow addressed a statement by athlete Martina Navratilova that in 29 U.S. states, employers can fire a worker for being LGBT. The “fact-checking” agency PolitiFact rated Navratilova’s statement as being less than truthful, but in fact, it is true.

In many ways, LGBT people have seen landmark strides in the struggle toward equal citizenship with heterosexuals. This week, Rhode Island and Delaware legalized same sex marriage. This news came on the heels of last week’s revelation by NBA player Jason Collins that he’s gay.

However, as tennis pro Navratilova said in an interview on Sunday with CBS television, there is still a long way to go.

“We still don’t have equal rights,” she said. “In 29 states, you can be fired not just for being gay, but if the employer thinks you’re gay, you could still get fired.”

After playing the clip, Maddow said, “Upon hearing her explain it on a Sunday morning TV show, a group called PolitiFact decided to check it out. ‘This thing this person on television is saying about policy in the American states, could this thing be true? We are on the case!’”

Maddow has had run-ins with PolitiFact before. For a group that presents itself as a fact-checking organization, PolitiFact has a pretty loose relationship with objective truths.

In this instance, Navratilova was correct. In 29 U.S. states there are no protections for LGBT people written into the states’ non-discrimination laws. Without the passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), there are currently no federal protections, either, meaning that you can in fact get fired for being LGBT.

And on the research and facts, PolitiFact is correct on this issue, and yet they chose to give Navratilova’s statement a “Half True” rating on their “Truthometer.”

“This is why the ‘fact-checking’ is pointless when we need it to mean something,” said Maddow. PolitiFact, she said, “exists and has branded themselves arbitrator of fact” and yet, “they’re terrible at fact checking.”

“The statement you were fact checking is true,” she continued, addressing PolitiFact. “Until somebody figures out how to sue you to retrieve the meaning of the word ‘fact’ from the dark and airless hole you stuffed it into, then it is not okay to make this stuff up.”

“You are truly terrible,” she concluded. “Fact-checking has to count for something and PolitiFact, you are ruining it for everyone.”

Watch the clip, embedded below via MSNBC:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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