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Redskins, the patent office, zero complaints: Politifact vs. Conservative Media

Grim17

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Politifact recently decided to evaluate and rule on the following story/claim:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "received zero complaints" about the Washington Redskins name.

It is the one and only story that Politifact has fact checked that evaluates the validity of the "zero complaints" claim and just so there are no misunderstandings, let me make some things clear:

1. Evaluating that claim is legitimate and completely valid.
2. This issue is a political one and their ruling has political implications for those on both sides of the Redskins issue.
3. This review also has the potential to negatively effect the credibility of certain conservative media organizations.

Politifact ruled that the claim was "False", but I have concluded that their evaluation displays a clear liberal bias on their part, and does so in several different ways.


Perception

Here is the headline from Politifact's front page:


politifact1.jpg

As you see they rate the "received zero complaints" claim as false, and use their subheading to further substantiate that rating by saying "Except for the complaint that started this case". (take note of the subheading, as it will come into play in the future)

People arriving at the Politifact website who haven't yet read the actual article, or who choose not to read it, are sent a very clear, cut-and-dry message through that headline. It tells them that both the story and the claim are false and the patent office did in fact receive public complaints about the Redskins name, prior to making their ruling.


Political implications

That headline and subsequent ruling bode well for those on the political left who believe the name is offensive and should be changed, and harms the reputation and credibility of the Washington Times, since they are the ones who broke the story. It also harms the reputation and credibility of the media outlets and conservative pundits who chose to run with the story.


Methodology - Sources used to evaluate the claim

The original story which made headlines on July 1st was titled "Patent office did’t receive a single public complaint before stripping Redskins trademark" and was published by the conservative leaning newspaper The Washington Times. You would think that if Politifact wanted to fact check the story and the "zero complaints" claim, they would use the original article that was written by the Washington Times to do so... but that isn't what they did.

Politifact decided they would fact check the claim by evaluating the opinions written about the story on the internet by various conservative bloggers, rather than using the actual article written by the newspaper that originally broke the story in the first place. The reason they chose to evaluate the claim in this way, will become clear shortly.



Politifact's ruling and the flaws behind it:


Conservative blog posts smell a scandal in the cancellation of the Washington Redskins trademark, pointing out that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "received zero complaints" about it before an administrative law court ruled in June.

The case was opened because someone complained -- so that assertion is wrong on its face.

But even that aside, the post is misleading in suggesting that public comments are part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office process when they are not.

When people have a problem with patents and trademarks and want them removed, they file formal complaints, prove their standing in the case, pay a fee, and provide evidence to support their case.

In other words, they do exactly what the five plaintiffs in this case did here.

We rate the claim False.


So Politifact rules the claim that the patent office "received zero complaints" as "False" based on 2 reasons. That the 5 Native American's who filed the legal challenge qualify as a "complaint" and because they claim an opinion posted on the Conservative Tribune blog misled readers by suggesting that public comments are part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office process.

The first reason is flawed because it's public knowledge that 5 Native Americans filed a formal complaint challenging the renewal of the trademark, which led to the USPTO review in the first place. Plus the blog even linked to the original story they were commenting on, which made that perfectly clear... So it's obvious that both the blog and the Washington Times were saying "zero complaints other than the formal complaint that started all of this", because they assumed their readers were fully knowledgeable of the controversy, including the USTPO ruling and the factors that led to it... This is a case of Politifact choosing to omit logic and common sense.

The second reason isn't flawed, it's just flat out incorrect, as well as being totally irrelevant to the validity of the quote. Nowhere in the post made by the Conservative Tribune blog, in the post they quoted from the Weasel Zippers blog, or in the original story from the Washington Times, was it ever implied in any way that "public comments are part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office process". That is a completely false claim by Politifact... but even if bought into their assertion, it would still have nothing to do with whether the "zero complaints" claim was true or not. Their headline and subheading on their front page simply says that the claim that the patent office "received zero complaints" about the Washington Redskins name, is false, and any implications based on that claim are totally irrelevant.


(continued)
 
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Grim17

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Conclusions:

1. Politifact rating that story/claim as "false", is itself false. One of their two conclusion requires a parsing of words that defies logic, is devoid of common sense and ignores the content of the original story, while the other conclusion is a falsehood that is not supported by any of the 3 sources they used to render their ruling.

2. Claiming that "The case was opened because someone complained -- so that assertion is wrong on its face" would not have been possible if they evaluated the original story, because it explained how the 5 Native Americans were responsible for the trademark being reviewed. It would have made their conclusion an absolute joke. Evaluating the claim through an opinion on a conservative blog however, allowed them to use a technicality to parse words and make that claim, because the blog never mentioned the 5 Native Americans... they only linked to the original story that did mention them.

3. It's obvious that Politifact was aware that saying "The case was opened because someone complained -- so that assertion is wrong on its face" was extremely weak, which is why they tried to strengthen it by falsely claiming that the blog article was misleading, when it wasn't.

________________________________________________________________

After reading the Politifact article and the 3 stories they used to make their ruling, it's obvious that their ruling was bogus. They took a story that looked bad for the political left that should have been ruled "Mostly true" or "True", and deemed it "False". On their front page, they falsely led their readers into believing that people had in fact complained about the Redskins name, and that the entire story that Washington Times published was a lie, bringing into question the credibility of other Conservative media outlets, conservative bloggers and conservative pundits who ran with the story. The "liberal biased" icing on the cake is the fact that Politifact chose to evaluate the story through the opinions published by conservative bloggers, rather than just evaluating the original story itself, because that was the only way they could avoid having to rule that the claim and the story were in fact true.

Liberal bias... CONFIRMED
 

StillBallin75

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I've seen this article in the Washington Times mentioned multiple times. Why is it relevant how many "public complaints" the name garnered? The patents were revoked as part of a lawsuit. Why even mention the lack of "public complaints" when they are clearly not part of the process to begin with?
 

iguanaman

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I've seen this article in the Washington Times mentioned multiple times. Why is it relevant how many "public complaints" the name garnered? The patents were revoked as part of a lawsuit. Why even mention the lack of "public complaints" when they are clearly not part of the process to begin with?
Apparently, the Indians who sued and won the case don't count as people? The question is why they can't see that the term "redskins" is derogatory to the Indian people? After all it was us whites that made it that way to begin with.
 

Grim17

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I've seen this article in the Washington Times mentioned multiple times. Why is it relevant how many "public complaints" the name garnered? The patents were revoked as part of a lawsuit. Why even mention the lack of "public complaints" when they are clearly not part of the process to begin with?
Their point was that based on the media coverage of this, and the level of outrage being portrayed by them, you would think that the patent office would have received stacks of complaints about the name... But they didn't...

Being "part of the process" has nothing to do with this story.
 

Grim17

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Apparently, the Indians who sued and won the case don't count as people?
I knew it wouldn't take long for that BS claim to appear... I fully expected it before we got to page 2.

The original story from the Washington Times includes the following:

The board made its ruling last month based on a legal challenge from Amanda Blackhorse and four others, who petitioned the USPTO against the Redskins, calling the team name offensive to American Indians. After the ruling, she called the decision a “great victory for Native Americans and all Americans,” saying the team’s name was “racist and derogatory.”​

So, do you think that they would say "zero complaints" and include that paragraph saying the ruling took place because of someone complaining, if they were trying to pull a fast one? lol

Use a little common sense man.
 

iguanaman

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I knew it wouldn't take long for that BS claim to appear... I fully expected it before we got to page 2.

The original story from the Washington Times includes the following:

The board made its ruling last month based on a legal challenge from Amanda Blackhorse and four others, who petitioned the USPTO against the Redskins, calling the team name offensive to American Indians. After the ruling, she called the decision a “great victory for Native Americans and all Americans,” saying the team’s name was “racist and derogatory.”​

So, do you think that they would say "zero complaints" and include that paragraph saying the ruling took place because of someone complaining, if they were trying to pull a fast one? lol

Use a little common sense man.
It is not common sense for someone with a complaint to sue? I think that is what you do when you have a complaint.
 

Jesse Booth

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Since all redskins memorabilia will increase in value when the team changes their name, I hope that this liberal agenda succeeds, so I can make a ton of money off of this in a few decades! Let's hear it for the 1% (the 1% of course being liberal rage junkies who make mountains out of nonexistent mold hills)!!!!!!
 

Grim17

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It is not common sense for someone with a complaint to sue? I think that is what you do when you have a complaint.
I didn't say it was... I said it's common knowledge that the 5 Native Americans lodged a complaint, because it was the bases for the board reviewing whether or not to renew the trademark in the first place. Anyone who would have read any of those stories in the first place would have known that to begin with, or would have clicked the link to the original story in order to understand the controversy, therefore also knowing that information.

The point is, the writers of those blogs knew about the complaint that started this, knew that their reader would know about the complaint that started this, therefore it wasn't necessary to say "zero complaints... not including those 5 Indians"
 

GhostlyJoe

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Oh my gosh. Politifact is just pointing out sloppy reporting. What truly defies common sense here is a multi-post, mock-academic diatribe against some media blog parsing words. I only read the whole OP out of disbelief.
 

Kobie

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I'd saw a lawsuit counts as a pretty big ****ing complaint.

Yet another exercise in persecution complex masturbation.
 

Grim17

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I'd saw a lawsuit counts as a pretty big ****ing complaint.

Yet another exercise in persecution complex masturbation.
Problem with that Kobie, was explained on post #1.

I'll warn you though, It requires logic and common sense to grasp.
 

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Since all redskins memorabilia will increase in value when the team changes their name, I hope that this liberal agenda succeeds, so I can make a ton of money off of this in a few decades! Let's hear it for the 1% (the 1% of course being liberal rage junkies who make mountains out of nonexistent mold hills)!!!!!!
they are not changing their name and they have this ruling on appeal in which they will win like they have won every time before.
 

VanceMack

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Apparently, the Indians who sued and won the case don't count as people? The question is why they can't see that the term "redskins" is derogatory to the Indian people? After all it was us whites that made it that way to begin with.
Because it is NOT derogatory to 'the Indian people'...it is derogatory to a few Native Americans and a bunch of rebel without a clue liberals.
 

GhostlyJoe

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They are?

Where does it say that here?

View attachment 67169743
The lawsuit is a complaint. Simple. The bloggers' implication is that the Redskins name is a non-issue because of a dearth of complaints. The suit undermines that point. This isn't really an issue that falls along traditional political lines, either. So the idea that Politifact is trying to forward a liberal agenda here doesn't really fit with the subject matter.
 

GhostlyJoe

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Because it is NOT derogatory to 'the Indian people'...it is derogatory to a few Native Americans and a bunch of rebel without a clue liberals.
... and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So you've staked out a position on this issue based on not liking liberals?
 

VanceMack

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... and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So you've staked out a position on this issue based on not liking liberals?
Oh no...Ive quite clearly defined why I have staked out a position on this subject numerous times. part of that reason includes the 90% of Indians that have said they arent offended by it, and those that think it is beyond ****ing moronic that with all of the very real problems facing the Indian nation THIS is the kinda **** people get spun up over. You must have missed that.
 

GhostlyJoe

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Oh no...Ive quite clearly defined why I have staked out a position on this subject numerous times. part of that reason includes the 90% of Indians that have said they arent offended by it, and those that think it is beyond ****ing moronic that with all of the very real problems facing the Indian nation THIS is the kinda **** people get spun up over. You must have missed that.
It's certainly not an issue dear to me, but I can understand why some find it offensive. I'm a Cleveland Indians fan, and protests have been routine for decades. The NFL's claim to tradition is certainly far more tenuous than the complainants', so I would say change the darn name already and end the debate.
 
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VanceMack

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It's certainly not an issue dear to me, but I can understand why some find it offensive. I'm a Cleveland Indians fan, and protests have been routine for decades. The NFL's claim to tradition is certainly far more tenuous than the complainants', so I would say change the darn name already and end the debate.
Did you know the name 'Chiefs' is also offensive and that the 'plaintiffs' have declared their intent to target that name next, as well as the Indians, Braves, and every other Indian related name (except of course, the Indian schools with the mascots named 'Redskins').

Some people object to having a few bitter angry hate filled tyrants dictate life to others. And as it was proven that the Mascot and Logo were both designed by an Indian and approved of by the council of Indian chiefs...maybe its time for the vast vast vast majority of people, Indian and paleface alike, to tell those bitter angry hate filled little people to shut up and color.
 

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I've seen this article in the Washington Times mentioned multiple times. Why is it relevant how many "public complaints" the name garnered? The patents were revoked as part of a lawsuit. Why even mention the lack of "public complaints" when they are clearly not part of the process to begin with?

A fair question.

It doesn't change the FACT that there is a difference between an official public complaint filed to the agency and a legal suit fired against the team that is heard by the agency.

This once again highlights my issues with politifact and those who try to rely on it as some absolute resource. They are wholly inconsistent with the manner and method of interpreting and assuming what people mean by what they say, and then judging based on that. It's clear from the Washington times piece that the headline is speaking about officially submitted public complaints, not "complaints" in a broad sense of the word...yet they don't give the washington times the benefit of the doubt, and judge them based on that, which they give other people at times.
 

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Did you know the name 'Chiefs' is also offensive and that the 'plaintiffs' have declared their intent to target that name next, as well as the Indians, Braves, and every other Indian related name (except of course, the Indian schools with the mascots named 'Redskins').

Some people object to having a few bitter angry hate filled tyrants dictate life to others. And as it was proven that the Mascot and Logo were both designed by an Indian and approved of by the council of Indian chiefs...maybe its time for the vast vast vast majority of people, Indian and paleface alike, to tell those bitter angry hate filled little people to shut up and color.
Bitter, angry and hate-filled? Based on what? I might be inclined to agree if there were actually something at stake here. Rebranding a team is hardly unprecedented, nor is it likely to permanently mar Washington's franchise. But again, I'm not that concerned either way.
 

Zyphlin

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Bitter, angry and hate-filled? Based on what? I might be inclined to agree if there were actually something at stake here. Rebranding a team is hardly unprecedented, nor is it likely to permanently mar Washington's franchise. But again, I'm not that concerned either way.
Rebranding a franchise is not unprecedented. But then again, that's like saying shutting down a business isn't unprecedented in relation to something like walmart suddenly closing up shop.

There is only one other instance in modern (post 1950) American professional sports where a team has undergone a substantial name change (not devil rays to rays for instance) while:

- Not moving to a new city
- Not returning to an old name
- Has had its name in the corresponding city for multiple decades

And that was also in Washington, with the bullets. If someone can come up with another one I'd love to hear it, but I'm not aware of them at this time. And the bullets, as anyone from DC can tell you, can not even be compared to the Redskins in this area or across the US. Assuming that the Redskins will follow a similar model as the Titans or the Ravens, for example, is rather foolish as you're looking at a VERY different situation.
 

GhostlyJoe

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Rebranding a franchise is not unprecedented. But then again, that's like saying shutting down a business isn't unprecedented in relation to something like walmart suddenly closing up shop.

There is only one other instance in modern (post 1950) American professional sports where a team has undergone a substantial name change (not devil rays to rays for instance) while:

- Not moving to a new city
- Not returning to an old name
- Has had its name in the corresponding city for multiple decades

And that was also in Washington, with the bullets. If someone can come up with another one I'd love to hear it, but I'm not aware of them at this time. And the bullets, as anyone from DC can tell you, can not even be compared to the Redskins in this area or across the US. Assuming that the Redskins will follow a similar model as the Titans or the Ravens, for example, is rather foolish as you're looking at a VERY different situation.
Pelicans. I think it's safe to say the fans, the NFL and Daniel Snyder would all be negatively affected by the change, but it would be short term and, in the long run, not a determining factor in the team's success athletically or financially.
 
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