PolitiFact ripped for fact-check comparing Super Bowl to schools in masking debate: 'Got to be kidding me'

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NJ mom calls out ‘double standard’ as celebs go maskless at Super Bowl LVI

New Jersey mother Sabrina Chacon says it was hard to watch celebrities enjoy the game without masks while her son is required to wear a mask during speech therapy.

PolitiFact faced criticism after its recent fact-check challenged those criticizing school mask mandates while a number of fans who packed into Los Angeles’s SoFi Stadium went maskless during last Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI.

The fact-check singled out a particular Facebook user whose post was flagged to “combat false news and misinformation on its news feed.” 

“If 70,048 unmasked fans can gather for the #SuperBowl in LA, kids should go unmasked in school, churches should be packed, fear should be GONE from Americans,” the user wrote in the post.

PolitiFact’s fact-check claimed the demand to unmask America’s school children now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic did not consider the bigger picture of safety protocols enacted at this year’s Super Bowl.

“A post said ‘if 70,048 unmasked fans’ could gather for the Super Bowl ‘kids should go unmasked in school.’ The post ignored the safety rules in place at the stadium, which included a mix of mask, vaccination and testing requirements,” PolitiFact tweeted with a link to their fact-check.

Feb. 13. 2022: Fans start to pack SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
(Fox News/Ryan Gaydos)

“What we found is that the post, and others like it, ignore the safety rules that were in effect at SoFi stadium,” the outlet wrote. “They also gloss over important differences in the risk of COVID-19 transmission between an indoor-outdoor stadium filled with fans bound by the Super Bowl’s entry rules and school buildings, where testing is not always required and some children are not vaccinated.”

“In accordance with Los Angeles County’s mask policies, Super Bowl attendees were required to wear masks “​​at all times within SoFi stadium unless actively eating or drinking,” the NFL’s website said. “Fans were given KN95 masks when entering the stadium, and masks were mandatory for everyone inside the stadium over 2 years old, regardless of vaccination status.”

Over 70,000 fans filled SoFi stadium as they cheered on the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at last Sunday’s game, marking the first major return for Super Bowl spectators since the start of the pandemic after last year’s game hosted a hybrid audience of 25,000 fans and 30,000 cardboard cutouts.

The astounding capacity at this year’s game sparked debate over whether Americans have anything to fear from COVID-19, with conversations lingering around incessant mask mandates imposed on school-aged children across the U.S.

Children wear masks and wait for U.S. President Joe Biden to visit their pre-Kindergarten class at East End Elementary School to highlight the early childhood education proposal in his Build Back Better infrastructure agenda in North Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S. October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Critics noted that many high profile celebrities seemed to have no issue going maskless at the game.

“Here’s a video of every celebrity without a mask during the Super Bowl. But every kid in California will have to be wearing them tomorrow in school. They must all be holding their breaths the entire game,” radio host Clay Travis tweeted with a corresponding video.

“People can go maskless at the Super Bowl, and yet we have to wear them in school?” another user wrote, heading off a tweet about high school students who decided to protest school mask mandates amid the alleged hypocrisy.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 27: A teacher gives a lesson to masked students in their classroom at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on September 27, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

“Many fans were seen without masks, but several steps were taken to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including a mask requirement,” PolitiFact added.

PolitiFact’s fact-check garnered criticism across social media platforms, with several accusing the outlet of bias, dishonesty and of “twisting facts.”

“It’s not like @PolitiFact has any credibility,” NewsBuster’s Dan Gainor tweeted. “And this is why.”

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