19 Jan 2017

It’s Almost Like PolitiFact Is Biased

Conspiracy 20 Comments

Check out these two PolitiFact items and tell me what you guys think about the scoring.

==> This one on Trump on Obama.

==> This one on Rand Paul on ObamaCare.

20 Responses to “It’s Almost Like PolitiFact Is Biased”

  1. Zack M says:

    Come on , Bob. Politifact clearly isn’t biased at all. Look at the experts they cited in the first one. To fact check a claim by a Republican politician, they balanced out the view of a fellow at the Center for American Progress by also citing…Alan Blinder.

    This might be my all time favorite from Politifact.


  2. Leland Chandler says:

    Definitely biased in my opinion. On Trump on Obama, his statement is entirely true. The quote clearly states in a single “year” therefore quarters would not apply.

  3. David R. Henderson says:

    Wow! It’s mostly true because we can define a single year not to be a calendar year, but, instead, a 12-month period.
    And yes, 70%, the vast majority of those newly covered under Obamacare, got their insurance through Medicaid, but because some of them could have gotten it without Obamacare but didn’t, we will assume that they the mandate had no effect on their decision. In the spirit of their reasoning, Rand Paul’s statement is half true if by half true you mean true.

  4. Josiah says:

    The only defense I can offer of those Politifact articles is that they’ve published lots of fact checks that are even worse.

  5. Major.Freedom says:

    About Politifact:

    1. PolitiFact.com is funded by #NeverTrump billionaire: According to their own site: “Democracy Fund is pleased to announce our support (via a grant to The Times Publishing Company) for PolitiFact, an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on bringing the public the truth in politics.” The Democracy Fund was established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar. In April 2016 Pierre Omidyar donated $100,000 to the Never Trump super PAC.

    2. The Clinton Foundation doctored a key memo on its HIV drug program, and got Politifact to post the FAKE findings as “fact check” to cover up AIDS program failures:


  6. Aisling says:

    I feel for Rand Paul on this. It seems his son was automatically enrolled in Medicaid even though they actually wanted to pay for insurance, and apparently, a lot of people are being automatically enrolled in Kentucky.(1) It’s not just Kentucky. Erin in California reports being automatically signed up for Medicaid after having her baby in a hospital, though she was not unhappy about it.(2) Greg Sullivan, in Massachusetts I believe, was also signed up automatically for Medicaid and he apparently does not want it.(3) Bureaucrats (or perhaps automated computer programs?) signing people up for Medicaid whether they want it or not seems to be a recurring issue.

    In-hospital mortality rates seem to be similar for Medicaid patients as they are for uninsured patients.(4) On top of that, some doctors are more willing to see uninsured patients for free than they are to see Medicaid patients. “The physician explained that the transaction costs in billing Medicaid are so high, that it’s not worth the tiny return. Plus one is exposed to unintentional billing fraud, audits, compliance and perpetual war with formularies and pharmacies. She ran her practice as a small business and kept her support staff to a minimum; she simply could not afford the legal and coding help that this would entail.”(5)

    Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to researchers.(6) According to Makary, “It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care.”(7)

    I’m not sure if there’s any statistics about the prevalence of non-consensual medical “treatment” (who could you report it to anyway?) but it’s enough of an issue that ending it is on the Canary Party’s platform.(8) Additionally, it seems that “healthcare” providers are often reimbursed for non-consensual medical “treatment” by Medicaid and Medicare.(9) The state of Mexico passed a law against school officials forcibly medicating children, but it seems this is the exception rather than the rule.(10)

    Forced medical “treatment” can result in dire outcomes. There’s a story here of someone who was forcibly given medications contraindicated for her condition, resulting in amnesia. She was also physically restrained for not being cooperative with the “treatment”.(11)

    So, at least some portion of the money being spent on Medicaid, which was expanded by Obamacare, is being spent on medical assault and causing unknown amounts of harm. Going back to Politifact, I would emphasize that insurance is not the same as actual healthcare.

    On the bright side, the alternative medical industry is apparently booming.(12)

    1. ABC News. “Rand Paul Obamacare.” Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azk_714dsLo (accessed January 19, 2017).
    2. Erin et al. “Comment section of ‘U.S. ranks low for newborn survival.'” The Chart. http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/31/u-s-ranks-low-for-newborn-survival/comment-page-1/ (accessed January 19, 2017).
    3. Cassidy, Chris. “Unwanted Medicaid? State has him covered!” Boston Herald, April 3, 2015. http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2015/04/unwanted_medicaid_state_has_him_covered (accessed January 19, 2017).
    4. Hasan, O., Orav, E. J., and Hicks, L. S. “Insurance status and hospital care for myocardial infarction, stroke, and pneumonia.” Journal of Hospital Medicine 5(8) (2010): 452-459. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jhm.687/full (accessed January 19, 2017)
    5. Jha, Saurabh. “How Can Patients on Medicaid Possibly Be Worse Off than Those Who Don’t Have Insurance?” The Health Care Blog, December 31, 2013. http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/12/31/how-can-patients-on-medicaid-possibly-be-worse-off-than-those-who-dont-have-insurance/ (accessed January 19, 2017).
    6. Makary, Martin et al. “Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US.” BMJ (2016). http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139 (accessed January 20, 2017).
    7. Cha, Ariana. “Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States.” The Washington Post, May 3, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/03/researchers-medical-errors-now-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-united-states/ (accessed January 20, 2017).
    8. The Canary Party. “What Is The Canary Party?” Canaryparty.org. http://canaryparty.org/ (accessed January 20, 2017).
    9. Tucker, Kathryn. “Unwanted Treatment at the End of Life.” The Sentinel, November 2011. http://www.smpresource.org/Handler.ashx?Item_ID=81821309-ACB7-4AAA-A909-111113D43158 (accessed January 20, 2017).
    10. Newman, Alex. “New Mexico Bans Forced Psychiatric Drugging of Children.” New American, Mary 31, 2016. http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/health-care/item/22882-new-mexico-bans-forced-psychiatric-drugging-of-children (accessed January 20, 2017).
    11. Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff. “Adult with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Medically Kidnapped in Minnesota.” Medical Kidnap, April 25, 2016. http://medicalkidnap.com/2016/04/25/adult-with-multiple-chemical-sensitivities-medically-kidnapped-in-minnesota/ (accessed January 20, 2017).
    12. Mercola, Joseph. “Why Alternative Health Is Booming.” Mercola.com, July 4, 2016. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/04/booming-alternative-health-care.aspx (accessed January 20, 2017).

  7. Jim says:

    It’s like you could dedicate a website to their bias: http://www.politifactbias.com/

    • Bryan W. White says:

      Thanks for the plug, Jim!

      We at PolitiFact Bias took note of that Paul rating thanks to this blog post (by which I suppose I’m admitting that I need to tack on a hat tip).

      PolitiFact really botched that one. They used the 20 million insured denominator while whittling down the 14 million share of it that might have qualified for Medicaid without the ACA. The obvious problem? If some of those 14 million don’t count toward the 14 million then they don’t count toward the 20 million either.

      PolitiFact neglected to adjust the denominator.

      Plus why have they never before checked the claim that 20 million gained insurance thanks to the ACA (Obama! Clinton!)? It’s exactly what you would expect if PolitiFact skews its stories to the left.

  8. Julien Couvreur says:

    PolitiFact needs a new rating: “technically true, but we don’t like it” 😉

  9. Tel says:

    Rand Paul’s original statement:

    The vast majority of people that got insurance under President Obama’s Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, got it through Medicaid.

    Politifact summary in reply:

    Paul said the vast majority of people that got insurance under Obamacare got it through Medicaid. About 20 million people gained coverage and about 14.5 million of those were under Medicaid or CHIP. But a sizeable fraction of that 14.5 million were eligible before the Affordable Care Act took effect. One estimate said about a quarter of them were previously eligible. Another estimate put it as high as half.

    You wonder how they can try to do fact checking, when they cannot even read English. Rand Paul’s statement DOES NOT CONTAIN any claim about who was eligible or ineligible, Rand was simply talking about what actually happened, and he was fully correct.

    For that matter neither do Obamacare supporters start getting nuanced when they cite the growth in numbers of insured people… they don’t talk about eligibility… they cite the raw numbers. Like where do we see that? Well, like right here for example (fact checks of Hillary statements, same author too):


    “He wants to end Obamacare, but has no credible plan to replace it or to help keep costs down. It really wouldn’t be good for our economy, would it, if 20 million people lost their health insurance.”

    There’s no question about him wanting to end Obamacare. Trump’s campaign website says, “On day one of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” As for the 20 million people who might lose their health insurance, that’s based on a March 2016 release from the Health and Human Services Department.

    “The provisions of the Affordable Care Act have resulted in an estimated 20 million people gaining health insurance coverage between the passage of the law in 2010 and early 2016,” according to the press release.

    However, it wouldn’t necessarily follow that all of those people would be without health insurance if Obamacare ended. As for Trump’s replacement plan, the details are vague.

    Ohh, looky here! No mention of Medicaid, no mention of eligibility, by Politifact’s own rules, must be only half true at best. But with plenty of people making statements and completely ignoring the whole Medicaid component; when you consider the context, Rand Paul is perfectly correct to deliver a short, punchy statement on CNN that fills in what others are not saying. The whole Medicaid thing is very relevant because if Trump scraps Obamacare totally (with no replacement) but leaves Medicaid as is, then at most 5.5 million stand to lose healthcare. That’s a big difference from 20 million.

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