What happens when factcheckers become tools of a Presidential campaign? They step into the place of actual journalism, even when that step puts them squarely at odds with investigative reporters who actually report facts sometimes.
The Washington Post’s recent article on Bain Capital and Mitt Romney’s role in outsourcing jobs to India and elsewhere confirmed what the Obama campaign had been attacking all along — Bain Capital was in the business of making money, not creating jobs, rendering Mitt Romney’s claim that he knows how to create jobs bogus. Despite the pearl-clutching Democrats who whined about attacks on Bain, there’s no question that ads like the one at the top of this post are effective in critical swing states.
Those ads aren’t effective because they tell lies. They’re effective because they ring true, and the people most affected by Bain moneymaking ventures actually live in those states.
The attacks have so upset the Romney campaign that they actually sat down with the Washington Post in order to strong-arm them into changing their story so that all of the Bain decisions impacting workers happened after Romney left as an active Bain partner. That story stood in direct contradiction to the claim of Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler, leaving Romney with the sole option of using factcheckers to dispute the Obama campaign’s claims.
Brooks Jackson of Factcheck.org was happy to comply with the Romney desire to change that story to one more favorable to Romney last week. After being challenged by the Obama camp, Jackson followed up with a subjective hissy fit, calling the Obama campaign’s claims “all wet.”
Jackson’s claims hinge on an assumption that just doesn’t pass the smell test. In order to accept that Factcheck.org’s facts are actually facts, one must accept this: Events occurring after Romney mounted his dressage horse to save the Olympics are completely disconnected and unrelated to the time when Romney was firmly in control of the reins at Bain Capital.
Looks like Fleckman is walking back some of his ownership of the right-wing talking points. Yet, they’re still factually incorrect.
When I published my original post calling him out on them, I was accused of attributing modified talking points to him. Let’s get that factual error out of the way first. If you read my post, I don’t even mention Fleckman until my paragraph where I refer to him as the originator, with a link back to his original posts. My Google document debunking them was entitled “Rebuttal to Fleckman’s lies”, which could have been viewed as containing original quotes, so I modified my title and added a link back to his original post for clarification.
Accusations notwithstanding, his effort to correct Politifact (who he evidently accuses of lifting his posts and modifying them) still contains factual errors. Major factual errors. Here’s an example:
ME – Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill – YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!! So if the Government sets limits for annual out of pocket spending for an individual and for a family then the Government has to control costs for the health services delivered. How? Through rationing of those services. Politifact – I believe I’m owed a TRUE.
Your health care is rationed now. It’s simply rationed by insurance companies. But factually, there’s a huge leap between setting caps on out-of-pocket costs and saying “the government has to control costs for the health services delivered”. It’s equally simple to say “you’ll have to buy supplemental insurance for services exceeding basic services.” Neither statement is fact. It’s simply a projection of a might, maybe, could be.
This is the fact: The House version of the health care reform bill calls for a cap on out-of-pocket expenses. That’s all. Projecting beyond that is writing fiction as fact.
There are other misstatements in Fleckman’s rebuttal to Politifact, but correcting them belongs in a stand-alone document, which I will prepare and link here.
What everyone needs to understand about health care reform and the House proposal is pretty simple: It was not crafted out of some evil intent to rob you, hurt you, invade you, or take away your livelihood. It was crafted after open meetings with all interested parties, is imperfect, less than what we should be doing, but more than what we have right now. It contains eight basic consumer protections that help us all.
Unfortunately, the insurance companies don’t want you to know that.