A few weeks ago, I complained to Politifact because they rated a Michele Bachmann statement “Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs” (cue ominous music) as Barely True.
For the record, Bachmann doesn’t have the best track record with Politifact. I’m guess the one “True” statement is “I am a crazy wacko who must be stopped.”
I was so upset with Politifact’s rating that I was forced to comment (I know, me an my comments. They get me in trouble every time)
I really take issue with how you rated Michele Bachmann’s statement that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs.
It is wrong to give it a Barely True rating and you are giving ammunition to those who oppose universal health insurance. While it is true that 800,000 people may change their work habits once they have access to universal health insurance, that is NOT the same as Obamacare “killing” 800,000 jobs.
Just as you stated in your article, I know MANY people who work solely to provide health insurance to their family. If they had another means of obtaining affordable health care without working in their position, they would gladly have accepted it. I am a freelance training consultant and for YEARS my husband worked jobs that he did not particularly like JUST so he could give our family health insurance. Unfortunately, my husband was let go from his company 90 weeks ago and we’ve been barely covering our COBRA payments. We now have private health insurance that is more expensive than our other insurance and offers significantly few benefits.
If people are able to leave jobs because they will be able to get health insurance through a universal plan, that is a GOOD thing. When Politifact gives a “Barely True” rating to Michele Bachmann it gives credence to her and other Republican’s arguments that Obamacare is a BAD thing.
Imagine how much BETTER the economy could be if people who don’t want to work, were able to quit, opening up those jobs to individuals who WERE looking for work.
I think you investigated Michele’s statement accurately but your final rating should have been False.
Not entirely satisfied with my letter, I started considering Politfact’s rating system and a few days later, decided to share more of my opinion.
I’ve been following PolitiFact for several years now and often use it as a source when my conservative friends believe ridiculous arguments about how the government is acting on behalf of its constituents.
However, I’m starting to see that when Republicans make outrageous statements that are MOSTLY False, they are receiving a “Barely True” rating. Most of the time it is because they cite a fact that is true but then impose their skewed viewpoint on the fact.
I think you would provide a better service to your readers if your ratings were adjusted to more accurately reflect the “Barely True” rating.
In your reports, something that is 100% true is given a “True” ratings while something 100% false (but not crazy) is given a “False” rating.
If the rating just below “True” is “Barely True” then the rating just above “False” should be renamed “Mostly False” or “Half False” in order to accurately reflect the contents of the statement.
Leaving the “True” in the results gives readers who support the more conservative politicians and candidates the false impression that there is truth in the person’s statement and reinforces their belief that the candidate and his/her views are accurate when in fact MOST of what they say is inaccurate.
So…guess what happened?
Apparently, they are actually considering retiring the “Barely True” rating and giving reports the “Mostly False” rating they deserve.
Just doing my part to change the world.