PolitiFact had another bad week fact checking, and @nextinstinct tweaked Chapman (@fawfulfan) about it. Chapman responded with the following:
@nextinstinct @ZebraFactCheck @PolitiFactBias @PolitiFact name one of their tweets today which is factually incorrect.I (@ZebraFactCheck) answered with this:
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) April 4, 2014
@fawfulfan @nextinstinct @ZebraFactCheck @PolitiFactBias @PolitiFact Try the Rubio one (falling short on signup goals).Mine was a specific answer to Chapman's challenge. He asked for an example of a factually incorrect tweet, and I gave him one. This is PolitiFact's tweet about Rubio:
— Bryan W. White (@ZebraFactCheck) April 4, 2014
.@marcorubio says the Affordable Care Act is falling short of its signup goals. Mostly False. http://t.co/PKkpqCvABxWhat was it Rubio said? Here's how PolitiFact quoted it in the body of its fact check (bold emphasis added):
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) April 4, 2014
"I mean, the purpose of Obamacare was not to get 7 million people or 6 million people, or whatever the number now is, to sign up on a website," Rubio said. "The purpose of Obamacare, according to them, was to get more people insurance. And by all accounts, it's going to fall woefully short. You're still going to have 30-some-odd million people in this country uninsured."We posit that any intelligent person ought to be able to consider Rubio's statement and see that he does not say that Obamacare is falling short of its 7 million signup goal. He's saying it's falling short of its goals for lowering the number of uninsured Americans. PolitiFact's tweet about Rubio is false.
We wanted to know if Rubio’s claim was correct that the health care law was falling short of its goals.
Chapman doesn't see it.
He's posted a fair number of tweets in response. He said it's true the goal was 7 million and 7.1 million signed up. He said PolitiFact was simply checking "Rubio's claim that ACA's signup goal was 30 million in 1st yr." He said I didn't read the article. He said Rubio was comparing apples to oranges. He said I confuse the long run with the short run. It appears he thinks we're somehow moving goalposts.
Chapman said plenty of things, many of which ought to embarrass him. And he doesn't address the specific problem we identified with PolitiFact's tweet. We've reminded him that Twitter is a poor venue for debate and have offered him commentary space in response to our post about the dispute.
Our argument is simple. When Rubio says the purpose of Obamacare was not to get 7 million people to sign up on a website but rather to get more people insured, we say Rubio is distinguishing between the 7 million signups and lowering the number of uninsured Americans. When Rubio says the ACA will fall short of its goals for lowering the number of uninsured persons, we assert that Rubio is not talking about exchange signups, which reports indicate are mostly people who already had insurance, but rather he's talking about the ACA's goals for lowering the number of uninsured Americans. We say that when Rubio says "30-some-odd million" will remain uninsured he's talking about the number of uninsured persons, not the total number of exchange signups. Nor was Rubio referring to any goal of 30 million signups, contrary to Chapman's assertion.
Considering the above, we think it's perfectly obvious that PolitiFact tweeted falsely when it claimed Rubio said the ACA was falling short of its signup goals. Rubio was saying the 7 million goal for exchange signups is hardly relevant to the ACA's central goal of lowering the number of uninsured Americans. Therefore, this serves as a good example to offer Chapman when he asks for an April 4 PolitiFact tweet that was factually incorrect.
PolitiFact could have accurately claimed Rubio said the ACA was falling short of its goals for lowering the number of uninsured Americans. That would have been a fact. But that's not what PolitiFact tweeted.
We think all of this is pretty obvious, and we stand ready to defend our view with facts and logic against whatever argument Chapman is able to bring.
Reply below, Chapman.