Friday, July 29, 2016

Zebra Fact Check: "Conversion therapy, Mike Pence and PolitiFact California"

Alternate title: Is PolitiFact California stupid II 

Very shortly after publishing "Is PolitiFact California stupid: Mike Pence and the mythical denial of evolution," we ran across another nonsensical fact-checking attempt from PolitiFact California. I gave it fact check treatment at Zebra Fact Check.

This time PolitiFact California looked at a statement from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom said Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence wanted to divert tax money to conversion therapy. PolitiFact said the claim was "True."

But where was the evidence? PolitiFact tried to rely on this part of Pence's campaign website from his 2000 run for the House of Representatives:
• Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
Is the problem obvious? It should be:
PolitiFact California performed this part of the fact check adequately, establishing a definition early in its fact check:
Conversion therapy is a controversial practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight.
PolitiFact’s definition clarifies the key issue for this fact check: If “conversion therapy” seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation, does it count as “conversion therapy” to seek to change a person’s sexual behavior?
It's worth noting that the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney saw the problem before PolitiFact California published its fact check. Not that PolitiFact California would notice.

In context, Pence was talking about government money distributed to organizations providing care for HIV+ persons. Pence's line about directing resources to organizations helping people who want to change their sexual behavior likely serves as a counterpoint to his preceding line: Pence was making a contrast to organizations that encourage risky sexual behavior.

PolitiFact left out the context of the Ryan White Care Act.

And PolitiFact took "sexual behavior" to mean "sexual orientation" without explanation.

It's another fact-checking train-wreck for PolitiFact California. Visit Zebra Fact Check for more details.

8 comments:

  1. Your argument is flawed. Conversion therapy is just one of the methods for the sexual behavior change. Let's say, we want to support all electronic devices, of course this policy includes the cell phone jammers. So the Fed's money should support the conversion therapy according to Pence's proposal.

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  2. J8CH wrote:

    **Your argument is flawed.**

    I don't see any evidence in your comment that you follow our argument.

    **Conversion therapy is just one of the methods for the sexual behavior change.**

    Okay. So if you tell your sexual partner that you want the two of you to change your sexual behavior, that means you advocate conversion therapy.

    **Let's say, we want to support all electronic devices, of course this policy includes the cell phone jammers. So the Fed's money should support the conversion therapy according to Pence's proposal.**

    Yes. Just like you suggesting a change in sexual behavior to your partner shows that you support conversion therapy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please don't insult our intelligence. Anyone reading this KNOWS what the intent is. He states "...ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that CELEBRATE and ENCOURAGE the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus." What organization would actually CELEBRATE participating in behaviors that would encourage SPREADING HIV? Is there a needle sharing club out there asking for federal assistance? A blood letting society that shares bodily fluids? A sex club that advocates for sex acts without condoms or protection against HIV?The "behaviors" that he's talking about people "celebrating" are homosexual acts and taken in that context he's talking about conversion therapy. The Ryan White Act was not passed to discriminate and only fund programs based on HOW the HIV virus is transmitted but by those who are infected and impacted by it. Based on Mike Pence's views on gays we all KNOW what his intent was.

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    Replies
    1. Lee Ann Barlas wrote:

      "Please don't insult our intelligence."

      Establish your intelligence with your argument, Lee Ann Barlas.

      **Anyone reading this KNOWS what the intent is. He states "...ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that CELEBRATE and ENCOURAGE the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus." What organization would actually CELEBRATE participating in behaviors that would encourage SPREADING HIV?**

      I don't know. You're the one who says it's readily apparent what Pence means, so why can't you tell me? If you don't know what this part means why should I have any confidence you know what the next part means?

      I'll tell you what I found while I researched the question for my article at Zebra Fact Check. Most of the money from the Ryan White Care Act appears to go to run-of-the-mill hospitals and hospice organizations. If those organizations do not celebrate and encourage the spread of HIV, then what makes a smart person like you think they're at risk of losing their government money to organizations that provide conversion therapy services?

      **Is there a needle sharing club out there asking for federal assistance?**

      I don't know. But I do know I've read reports that a segment of the gay community goes in for unprotected sex.

      http://www.queerty.com/study-50-percent-gay-men-using-hook-up-apps-have-unprotected-sex-20130122

      **The "behaviors" that he's talking about people "celebrating" are homosexual acts and taken in that context he's talking about conversion therapy.**

      At this stage your argument is making an illogical leap. Why do you discard the notion that Pence is talking about unprotected sex? Be specific and make a strong argument for it if you can. Hospitals are likely to caution people to avoid risky sex but unlikely to advocate conversion therapy. What's your evidence that Pence wanted hospitals losing their funds to conversion therapy groups?

      You don't have any at all, do you?

      **The Ryan White Act was not passed to discriminate and only fund programs based on HOW the HIV virus is transmitted but by those who are infected and impacted by it. Based on Mike Pence's views on gays we all KNOW what his intent was.**

      What view of Pence's about gays makes good evidence that Pence advocated conversion therapy on this House campaign website in 2000? Any specific evidence would be appreciated.

      (Anti-Pence bigotry is a poor substitute for evidence)

      Delete
  4. From your home page, "If 95 out of 100 Democrat stories harm Democrats and 100 out of 100 Republican stories harm Republicans then that indicates a bias against Republicans."

    Um, no. It could indicate any number of things. Stop trying to make black and white arguments out of gray material.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Albert Kauffman wrote:

      **From your home page, "If 95 out of 100 Democrat stories harm Democrats and 100 out of 100 Republican stories harm Republicans then that indicates a bias against Republicans."

      Um, no. It could indicate any number of things. Stop trying to make black and white arguments out of gray material.**

      Albert Kauffman, you'd be exactly right except for the fact (black and white) that you took the sentence out of context. In context, the issue was explicitly *unfair* harm, not any old harm at all.

      So if unfair harm affects one side more than the other, please explain to me why that is not bias. It might be a good idea to look up the word "bias" before you try to answer.

      Delete
  5. Or maybe conservatives in fact fabricate reality a bit more than liberals? Maybe a LOT more? One thing is certain, Donald Trump is near the top of the liar list, and Hillary is near the top of the truth teller list. And this wasn't a result of "cherry picking" their statements. If you have contrary data, would love to see it. Side by side. All of it.

    Tell you what -- when you get a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, let me know. Until then, Politifact remains one of the better political ombudsmen today, along with Real Clear, Pew, Fact Check, Vote Smart, and Spot On. Comparatively, your little blog is closer to amateur hour than seasoned journalism.

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    Replies
    1. Albert Kauffman wrote:

      **Or maybe conservatives in fact fabricate reality a bit more than liberals?**

      How would that logically lead to *unfair* harm against conservatives, Albert? It wouldn't. Consevatives would just be getting what they deserved. Did you read my response to you or just imagine in your head what it would be and go with that?

      **One thing is certain, Donald Trump is near the top of the liar list, and Hillary is near the top of the truth teller list.**

      It's more certain than that that your critique of PolitiFact Bias fell flat.

      **And this wasn't a result of "cherry picking" their statements. If you have contrary data, would love to see it.**

      So you're correct until proven wrong? That's a fallacious argument, Albert. You're correct if your argument is sound. If you don't have an argument, then your argument doesn't count as sound. Sorry.

      **Tell you what -- when you get a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, let me know. Until then, Politifact remains one of the better political ombudsmen today, along with Real Clear, Pew, Fact Check, Vote Smart, and Spot On. Comparatively, your little blog is closer to amateur hour than seasoned journalism.**

      Sounds like you haven't read our amateur hour blog much. We find astonishing mistakes by PolitiFact all the time. If you find a real mistake by us, not just the imagined kind you found in your first try, drop us a line.

      Just this past month PolitiFact has changed two stories in line with our criticisms. They should be easy to find if you can read.

      Cheers.

      Delete