Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Knee Deep in PolitOffal

It's been said before but I'll repeat it / Don't you feel like you've been cheated?
It's been shoved down your eat it / They say it's believe it,
There is one thing I will never do...Trust you.
-NoMeansNo, "Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed"

It's getting more difficult to notice the difference between PolitiFact and Obama's campaign group OFA with each passing rating. The latest installment of PolitiFact's propaganda is a truly stunning piece of spin:

Image from

Fear not, Truthseekers: PolitiFact fills us in on their target:
In this fact-check, we wanted to dig into what’s happening to the American health insurance system to see what policies are being canceled, how many, why and how you might be affected.
And what unarguable facts did they uncover?
Before the health care law was passed, the individual market was widely considered a mess. Insurers could turn you down for pre-existing conditions, and none of the insurance was standardized, so if you bought a policy, it wasn’t always crystal clear what you were getting.
Let's parse that paragraph line by line. Who considered the individual market a mess? The roughly 15 million people that voluntarily made up that market? By what objective standard is it a fact that insurance companies turning down people with pre-existing conditions a bad thing? It's actually a very good thing for the people without said pre-existing conditions. The final, and most offensive of the newspeak is this: "...none of the insurance was standardized..."

GASP! PEARLS GRASPED! People had to choose between different insurance plans! THE HORROR! What if they made the wrong choice? How can people make decisions about what product best fulfills their needs without PolitiFact or Obama telling them what's best for them?!

The point that insurance policies weren't standardized goes to the heart of the ObamaCare debate. The fact that people have less choice now about what coverage they must pay for is precisely the reason insurance companies find themselves canceling hundreds of thousands of policies. It's why parents are now forced to pay for mental health and drug counseling coverage for their toddlers. It's why menopausal women are forced to have birth control coverage. But don't let that bother you. PolitiFact tells us it's a fact that standardization is a good thing.

This "standardization" point makes even less sense when you realize offering people "more choices" has been one of Obama's biggest selling points for the ACA (a claim PolitiFact has yet to rate).

But finally, we get to PolitiFact's most insulting and dishonest sentence in the entire article:
Experts told us there is no precise data to determine how many people will be forced to change health care plans, but they generally agreed the number will be small this year.
Hopefully the 300,000 people in Florida, 279,000 in people in California, 140,000 in Michigan, or the 800,000 people in New Jersey whose health insurance policies were cancelled as a result of the ACA, can take comfort in knowing experts considered their numbers "small." (A term, by the way, that PolitiFact determined using some unknown, but surely objective, measurement.)

This offal served up by PolitiFact is about as shameless a shilling for Obama's signature law as can be. Rather than clarify the truth, PolitiFact only clouds the issue with diversions and partisan commentary. Editor Aaron Sharockman is either hopelessly incompetent or is enveloped in a painful lack of self-awareness. One wonders what kind of denial is going on in the offices of PolitiFact to miss such obviously biased writing and letting it see print. PolitiFact is an embarrassment to journalism.

Bryan adds:

The farce is strong with this one.

It's pretty obvious in context that Axelrod's sparring partner, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), was referring to policies changing, not to loss of insurance.  Axelrod switched tracks on Coburn to talk about cancellations.

That's a patented technique of misdirection, and PolitiFact either didn't notice or didn't care.

"Bryan adds" Update, Oct. 30, 1:35 p.m. EDT

Jeff sent me this article via email a few minutes ago:
[T]he sad reality is that David Axelrod himself also is dead wrong: it’s more accurate to say that the president’s pledge will be shattered for a solid majority of Americans with private health insurance coverage.

More precisely, of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance coverage, I estimate that  if Obamacare is fully implemented, at least 129 million (68%) will not be able to keep their previous health care plan either because they already have or will lose that coverage by the end of 2014.
Axelrod moves goalposts.  PolitiFact smiles and nods.

Edit: 10-30-13 1851PST: In final paragraph, removed extra "the," added missing "a" and "in.") -Jeff

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