Fact checking the fact checkers


By GottaLaff


My pal Celtic Diva has kindly given me permission to cross post her blog entries when I see something that bears repeating.

This sure does (Please go to her place to read the whole thing.):

Politifact boasts a 2009 Pulitzer Prize win and they felt the need to take up President Obama's offer of "neutral fact-checking" of the issues discussed at today's retreat. Perhaps they are having an off day but it sure didn't take me very long to find some glaring errors in one of the claims made by Representative Price...fact-checking the fact-checking, if you will.

Here's the email I sent them asking them to correct their errors:

To whom it may concern at Politifact.com:

Rep. Tom Price, Georgia (R) accused the Obama Administration of repeatedly stating that the GOP offers "no ideas." Your article claims that is true, when several parts of your "fact-checking" are glaringly inaccurate.

-- Your article uses as one piece of evidence a speech the President gave at a labor picnic in Cincinnati, September 7, 2009. According to you:

At a picnic with labor officials in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sept. 7, 2009, Obama complained that the critics of health care reform -- he didn't identify them as Republicans, but it was clear he was referring to them -- were not offering their own solutions. He said, "I've got a question for all those folks: What are you going to do? What's your answer? What's your solution? And you know what? They don't have one. Their answer is to do nothing. Their answer is to do nothing."

However, the actual transcript of the speech tells a different story--he was very specific as who he was addressing--the special interests who benefit if there is no health care reform:

And because we're so close to real reform, the special interests are doing what they always do-trying to scare the American people and preserve the status quo.

But I've got a question for them: What's your answer? What's your solution? The truth is, they don't have one.

It's do nothing.

When the insurance companies and others have expensive ad campaigns out slamming the health care legislation without offering solutions, I find the assuption he's addressing the Republicans to be rather dubious.

--Again, Mr. Price claimed the Obama Administration accused the GOP of offering "no ideas." However, according to your own article, the phrase on a White House blog post and repeated by Rahm Emmanuel and Robert Gibbs was "no new ideas."

President Obama was very clear that GOP ideas provided in committee were already incorporated into the health care legislation and some were rejected. Resubmitting those same rejected ideas would make that an accurate statement.

It is NOT the same as saying they have "no ideas."

Quite frankly, I'm surprised by your sloppy fact-checking. I would respectfully request that you correct your "Truth-O-Meter" so that it is actually more truthful.

You can email Politifact.com at truthometer@politifact.com if you wish to encourage them to correct their website.

You can view the entire video of President Obama at the Baltimore retreat here.

  • TexasLou

    Sorry to those who already read this when I posted in another thread, but here's the e-mail I sent to Bill Adair who provided the analysis on the Obama-Price exchange.

    I picked up on something different than what Diva did, so perhaps there's fire where this smoke's a bellowing...

    Hi Bill--

    Thanks for the great work you and your colleagues do for and provide on politifact.com.

    I read through the analysis on the exchange today between President Obama and Representative Price and I don’t think the situation was clear cut enough to make the conclusion definitively as “True.”


    Mr. Price initially stated: “You said” but then stated “…from your administration”. While he may have corrected himself as you pointed out in the piece, his first accusation was, in fact, false.

    Perhaps subconsciously, you also had reservations about designating Mr. Price’s comments as “True”…

    If you look on the textual description on the left of your summary page, it reads: "Mr. President, multiple times from your administration there have come statements that Republicans have no ideas and no solutions" on health care. But in the caption underneath the truth meter on the right, it reads: “Yes, they’ve said that several times.” I’d argue there’s a big difference between those two adjectives and perhaps the conclusion as “True” for Mr. Price was somewhere between a little generous and completely undeserved.

    Just sharing a reader’s perspective and thanks again for all that you do.



  • KayInMaine

    Not only that but President Obama also pointed ut the fact that the ideas the republicans do put forth don't work and they end up causing more damage than good.