More AP Fact Checks

Since I last posted on AP's fact checks, there have been three and a half more published.

The oldest, "Health overhaul myths taking root," is quite a strange fact check article. It fact checks not something somebody said about health insurance reform, but what the majority of Americans believe about health insurance reform. These beliefs are Republican talking points, and maybe they have been fact checked by AP already, but if so, the majority of Americans didn't get the message. Some are so easily refuted that they require no explanation:
THE POLL: 55 percent expect the overhaul will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 34 percent don't.

THE FACTS: The proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
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Just sad. Anybody think the Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) affair (the half a fact check) will bring that number down? If so, I've a got a bridge in Brooklyn for you. Only one of the "facts" checked actually mentions that a Republican is the source of the misinformation:
THE POLL: 45 percent said it's likely the government will decide when to stop care for the elderly; 50 percent said it's not likely.

THE FACTS: Nothing being debated in Washington would give the government such authority. Critics have twisted a provision in a House bill that would direct Medicare to pay for counseling sessions about end-of-life care, living wills, hospices and the like if a patient wants such consultations with a doctor. They have said, incorrectly, that the elderly would be required to have these sessions.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said such counseling "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia."

The bill would prohibit coverage of counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been a proponent of coverage for end-of-life counseling under Medicare, said such sessions are a voluntary benefit, strictly between doctor and patient, and it was "nuts" to think death panels are looming or euthanasia is part of the equation.

But as fellow conservatives stepped up criticism of the provision, he backed away from his defense of it.
More sadness. BTW, the consequences of this disloyal opposition is bad for the Republicans and the country. Imagine you are a traditional conservative who wouldn't dream of distorting the public debate like this. Do you think you have any chance of surviving a Republican primary in a district that a Republican could win?

2 more articles after the jump.

Another article, "Biden overlooked stimulus problems," is also strange because it doesn't have any CLAIM vs. FACTS. Instead it notes that VP Biden didn't mention various negatives in public appearances. What? Spin, you say! Egads! One "rebuttal" focuses on what the word "some" means. But one paragraph just doesn't get it:
And Biden praised the more than 2,400 military construction projects paid for with stimulus money, but ignored the millions of dollars in savings the Defense Department lost because it hasn't competitively bid many of the jobs.
He doesn't care about the savings of competitive bids! This is fiscal stimulus! The quicker the better! This is national quality reporting?

The most recent article takes on President Obama's health insurance reform speech, "Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge." The first two paragraphs:
President Barack Obama used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to overhaul the nation's health care system without adding "one dime" to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic, Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars.

The president's speech to Congress contained a variety of oversimplifications and omissions in laying out what he wants to do about health insurance.
I'm not saying that it's a good practice, but excuse me, isn't he in Washington? That's the kind of accounting they use! Has the AP been paying attention this decade? And criticizing "oversimplifications and omissions" in a political speech is like criticizing a hooker for taking money for her services. That's what they do.

The Obama promise vs. Democratic plans is easy enough to see through, but that doesn't stop the AP from making it their first fact check:
OBAMA: "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period."

THE FACTS: Though there's no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they're ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.
Snap! Obama got served! Sarcasm is the only response I can muster. More claims and facts:
OBAMA: "Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have."

THE FACTS: That's correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. ...

OBAMA: "Don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. ... That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare."

THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies. ...

OBAMA: "If you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own and start a small business, you will be able to get coverage."

THE FACTS: It's not just a matter of being able to get coverage. Most people would have to get coverage under the law, if his plan is adopted. ...

OBAMA: "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage."

THE FACTS: Obama time and again has referred to the number of uninsured as 46 million, a figure based on year-old Census data. ... By using the new figure, Obama avoids criticism that he is including individuals, particularly healthy young people, who choose not to obtain health insurance.
There is one claim that does actually need refuting, about the total cost effect of preventative care, but this is balanced out by another claim fact checked that is from Rep. Wilson's outburst, not anything Obama said.

THE MORAL: Use factcheck.org instead. Or the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning site, PolitiFact, from the St. Petersburg Times. Ignore the Obameter of campaign promises. Ugggh.

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