Some guy once said “Facts are stubborn things.” Apparently, the fact checking websites out there didn’t get the memo. Sites like Politifact, the AP’s Fact Check, and Fact Check.org have been hammered lately for becoming increasingly partisan…at least against republicans. Some are worse than others undoubtedly,but I’ve been whining about this for a while.
Let’s look at one of the supposed “lies” by the Romney campaign.
FactCheck.Org claims that Romney’s ad stating the “Obama administration has adopted a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements” is false. (Before I deconstruct this, I just want to let Chris Matthews, Ron Fournier, Thomas Edsall, and Timothy Nolanknow that mentioning the word welfare does not mean that I’m racist.)
Fact Check claims that the Romney ad is false—by meticulously proving it’s true.
Here’s their reasoning:
“Work requirements are not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.”
The reason this is supposedly a lie, is because the employment part of welfare wasn’t completely banned. Instead, a national requirement has just been moved back to a state option. Obviously, if the state chooses the “eliminating” option, work requirements will be dropped. But, as Fact Check points out, many states won’t do that.
To emphasize how asinine this line is, let’s switch up the wording a little bit. What if we replaced the welfare laws with abortion:
“Roe v. Wade is not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the abortion requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase family planning.”
What Obama has done to work requirements is roughly the equivalent of overturning Roe vs Wade. If Roe vs Wade was overturned, it wouldn’t make abortion illegal, it just returns the options to the states. Add on an additional goal of “increasing family planning” (whatever that means) and it’s basically the same thing.
Do you think if Roe vs Wade was overturned that Democrats would say “this will gut abortion rights”? Yeah, I think so. Would the media ride to Republicans rescue to call that claim false because it only made abortion a state option? I sort of doubt it.
Here’s a more detailed explanation from Fact Check. Org on how Obama isn’t gutting the welfare reform program:
“Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from work-participation rules that, among other things, require welfare recipients to engage in one of 12 specific “work activities,” such as job training. But, in exchange, states must develop a plan that would provide a “more efficient or effective means to promote employment,” which may or may not include some or all of the same work activities.
Now replace with abortion:
“Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from Roe v. Wade that, among other things, require women to engage in one of 12 specific “family planning activities,” such as contraceptive training. But, in exchange, states must develop a plan that would provide a “more efficient or effective means to promote family planning,” which may or may not include some or all of the same abortion procedures.
If a Republican president–single handedly, without a vote–“adjusted” the regulations in this country on abortion in this fashion, the nicest thing a democrat would say about it was that it “gutted” women’s rights. It would be presented by the media as the largest roll back in human rights since Xerxes (or at least Artaxerxes I). Most certainly these changes would not be protected by various “non-partisan” fact checkers as inconsequential or mundane.
We’ve been fact checking the fact checkers for a long time. Here’s to hoping more and more people continue to join the party.