Can we please revise the mission statements of "fact checkers"?
Jan 14th: Bernie Sanders's claim that '36,000 people will die yearly' if Obamacare is repealed is given four Pinocchios by the Washington Post's fact checker.
Today in the Washington Post: Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually. And no, the problem wasn't that Bernie undercounted by 7,000.
To be fair, the latter is actually a rebuttal of the former, and kudos to the Post for publishing it. But how do you go from awarding something four Pinocchios (which is such a weird metric. It's been a while, but i don't remember Pinocchio cloning himself every time he lied.) to publishing an article saying that it's true? And the headline even uses the dangerous word "will", which was what caused the original claim to get bumped from three to four Pinocchios. And it's not like the Post has issued a correction or any caveats. Their "fact check" still remains on their website completely divorced from this article. Basically you can have any reality you want.
Fact checkers should really be limited to verifying actual facts. They should leave policy analysis for policy analysts, and in that capacity they need to recognize that there are a lot of variables and possible interpretations. A lot of the caveats in the first article were just fine (e.g. a lot depends on exactly what the "replace" part of "repeal and replace" would be), but when you end with issuing Pinocchios or whatever, you're not just providing necessary context to readers. You're actually giving them a false sense of certainty.
By fnord12 | January 23, 2017, 12:42 PM | Liberal Outrage