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Friday, February 21, 2014

Not even Americans For Prosperity can defeat Glenn Kessler's love of "both sides"

I mean that he loves the phrase "both sides". This fact check is pretty much "Opinions on shape of planet differ. Both sides overstate their case." He is discussing a grotesquely dishonest ad by Americans for Prosperity about an Obamacare victim who " told the Detroit News that her monthly premiums were cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571. That’s a savings of $529 a month" I am mainly objecting to this "Too many anecdotal stories, on both sides, have fallen apart under close scrutiny." Before the cut and paste comment, I'd like to make a really rude question here. You do facts right ? OK how many pro ACA anectdotal stories have fallen apart. An honest fact checker would have calculated a number before concluding it is "too many." Naturally this would be a lower bound as in what ? At least 100 ? At least 10 ? Well arguably at least one ? No one who respects facts should say a number is "too many" without deciding how many is too many and checking that the number is greater than that. my comment. I was expecting to enjoy reading this fact check (which is widely cited). I absolutely don't agree with only 2 pinnocchios. I'd go for four (note the very inflamatory claims). In any case, the assertion that an absolute maximum of $2 more a year is "unaffordable" is clearly at least 3 pinocchios false). Also you write "Too many anecdotal stories, on both sides, have fallen apart under close scrutiny." I understand about limits of space, but I don't know about anecdotal stories on the pro Obamacare side which have fallen apart. Really, I draw a blank (I vaguely remember maybe one case). In contrast I don't know of anecdotal stories presented by the anti-Obamacare side which haven't fallen apart. I think the "on both sides" is knee jerk Ballance which has no place in a fact check. In any case, you made an assertion of fact without presenting evidence. I think you should not allow yourself to do that. You must assert that "many" pro ACA anecdotes have fallen apart under scrutiny. You must now find at least several examples or award yourself at least a couple of pinocchios. Note that I didn't assert that there aren't many such anecdotes. I just said I knew of zero or one (depending on how one scores the one). I ask you to ask yourself why you wrote "on both sides". Was it the result of memories of pro-ACA anecdotes which fell apart or was it because you fear being accused of liberal bias ? I think you can and should obtain the answer by introspection. To try to phrase the second explanation more politely, was it that you didn't want to claim one side on a debate is less honest than the other, because that is a broad judgment and not the assessment of a simple claim of fact. The problem is that the assertion that their honesty is roughly comparable (both sides) is also a broad judgment not the assessment of a specific claim of fact.

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