Drop the charade

I’ve often noted the uselessness of the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact, which they also call the Truth-o-Meter. The feature pretends to be an objective fact check, but it is anything but. In fact, they simply grade statements based on whether they agree with them. Not surprisingly, from a left-of-center publication, that means that statements from the right are rated false (even when they are actually true), and statements from the left are rated true (even when they are actually false).

Their latest takes the cake. They say that referring to Obamacare as a government takeover of health care is “false” or even “pants on fire” (their phrase, meaning somehow falser than false):

As previous national PolitiFact checks have shown, no matter how you look at it, the legislation cannot reasonably be considered a government takeover.

The government will not take over hospitals or other privately-run health care businesses. Doctors will not become government employees, like in Britain. And the U.S. government intends to help people buy insurance from private insurance companies, not pay all the bills like the single-payer system in Canada.

“No matter how you look at it.”  Nonsense.  At this blog I’ve frequently referred to Obamacare as the health care nationalization act, because that’s what it does in essence. True, this being America it’s still hard to get away with overt socialism here. So we still have “private” health insurance firms. As I said last June:

The government is merely going to dictate what policies they write, for whom, and at what price. The government will also dictate how much they pay out, require individuals to buy their services, and pay for much of the cost with taxpayer funds.

Hooray for the triumph of free enterprise.

In other words, we have a government takeover of health care, administered through private firms.

According the to the St. Petersburg Times, the preceding sentence is a lie. It is not. It is, in fact, an opinion. Moreover, it is an opinion backed by a strong argument.

The St. Petersburg Times is grading opinions based on whether they agree with them. If they are going to do that, they should drop the charade. They should admit that what they are doing is editorializing, not fact checking. They also might want to considering building their editorials around stronger arguments — without their fact-checking shtick they are left with a really flimsy case — but first things first.

(Via Don Surber.)

UPDATE: Karl at Hot Air has a similar take.

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