October 18, 2010

PolitiFactWisc: Words don't matter after all

According to PolitiFactWisc:*
[Planned Parenthood's] lobbying arm says in a direct mail piece that Scott Walker "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to block women’s access to birth control." That bill might have made it more difficult for some women to get contraceptives at some pharmacies, depending on who was on duty. But words matter — the possible narrowing of access to birth control in some cases isn’t the same as blocking it in all cases.

We rate the claim as Barely True.
Except PP never said "blocking it in all cases" and in any event:

block, vbSynonyms: IMPEDE, HINDER, OBSTRUCT [M-W]
Scott Walker "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to impede women's access to birth control." True.

Scott Walker "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to hinder women’s access to birth control." True.

Scott Walker "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to obstruct women’s access to birth control." True.
All true.

And this is not the first time PolitiFactWisc has deliberately tampered with the language of the claim it was evaluating.
Jill Bader, [communications director] for Republican Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, said it was "completely false" that the bill had anything to do with birth control.
Now that is pure B.S. What did it have to do with, Nicorette?

* Elsewhere, @PolitiFactWisc claims to have "debunked" PP.

Not even barely.


gnarlytrombone said...

Astounding. That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.

The first sentence in the penultimate paragraph would get Kertscher thrown out of a freshman comp class. The "effort to paint Walker as extreme" by a "lobbying arm" "in a direct mail piece" is a string of incendiary nonsense; it has jack all to do with evaluating Planned Parenthood's claim.

And then there's the continuing trope wherein a politician can't be accused of X if the politician hasn't expressly admitted doing X and/or hasn't pursued X to the Nth degree.

Imagine a reporter using this kind of belligerent naiveté in covering the state assembly or Congress. There'd be no such thing as a parliamentary maneuver; only legitimate deployment of parliamentary procedures.

Display Name said...

I think a Magic Eight Ball would give more consistent answers.

gnarlytrombone said...

Oh, I don't think that's true. There's a species of demented logic at work; this piece has the same structure as the "Dems are lying when they say Republicans are out to wreck Social Security" laments.

PolitiFact is more like a chat bot: it reacts to word patterns, but not to meaning.

Cory Liebmann said...

for the record, this was walker's third time trying to push this kind of legislation. The first two were AB 953, 1998
AB 324, 1999.

also for the record, I think that choice folks were concerned with how broad the legislation was...for example the 2001 version includes "...and other procudures". The analysis of the LRB lists different areas where it would apply which includes, "certain procedures that prevent the implantation of a
fertilized human ovum".

illusory tenant said...

Thanks. Obviously it had everything to do with birth control. This "communications director" is something else.