Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walker Misled The Nation On Health Care; Will Wash Post Correct?

It takes a lot of staff time, it takes a lot of scheming and it takes a boat load of chutzpah to concoct an op-ed filled with distortions.

And then to get it placed in a prestigious publication like The Washington Post on a major issue like health care  - - but that is exactly what Scott Walker has done.

Call it the audacity of deception. This should be a national news story.

PolitiFact has released a detailed examination of the op-ed, found it manipulated and misrepresented data and findings, and rated its central claim "False."


A study showed that President Barack Obama’s health-care reforms will "devastate Wisconsin" by pushing people off employer-sponsored insurance, driving up premiums, increasing dependency and making 122,000 people ineligible for Medicaid.

Scott Walker on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 in an op-ed piece

Scott Walker says a study shows the federal health care law will "devastate" Wisconsin

The authoritative PolitiFact finding, published today in the Journal Sentinel, is long and complex, and comes with considerable heft because it is co-authored by Dave Umhoefer, a Pulitzer Prize-winner.

It's a case study that exposes the worst in politicized messaging; here's the PolitiFact bottom line:
Walker pulls some numbers from an actuarial study of the impact of the law, but cherry-picks data, leaves out critical facts and mischaracterizes some of the numbers, creating a highly misleading impression. Indeed, some of the numbers he attributes to the study are really estimates from his own administration.
We rate his claim, taken as a whole, False.
You can read the op-ed, here.

A couple of points:

* Walker's ideological hostility to the Affordable Health Care has been disclosed and analyzed since 2011.

* That Walker's op-ed was misleading was immediately called out by Wisconsin health care advocate Robert Kraig. He made many of the same points validated by PolitiFact. I posted Kraig's remarks in full a day after the op-ed appeared, here.

*  As has been pointed out - - whether as a political strategy of a character flaw - -  Walker defaults to the false side.

PolitiFact has rated 63% of Walker statements vetted as mostly false, false, or pants on fire. Here is his record:

Walker's statements by ruling

Click on the ruling to see all of Walker's statements for that ruling.
* Is it coincidental that all four Wisconsin GOP candidates for the open US Senate seat have earned "False" or "Pants on Fire" PolitiFact ratings on the health care issue?

*  But I would argue that constructing an op-ed for The Washington Post, now rated "false" by PolitiFact and easily exposed for the manipulation it represented, is a serious breach of responsibility in a democracy by Walker because of the effort it would have taken to produce it, market it successfully to a national platform, and hope for ill-gotten political and ideological gain.

The Washington Post, for its own sake and the needs of its readers, must amplify the PolitiFact finding and call Walker on the carpet for such a willful act of misrepresentation.

And have a new process for handling op-eds with Walker's name on them:




Can a governor express a false opinion. Is that ethical? Is that just politics?

James Rowen said...

He misstated and manipulated facts. It was in an opinion piece, but it was filled with data and numbers used or stated falsely.


Stating falshood seems to be the norm for many politicians.


RD said...

Could there be a less credible entity than Politifact?

James Rowen said...

To RD: Show me something inaccurate in its analysis.