What if…

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on June 14, 2012

Over at Sublime Bloviations, they've taken Politifact to the woodshed once again over a “Half-True” claim by President Obama that “Romney outsourced call center jobs to India.”

I’ll summarize the situation for you.

Back in 2004, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, the legislature sent him a bill that contained a provision banning state contractors from outsourcing any work to other countries. He vetoed it.

Romney didn’t order the outsourcing. He didn’t encourage it. He just didn’t prohibit it.

Sublime Bloviations likens this to saying that it’s half-true that Butt-head threw a rock through a window because Beavis threw the rock through the window, but Butt-head could’ve stopped him.

It's very misleading to use language depicting Romney as directly responsible for outsourcing jobs when in fact he simply left intact a policy permitting contracting parties to outsource jobs.  The claim of the ad is literally false but with a germ of truth:  Jobs were outsourced and Romney could have prevented it by signing the legislation.

The analysis is excellent, but I want to take it further. Let’s play “What if…” with a little reductio ad absurdum.

Proposition: Barack Obama killed newborn babies.

Politifact ruling (using the same logic as was used in this case): Half-true.

Analysis: As an Illinois state legislator, Barack Obama opposed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act which would’ve codified in law that survivors of botched abortions were entitled to all the lifesaving care of a baby born under less horrific conditions. Obama chaired the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and led the effort to kill the bill.

He didn’t actually kill any babies himself, but… Obama could’ve prevented infanticide and chose not to. We rate this statement “half-true.”

If any of you believe that Politifact would give that rating to that proposition, please step away from your computer and proceed immediately to the closest detox facility.

Oh, the author of this Politifraud analysis? Molly Moorhead.

She’s having a very bad week.

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June 2012



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