True, but conservative

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on August 22, 2015

If you read any of the critics of the self-appointed fact-checkers at Politifraud, you'll realize that the media organization is far from the unbiased referee it pretends to be. It's a left-wing media organization through and through. One that's actually worse that most at suppressing its biases.

Today's case in point is a Politifact Georgia "fact-check" of an Alliance Defending Freedom graphic that has been bouncing around Twitter for months.

Alliance Defending Freedom correctly notes that Planned Parenthood doesn't actually do any mammograms.
Alliance Defending Freedom correctly notes that Planned Parenthood doesn't actually do any mammograms.

Politifraud begins by recounting the current Planned Parenthood controversy and then gets to the "facts" of the graph.

Casey Mattox, the senior counsel at the anti-abortion Alliance Defending Freedom, said he was attempting to cut off that debate by using the maps to point out that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms.

"You can’t go there and actually get a mammogram, which is what most people assume when they hear you can go there and get cancer screenings for breast health," Mattox said. "That is, at best, misleading, if not directly false."

Mattox pointed us to the Food and Drug Administration’s list of facilities licensed to perform mammograms under the Mammography Quality Standards Act. The agency certifies the facilities across the nation and in military bases worldwide.

The list, updated weekly, includes more than 8,700 facilities. A representative from the FDA did not get back to us by deadline, but a search of the list does not yield any facilities with the official "Planned Parenthood" name in its title.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Liz Clark confirmed why: The organization does not provide mammograms at any of its health centers.

(One caveat: some clinics have brought in mobile mammography vans to clinic sites for special events. But none of the machines were a permanent part of a Planned Parenthood center).

So Mattox is correct, by Planned Parenthood’s own acknowledgement, that the organization does not provide mammograms.

If you're not a "balanced," talentless hack, then it ends here. The graphic is "True."

Instead, we get "True, but conservative," which is actually "Half-True."

In an effort to debunk defenders that Planned Parenthood provides essential women’s health services in addition to abortions, an anti-abortion group claimed that none of the organization’s clinics is licensed to provide mammograms.

Federal data and Planned Parenthood’s own documents back up the claim from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

However, that narrow bit of information ignores that Planned Parenthood physicians perform the clinical exams that lead to referrals for a mammogram or other specialized breast care.

The physical exam is a necessary step in the process of getting the screening, although ADF has a valid point that other physicians could provide that piece of the process.

That puts the claim in the realm that won’t make either side happy: partially accurate but misleading without additional details. We rate the claim Half True.

Or, as I like to call it: True, but conservative. This is a standard Politifraud gambit. Take a carefully crafted, completely accurate statement and muddy the waters so that you've got some justification to give the statement a rating that you think it deserves.

Planned Parenthood performs no mammograms. Half-True.

If you were to take that last paragraph and ask people on the street what it meant, do you think they'd believe that it means that Planned Parenthood performs some mammograms? I think that would be the most likely response to those statements. Which is exactly what the hacks at Politifraud are attempting to do.

Let's try something similar. In-N-Out Burger doesn't serve hot dogs. Half-True.

(Good) Hot dogs are typically made of beef. There's beef at In-N-Out. You would cook a hot dog on a grill. In-N-Out has grills. So, Half-True.

Of course, you're not going to get a hot dog at In-N-Out.

You're not going to get a mammogram at Planned Parenthood.


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August 2015



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