PolitiFact Shamelessly Covering for Left-Wing Politicians, Not Rigorously Fact-Checking

  • Chooses tangent fact to “check” leftist’s claim
  • PolitiFact continues to deceptively pose as a “fact checking” organization
  • Author Miriam Valverde chooses a red herring in order to promote Jayapal’s claim
  • Oversimplification and superficial investigation destroy the credibility of this fact check

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

Indicted Outlet: Miriam Valverde | PolitiFact | Link | Archive

The common refrain from conservatives is that fact check organizations hyper-scrutinize the political right, while providing cover to the political left. One way they do this is by not addressing central claims, and another is by rating something “true” when it is not the central claim of the speaker.

PolitiFact shows, once again, that it is a highly unprofessional website that seeks to legitimize or delegitimize who they choose. Miriam Valverde’s fact check is oversimplified, unprofessional, and obtuse to the point of laughability. PolitiFact should find writers who can recognize the claims worthy of being fact checked, rather than focusing on red herrings. 

Major Violations:

  • Fake Fact Check
  • Oversimplification
  • Superficial Investigation
  • Willfully Ignorant
  • Irrelevant

Valverde’s fact check concerns Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s statement about the cost of a hospital stay from COVID:

“’The average hospital stay for a case of COVID-19 costs about $17,064. The vaccine is free,’ said Jayapal in her Aug. 30 Instagram post.”

Jayapal was promoting the vaccine when she made this statement. However, instead of addressing the truth of the obvious implication — that a vaccine will keep you from getting an exorbitant hospital bill — Valverde humorously focuses on whether or not the hospital bill would actually be $17,064. She determines that Jayapal’s statement is mostly true on the basis of medical providers, insurance companies, and FAIR Health. 

This is Valverde’s primary journalistic failure. She remains willfully ignorant to the obvious implications and instead spends paragraphs writing about the estimated cost to get care for COVID. 

The obvious implication for Jayapal’s statement is that the COVID vaccine will prevent you from getting COVID and thus needing to go to the hospital.

The number of breakthrough cases, now well documented and regularly occurring, is a significant problem in Jayapal’s statement.

Valverde oversimplifies the statement so that she can conduct a superficial investigation whereby she bestows legitimacy on Jayapal’s claims. Nowhere is it mentioned that even those who have been vaccinated have had to go to the hospital due to coronavirus. 

This is Valverde’s second error. Rather than report on vaccine effectiveness, which is the true heart of the matter in Jayapal’s statement, Valverde ignores the data that would cast doubt. 

Israel, who has vaccinated 78% of its adult population, has had a number of cases in which vaccinated people have gotten coronavirus [1] [2]. How does Jayapal account for them? What about their bills?  

According to reporter Benedict Brook:

“Israel, the poster child for vaccination, recorded more new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday than at the peak of its second wave when few in the country of nine million were even jabbed…The nation – wholly dependent on Pfizer – has a rolling average of 9300 daily cases. Where it once broke vaccination records, Israel has now broken a grim new record – the country with the highest seven day average of new cases per million.” 

Here’s just a few more uncomfortable facts left out of this “fact check.” According to the Boston Herald [3]: 

“More than 4,000 fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts tested positive for the coronavirus last week, a daily average of more than 600 people as breakthrough infections continue to rise each week amid the delta variant.” 

The case in Gibraltar is even more shocking than Israel’s situation [4] :

“​​The nation of Gibraltar, which achieved a 99 percent vaccine compliance rate as of June 1, is now seeing an astounding spike in cases…The number of COVID cases per day have increased by an astounding 2500 percent since June 1, in the latest bit of evidence that the vaccine regime is not all it’s cracked up to be.” 

According to one source in the New York Intelligencer, the data about breakthrough cases is not totally transparent [5]:

“‘The breakthrough problem is much more concerning than what our public officials have transmitted,” [Scripps’s Eric Topol said]. ‘We have no good tracking. But every indicator I have suggests that there’s a lot more under the radar than is being told to the public so far, which is unfortunate.’ The result, he said, was a widening gap between the messaging from public-health authorities and the meaning of the data emerging in real time. ‘I think the problem we have is people — whether it’s the CDC or the people that are doing the briefings — their big concern is, they just want to get vaccinations up. And they don’t want to punch any holes in the story about vaccines. But we can handle the truth. And that’s what we should be getting.’”

This reveals a larger hole in Valverde’s fact check. Did she not look into the credibility of claims about vaccination efficacy? Nope. She focused on how much it would cost to get treated for coronavirus, which was obviously not the relevant factual claim Jayapal was making. 

Given these statistics, Jayapal’s claim is false because it is misleading. Those who are vaccinated, even if it was free, may still have to go to the hospital to be treated for coronavirus. What then, Rep. Jayapal? This is the question Valverde should have asked, but didn’t. 

Journalistic rigor requires skill and intelligence in pointing out the implications of statements and examining the truth of those implications. Instead, Valverde side steps in order to make the claim that Jayapal’s statement was true. 

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.


1] https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/global/israel-fighting-record-breaking-surge-in-covid19-cases-despite-high-levels-of-vaccination/news-story/3445287a9c46e8712574da2316bd3ee1
2] https://twitter.com/drsimonegold/status/1433579996589670425
3] https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/massachusetts-coronavirus-breakthrough-cases-jump-4415-last-week-more-than-600-fully-vaccinated-people-a-day/ar-AAOckJ2

5] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/08/breakthrough-covid-19-cases-may-be-a-bigger-problem.html


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