By Dave Andrusko
To be fair, when it comes to abortion, the Washington Post’s “fact checker” (Glenn Kessler) does stumble across the truth on occasion. But his assessment of the assertion by Rep. Pramila Jayapal that “The Hyde amendment is something that the majority of the country does not support” only warrants a mere “Two Pinocchios” is not his finest hour.
There is much to-ing and fro-ing before he comes to his conclusion that Jayapal’s assertion merits less than out and out condemnation. For example, that President Biden did a 180 on his previous support for Hyde Amendment to ensure he received his party’s presidential endorsement. The reader will have to while his way through a LONG preface to understate that Two Pinocchios means
Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people. (Similar to “half true.”)
Arrrg. Where do I begin? Jayapal’s goal is to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which places drastic limits on federal funding of abortion. How do you accomplish this? By torturous wording that all but guarantees opposition to Hyde.
Kessler argues that “We’re often wary of polls commissioned by advocacy groups.”
But the wording in the poll that Jayapal relies on–All* Above All—is not an organization intended to offer an objective assessment of the public’s opinion on federal funding of abortion. Instead, the organization’s intend is to end the Hyde Amendment. Second, according to Kessler, “That result has to be balanced against the many other polls that reached a different conclusion, suggesting the answer is not as clear-cut as Jayapal asserts.”
Not as “clear-cut as Jayapal asserts”? As Kessler points out, the polls on federal funding go back years and “many suggest that Jayapal is wrong.”
In addition, a November 2020 McLaughlin poll showed that 64.6% oppose tax funding of abortion including 49% of Democrats and 69% of Independents.
How about Four Pinocchios for Kessler Two Pinocchios assessment?