For five years, PolitiFact repeatedly refused to criticize President Obama for his claim that everyone would be able to keep their insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Earlier this week, however, the influential fact-checking organization finally called him out on the subject. But it did so without correcting its own record.
Reacting to a speech Obama made Monday, the Tampa Bay Times-run organization gave him a "pants on fire" ruling for saying:
"Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."
PolitiFact noted that the president seemed to be saying his earlier comments had been misconstrued. But after looking through 37 speeches in which the president made the health insurance promise, the fact-check group said it "never found an instance in which he offered the caveat that it only applies to plans that hadn’t changed after the law’s passage."
Early in the article, PolitiFact also stated: "[W]e noticed last year that Obama’s comments were too sweeping and that it was unlikely that all Americans would be able to keep their insurance through thick and thin."
The passage implies they have been critical of the president's false claim for a while. That's not true though, and it indicates that PolitiFact is now trying to subtly re-write the past.
In fact, PolitiFact has addressed the issue numerous times in the past and until last week failed each time to correctly label's Obama claim as false.
In six separate columns between 2008 and 2012, the closest it came was to label Obama's claim "Half-True."
This was despite abundant evidence to the contrary, often cited in those same columns. It gave various rationalizations for not labeling the claim as false.
The first time it actually scolded the administration on the subject was last week when it gave White House adviser Valerie Jarrett a "False" ruling for claiming in a tweet that: "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans."
When asked by the Washington Examiner if PolitiFact still stood by the earlier columns, editor Angie Holan did not respond.
In a column Tuesday for the Poynter Institute she did stand by them, writing: "We get regular criticism whenever we rate a statement Half-True, but in a complicated world, it's often the right call."
The Wednesday column on Obama at least indicates they are now taking a harder look at the president's rhetoric, which is a good thing. They are awfully late to the game though.