PolitiFact Rushes to Defend Biden (Again) on Rising Insulin Prices

February 26th, 2021 3:40 PM

The reputation of PolitiFact as an "independent fact-checker" just doesn't rest on their factual accuracy. It rests on whether their selection of which facts to check demonstrate an ideological tilt (it does). Conservatives were mocking their tweet from Thursday night: 

"Beware of Facebook posts blaming Joe Biden" is what PolitiFact is specializing in right now.

Bill McCarthy was taking exception a Facebook post that claimed "Insulin went from $60 to $500 with the swipe of creepy Joe’s pen..." A Facebook post with 1,100 shares is more dangerous, apparently, than national media outlets that mangle the facts for millions of Americans.

Let's stipulate that this isn't a very factual assertion. Last summer, President Trump ordered that insulin prices be reduced in the Medicare program for seniors, but it wasn't set to be implemented until January 22, and Biden suspended it (temporarily) in his wave of Trump-reversing executive orders.

This is how McCarthy concluded his check: 

A Facebook post claimed insulin prices rose "with the swipe of (Joe Biden’s) pen."

Individuals who take insulin could have seen prices fluctuate for several reasons related to their insurance coverage and the specific medication they use. But those changes can’t be pinned on the Biden administration’s actions, experts said. 

The Biden administration did temporarily freeze a directive related to one federal program, but that would not have affected current insulin prices, because the policy had not yet taken effect.

We rate these Facebook posts False.

In their footnotes, PolitiFact underlined that the fact-checker community as a bloc was rushing to defend Biden: 

Lead Stories, "Fact Check: Biden White House Freeze of Trump Executive Order Did NOT Cause Insulin Prices To Increase," Feb. 13, 2021

AFP Fact Check, "Trump’s insulin order frozen, not scrapped, by Biden," Feb. 3, 2021

USA Today, "Fact check: Biden administration delays implementation of Trump rule on insulin, EpiPens," Feb. 3, 2021

They left out Snopes on January 25, Did Biden Temporarily Freeze Trump Rule Lowering Insulin, EpiPen Prices?

Not to mention their own obsession: 

PolitiFact, "Walker exaggerates effect of Trump drug order, Biden freeze," Feb. 11, 2021

PolitiFact, "Why are insulin prices going up? Chuck Grassley explains it," Feb. 2, 2021

PolitiFact, "ISIS, drug prices and COVID-19 deaths: How a viral post misleads on Biden's first days in office," Jan. 26, 2021

PolitiFact, "Trump inflates insulin help for seniors," Aug. 3, 2020

Even so, this has not been a TV story. A quick search of transcripts in Nexis for “Biden” and “insulin” since January 20 on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC found no mention of Biden’s freeze on Trump's insulin price order. There were eight stories with these two words, all of them on the cable channels, and five of the eight were about the prospect of Texans caught without insulin in the winter storm. 

PolitiFact isn't shy about touting Biden's "competence" as a True Thing. This item came two days before the Biden-insulin post: 

Compared to: