Washington Post's Flawed "Fact Check" Of Hillary Clinton On Hobby Lobby

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN & EMILY ARROWOOD

Hillary ClintonWashington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler misquoted Hillary Clinton while criticizing her recent and accurate comments about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.

Kessler specifically took Clinton to task over a comment she made during the Aspen Ideas Festival:

CLINTON: It's very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer's health-care plan because her employer doesn't think she should be using contraception.

But in taking issue with the portion of Clinton's remarks about the affordability of contraception, Kessler actually misquoted what she said:

As for "very expensive," this is in the eye of the beholder. Studies have indicated that when times are tough, women have tried to save money by skimping on birth control, such as skipping pills and delaying prescription refills.

Clinton never said that contraception is "very expensive." She said it was "pretty expensive." The distinction is meaningful in light of the fact that Kessler specifically went on to criticize Clinton for not being careful while making extemporaneous remarks. 

Kessler also criticized Clinton for observing that a Hobby Lobby sales clerk would not be able to access contraception because her employer doesn't think she should be using it. Here's Kessler's rationale:

In the specific case, the company on religious grounds objected to four of 20 possible options, leaving other possible types of contraceptives available to female employees -- though not necessarily the most effective or necessary at the moment. 

Contrary to Kessler's reasoning, it's entirely accurate to say that a sales clerk could decide in consultation with her doctor that a valid form of contraception is the best option for her health needs and yet be denied access because her boss doesn't think she should be using it. 

Kessler addressed similar criticism from readers in an update, calling it an "interesting parsing" but standing by his original analysis. 

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Glenn Kessler
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2016 Elections
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