A Fake Paul Ryan Quote

Q: Did House Speaker Paul Ryan say “22 million Americans choose to be poor, so it’s their own problem if they can’t afford to be healthy”?

A: No. That fake quote comes from a satirical news story.

FULL QUESTION

Did Ryan really give the speech that people choose to be poor by not working hard enough? It was on a Newslo site which may or may not be a true site?

FULL ANSWER

Rep. Paul Ryan didn’t say “22 million Americans choose to be poor, so it’s their own problem if they can’t afford to be healthy.” That made-up quote comes from a June 28 article on politicot.com. We believe that’s the story our reader asked about, and skeptical Facebook users also flagged it as potentially fake news.

Politicot.com is one of several websites from Newslo, which claims to be “the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web.” We’ve written about stories from Newslo before, and it’s included on our list of websites that post fake and satirical news.

Newslo articles often begin with a paragraph that has been copied from a real news article. The website then fabricates additional details and quotes.

“Readers come to us for a unique brand of entertainment and information that is enhanced by features like our fact-button, which allows readers to find what is fact and what is satire,” Newslo’s “about us” page says. But that tool which allows readers to select “show facts,” highlighting the text that’s real — isn’t helpful when other websites repost the stories without that feature, making it harder for readers to tell what is real or not.

This time, Newslo lifted the opening lines of its story from an article on the progressive site RawStory.com that described a Fox News interview. In the interview, Ryan responded to a question about the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that 22 million fewer people would be insured in 2026 under the Senate Republicans’ health care bill than under current law.

RawStory.com, June 27: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) this week disputed reports that 22 million people would lose insurance under the Republican health care plan.

During an interview that aired on Tuesday, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Ryan to respond to a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that said there would be 22 million more people without health insurance by 2026 if the Senate’s version of the health care bill is signed into law.

“What they are basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office, if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” the Speaker opined. “So, it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan, it’s that people will choose not to buy something that they don’t like or want.”

(That quote from Ryan was indeed in the Fox News interview. In fact, we wrote about Ryan and Sen. Bernie Sanders each putting their own spin on the CBO report, which said that some would prefer not to buy insurance but others would no longer be eligible for Medicaid or wouldn’t be able to afford coverage.)

But from there, Newslo deviates from the facts. The satirical story wrongly claims Kilmeade asked Ryan “to comment on the fact that the Republican health care platform is going to make health insurance plans significantly less affordable by decreasing subsidies.” And it wrongly says Ryan responded “by ranting about how being poor is ‘a choice.’”

In reality, Kilmeade never brought up subsidies during the interview, which aired June 27 on “Fox & Friends.” Likewise, Ryan didn’t ask Kilmeade, “Why should anybody who has the willpower to tackle problems and obstacles in order to provide a good life for themselves and their family be obligated to set aside some of their hard earned money to help other people who don’t want to work hard and, instead, rely on policymakers to ensure they have welfare or, in this case, affordable health insurance?”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network. 

Sources

Schaedel, Sydney. “How to Flag Fake News on Facebook.” FactCheck.org. 6 Jul 2017.

Newslo. “Paul Ryan: ’22 Million Americans Choose To Be Poor, So It’s Their Own Problem If They Can’t Afford To Be Healthy.’” Politicot.com. 28 Jun 2017.

Edwards, David. “Paul Ryan: 22 million Americans won’t be ‘pushed off’ insurance — they will ‘choose’ not to buy it.” RawStory.com. 27 Jun 2017.

Gore, D’Angelo. “A Fake Mike Pence Quote.” FactCheck.org. 21 Dec 2016.

Schaedel, Sydney. “Websites that Post Fake and Satirical Stories.” FactCheck.org. 6 Jul 2017.

Schaedel, Sydney. “Fake Dig at ‘Dumb’ Scientists.” Factcheck.org. 6 Jun 2017.

Congressional Budget Office. “H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” Cbo.gov. 26 Jun 2017.

Kiely, Eugene. “Spinning the CBO Insurance Estimate.” Factcheck.org. 27 Jun 2017.

Fox & Friends. “Speaker Ryan: We have a health care plan that actually works.” Video. 27 Jun 2017.

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