Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

March 15, 2014

Fact Check: Faux-interview show attacks health care plan

The appearance by President Barack Obama on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ faux-interview show Between Two Ferns set social media ablaze.

Galifianakis’ deadpan spoof of a cable-access TV interview show had already become a magnet for Web surfers, and especially for younger Americans — the demographic that Obama has been trying to convince to purchase insurance at the healthcare.gov website.

Just hours after the presidential “interview” went live on FunnyorDie.com, the humor site became “the #1 source of referrals to HealthCare.gov ,” according to a triumphal tweet by White House health care spokeswoman Tara McGuinness on March 11, 2014.

Like many Americans, we watched the video and thought it was pretty funny. Most of the exchanges between Obama and Galifianakis were clearly intended to be jokes -- nothing checkable there.

But we did find one snippet to put to the Truth-O-Meter -- when Obama said that “most young Americans” are not covered by health insurance. It came during the meat of Obama’s pitch for young Americans to get covered, and it struck us as wrong.

Here’s the exchange:

Galifianakis: “So do you go to any websites that are .com’s or .net’s, or do you mainly just stick with .gov’s?”

Obama: “No, actually we go to .gov’s. Have you heard of healthcare.gov?”

Galifianakis: “Here we go. (Sigh) Okay, let’s get this out of the way. What did you come here to plug?”

Obama: “Well, first of all I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be with you here today if I didn’t have something to plug. Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?”

Galifianakis: “Oh yeah, I heard about that, that’s the thing that doesn’t work. Why would you get the guy that created the Zune to make your website?”

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