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AP fact-checks analogy likening health care negotiations to porcupine sex, finds it credible

We’d heard that a number of news outlets had revamped their fact-checking operations after Donald Trump’s surprise election awakened them from their eight-year slumber.


And to be sure, they came out of the gate strong, with the New York Times calling B.S. on President Trump’s claim that a light rain turned into a downpour after his Inauguration Day address; “The truth is that it began to rain lightly almost exactly as Mr. Trump began to speak and continued to do so throughout his remarks,” Nicholas Fandos reported, correcting the record.

That fact-check pretty much set the tone for the media’s approach to the Trump presidency, but it will be difficult to top the AP’s fact-check involving porcupine mating.

On hearing Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) compare the delicate nature of health care bill negotiations to “two porcupines making love,” the AP decided to check out his claim to see if the analogy held up.

Turns out it does.

THE FACTS: He is correct, it’s tricky, but unlike lawmakers, porcupines have their mission figured out.

Porcupine spines are an intimidating mechanism to protect the animals from predators. But when it comes time to mate, they have the ability to let down their defenses, said Duke University biologist Stuart Pimm. Courtship rituals can be aggressive but when the animals have negotiated the art of the deal, the females relax and reposition their quills.

It’s not entirely different from people, Pimm said. “We humans are quite capable of arming ourselves with the most ferocious weaponry but I don’t take my broadaxe to bed with me.”


No wonder the Senate Republicans chose to craft their answer to Obamacare “in secret,” behind closed doors.

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