Monthly Archive: February 2013

Gene Sperling’s stationary sequestration goalposts?

“The entire DNA of the enforcement mechanism in the sequester was to bring both sides back on the table.  The Democrats would compromise more in entitlements, that Republicans would compromise more on revenue.  So the idea that this moves the goalposts is just—I mean, there’s not even an ounce of—there’s not even an ounce of truth to that.” —Gene Sperling,…
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The White House uses president’s State of the Union address to peddle VAWA misinformation

“The Violence Against Women Act. “Between 1993-2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined 64 percent.  Between 1993-2007, the rate of intimate partner homicides of women decreased 35 percent.  And the rate of intimate partner homicides of men decreased 46 percent.” –The White House’s enhanced version of President Obama’s State of the Union speech for 2013   Overview The White…
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Did the NIH director from the Bush administration say the sequester would set back medical science for a generation?

“Even President Bush’s director of the National Institutes of Health says these cuts will set back medical science for a generation.” –President Obama, Weekly Address Feb. 23, 2013   Summary The president accurately paraphrases a misleading “Wonkblog” headline that exaggerates the effect on science of the sequester. The Facts: Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog published an interview with…
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The Atlantic: “It’s not the rating that matters.”

The Atlantic recently published a column about fact checking by Alesh Houdek.  Houdek asks a question and by the end he gives us an answer.  The answer reveals the key problem with modern fact checking, though Houdek apparently doesn’t completely see it. The question (from the story’s deck):   Seen from the right angle with the right squint, the claim…
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Of pistols and PolitiFact Georgia

“(Sen. Bill) Jackson said there were more people killed with hammers than shotguns and pistols and AK-47s. There were actually 12 times as many people killed with handguns in 2011 than with blunt objects like hammers. Jackson’s claim is way off.” –PolitiFact Georgia, from “Gun claim goes awry,” Feb. 21, 2013   Overview PolitiFact conducted its fact check under the…
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PolitiFact claims the Violence Against Women Act accounts for a significant portion of the decline in domestic violence from 1994-2010

“The Violence Against Women Act — in the news this week following a U.S. Senate vote to reauthorize it — has been linked to reductions in domestic violence, according to several PolitiFact fact checks.” –Tom Kertscher, editor of PolitiFact Wisconsin   Overview Kertscher’s right that PolitiFact has linked the Violence Against Women Act to reductions in domestic violence.  Scant evidence…
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George Washington and the Second Amendment: Unsettling the question with expert opinions

While fact checking claims PolitiFact Texas made in its fact check of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) I ran into the problem of experts giving contradictory opinions. Gohmert answered a journalist’s question about the justification for citizens having arms similar to those used by law enforcement.  Gohmert said his reason was the same as the one that George Washington had for…
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Marco Rubio says defense sequester cuts were Obama’s idea

“Tonight, (President Obama) even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts – cuts that were his idea in the first place.” –Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), from the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.   Overview Sen. Rubio correctly states that the sequester plan came from President Obama and the White House, but…
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Correction: House Republicans and the Sequestration Blame Game

We used the wrong roll call vote to provide background information on our fact check of the House Republican Conference claim that President Obama was responsible for the sequestration idea. As a temporary measure, on Feb. 13 we added strikethoughs to the inaccurate passages in the posted version of the fact check.  We retain the strikethroughs here in preserving the…
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SOTU: President Obama on shouldering the burden and redistributing the wealth

“We can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful.” –President Obama   Overview The Facts In discussing Medicare reform during his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama said the following (bold emphasis added):   Yes, the biggest driver of our…
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