Latest Posts

The Tennessean “fact check” skimps on context

Our fact check of Paul Ryan’s charge that the Obama administration called Syrian ruler Bashar Assad a “reformer” nearly carried a bonus critique of PolitiFact’s reporting of the context. The problem?  The mainstream press appears to downplay the force of the Syrian crackdown prior to Clinton’s infamous statement on “Meet the Press.”  The Tennessean provides perhaps the best example so…
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Was Paul Ryan correct that the Obama administration called Bashar Assad ‘a reformer’?

Paul Ryan:  “We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people.”   Overview During his debate with Vice President Biden, Republican candidate for vice president Paul Ryan claimed the Obama administration referred to Syrian leader Bashar Assad as a reformer.  Though PolitiFact rated the claim “Mostly False,” we’ll find…
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About the reference style

References for this site represent a modified MLA style. Wherever possible we will use references available on the Web.  MLA Style requires no listing of a URL under ordinary circumstances, which works fine because we’re providing hyperlinks through the title of the reference.  We omit the indentations beyond the first line of the reference because the WordPress interface makes achieving…
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VP debate: Did Bush ‘credit card’ spending account for the recession as Biden claimed?

Vice President Joe Biden:  “They talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, ‘Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?’ It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the…
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October update

The vice presidential debate is in the books.  We’ve got one fact check project in the works from the Biden-Ryan debate, but the research on the project has brought to the fore the need for a standardized reference style. Once that’s ironed out it will streamline the publishing process on projects that feature journal-style references that also happen to be…
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Does the AARP claim Romney’s plan would ‘undermine Medicare’?

Obama campaign video:  “AARP says (Romney’s plan) ‘would undermine … Medicare.’”   Overview An October 9 Obama campaign video presents the AARP as saying the Romney/Ryan premium support “voucher” system “would undermine … Medicare.”   The Facts The campaign video makes a series of claims about the Romney “voucher system” proposal before using a partial quotation from the AARP.  The…
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Ryan plan would let Romney pay less than 1 percent in taxes?

President Obama: “(Congressman Ryan) put forward a plan that would let Governor Romney pay less than 1 percent in taxes each year.” Overview President Obama made an accurate statement about the budget proposal vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan made in 2010. However, Ryan has since updated his tax reform proposal and it no longer would allow Romney to pay less…
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The reason behind the journalistic fact check movement

I’ve blogged in the past that the recent trend for journalists to engage in political fact checking amounts to a type of power play.  A guest column by Mike Deupree in Iowa’s The Register yesterday helped inspire me to sharpen the point. “At some point,” writes Deupree, “some journalists — probably frustrated because readers weren’t making the decisions the journalists…
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Joe Biden claims Medicare benefits increased under the Affordable Care Act

Vice president Joe Biden: “President Obama has increased the benefits available to people on Medicare today by the action he took.” Overview During a Sept. 28 campaign stop in South Florida, Vice President Joe Biden played up new Medicare benefits under the Affordable Care Act while omitting mention that the ACA has features that may restrict seniors’ ability to access…
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