A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Biden, FDR and the Invention of Television

In a sit-down interview with CBS Evening News’ Katie Couric that aired Sept. 22, Sen. Joe Biden tried to make a historical comparison between political leadership during the trying economic times of today and yesterday. But he got some of his history wrong. Biden told Couric: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.”

There are several things wrong with that statement.

‘Born Alive’ Baloney

Summary
A anti-abortion group is running an ad featuring a woman who says she survived a failed abortion and that "if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here." She's wrong. If she'd been born in Illinois, Illinois law would have protected her with or without the "born alive" legislation that Obama opposed and that this group supports.
 
The Obama campaign countered with its own false ad. It accused McCain of wanting to ban abortions even in cases of rape or incest,

Palin Charging Victims for Rape Kits?

Q: Did Sarah Palin make rape victims pay for their own rape kits?
A: Palin's police chief in Wasilla did that. Whether Palin supported this is not certain.

Biden’s “Patriotic Act”

 A recent McCain-Palin ad titled “Patriotic Act” puts a new twist on some old false claims, then adds a misleading implication, just for good measure. Here’s the ad:

We can start with a list of what the ad does get right:

Joe Biden did indeed say that paying taxes is patriotic.

Actually, that’s pretty much the whole list. The rest of the ad is mostly malarkey, starting with the implication that Biden called it patriotic for most Americans to pay taxes.

Guilt and Associations

Summary

A McCain-Palin ad says that Obama was "born of the corrupt Chicago political machine" and implies that the candidate himself is corrupt by association with four local political figures. But the ad’s implication and many of its supporting details are false. In fact, this is a particularly egregious example of ricochet sliming:

William Daley, the first figure mentioned in the ad, is indeed related to the other famous Chicago Daleys, but he’s never been accused of any wrongdoing.

Health Care and Handguns

What do these two things have in common? Not much, except that we published two stories on the topics Monday evening at FactCheck.org.
First, we looked at an Obama-Biden ad that took McCain’s words on his health care plan and banking regulation out of context:
Out of Context on Health Care
September 22, 2008
Then, we debunked various claims the NRA has been making in fliers and TV ads about Obama’s stance on gun control:
NRA Targets Obama
September 22,

Chicago Cronies

Have you seen that McCain-Palin ad linking Obama to scary, corrupt Chicago powerbrokers? Well, it’s pretty misleading. Outright false in its implication in fact. See our article on FactCheck.org for more on where the ad goes wrong:
Guilt and Associations
September 22, 2008 

NRA Targets Obama

Summary
A National Rifle Association advertising campaign distorts Obama's position on gun control beyond recognition.
The NRA is circulating printed material and running TV ads making unsubstantiated claims that Obama plans to ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.
Much of what the NRA passes off as Obama's "10 Point Plan to 'Change' the Second Amendment" is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he "respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms"

Happy Fall!

 It’s officially here today. Or it was as of 15:43 GMT (that’s 11:43 a.m., if you’re on the East Coast). While you were (we hope) enjoying the last weekend of summer, we here at FactCheck.org were still on the case. On Friday over at our main site, we wrote all about Barack Obama and John McCain’s dueling Spanish ads. Turns out they can mislead in two different languages.
And if you were working late on Friday,

Just the Facts, Home(page) Makeover

We’ve given our Just the Facts! page a bit of a face lift. Be sure to check it out. And don’t forget to tune in every Friday for Emi Kolawole’s weekly vidcast. This week Emi covers school funding, energy policy, Jerome Corsi and war wounds. There’s even some time left over to talk about Sarah Palin and respect.

And while you’re at it, check out our new Hot Topics page. There you’ll find answers to the questions we’re being asked most frequently.