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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Warned About bin Laden?

Q: Did Oliver North warn Al Gore about Osama bin Laden at Senate hearings in 1987?
A: This ridiculous hoax has been circulating since 2001, even though the secretary of the U.S. Senate and North himself have debunked it.

April 30, 2009

The Spanish Flu of 1918 is the most deadly in recent history. Twenty to 40 million people worldwide died from the disease.
Source: National Institutes of Health

Helen Was Right … and So Was Gibbs

When we posted a FactCheck Wire item last week about a dispute between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and longtime correspondent Helen Thomas, we were surprised that Gibbs didn’t know President Obama had taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago’s law school. That’s a fact that had come up many times during the campaign, after all, including during a kerfuffle about whether Obama had the right to call himself a "professor."
Well, sometimes you have to walk a story back so far it falls off a cliff.

Obama on FOCA, 2.0

Is Obama shying away from the Freedom of Choice Act?
When CNN correspondent Ed Henry asked the president about his current thinking on FOCA at last night’s White House press conference, Obama used very different language than he did during the campaign.
In 2008, as we noted in our Ask FactCheck item on FOCA, Obama told a Planned Parenthood audience: "The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Now that’s the first thing I’d do."

Government-Run Health Care?

A group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights began airing a television ad this week that criticizes government-run health care and falsely suggests Congress wants a British-style system here in the U.S. The ad neglects to mention that President Obama hasn’t proposed a government-run plan and, in fact …

100 Days of Spin

After 100 days in office, we find President Obama is sticking to the facts – mostly. Nevertheless, we find that the president has occasionally made claims that put him and his policies in a better light than the facts warrant. He has claimed that private economists agreed with the forecast in …

Swine Flu Fact and Fiction

You can’t spell "pandemic" without "panic," and news about swine flu has put people in a tizzy. As with any tizzy, this has resulted in some misinformation getting mixed in with the real-time updates. We present a few misconceptions about swine flu that we’ve seen or heard in the last few days.
1. You can get swine flu from eating pork.
No more than you can get avian flu from eating birds, human flu from eating humans,

Specter’s Statistic on the Switch

Sen. Arlen Specter’s remarks about changing political parties contained one statement that tripped our fact-checking radar: "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats."
Two hundred thousand people in one state changing their political colors from red to blue? Could it be true? Unfortunately, there’s no way to be certain. That’s because, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State, "Pennsylvania’s voter registration form does not require the registrant to specify from which party they are changing."

April 29, 2009

More than 36,000 people die from influenza each year in the U.S., and 200,000 others are hospitalized because of the illness.
Source: National Institutes of Health

April 28, 2009

In countries with high rates of malaria, the disease accounts for up to 40 percent of public health expenditures and up to 60 percent of outpatient health clinic visits.
Source: World Health Organization