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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 16-March 22

This week, readers sent us comments about congressional ethics and the politics of the next generation.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Context vs. Bias

I have been a fan of FactCheck for some time and have recommended to friends as one of the few places where there is unbiased reporting on the nonsense coming from Washington. This made it especially troubling to hear Episode 3 of your podcast ["A Bogus Ad on Breast Cancer, Rove vs. Brokaw, and Pelosi’s Promise," March 18], which seemed rather obviously biased in favor of the ethics of Democrats by describing the prior Republican-dominated years as a "swamp" while Nancy Pelosi did not clean things up much because she is only "human." Please give the facts, let the listener decide who should be cut some slack.

David Fox
Glendale, Calif.

In the story "RNC: The Dems’ Ethical Embarrassments" [March 12], you deemed it necessary to "balance" the Dems’ slip ups with 2- to 6-year-old GOP slip ups (both equal in that they were less than ethical/moral). While true in the presentation, the subject was what is current and directly related to Pelosi’s statement: Pelosi, Nov. 7, 2006: The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.

To insert a counterpoint here smacks of "balancing" an issue by inserting a "well, you did too" opinion/fact check irrelevant to the issue of Pelosi’s claim of leading the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history. In history, does mean the most open, honest and most ethical of all time, doesn’t it?

Without your investigation of over 200 years of congressional ethics, you have simply said, "nanny nanny boo boo, you have too," but to whom? And for what reason?

The Pelosi-era Congress is not the most honest or the most ethical. And, certainly, not the most open. While we all know that RNC and DNC ads are always slanted, there is also no need to "balance" an ad from either side by you. I thought you were checking facts for dishonest or exaggerated statements? Am I wrong?

FactCheck has been my primary source rebutting untrue "facts" and gross exaggerations. Am I now to expect more of your irrelevant insertions? If so, you have the burden to produce counterpoints to every assertion by anyone. Not an interesting read by anyone.

Richard Young
Deer Island, Ore.

Why do you feel that you need to use the fact that Dennis Hastert spent as much as Pelosi as the excuse for her spending? ["Pelosi’s Party Plane?," March 4]

Hastert did not say that he wanted to clean up the corruption in Congress but Pelosi did. Besides, waste is waste. Two wrongs do not make it right. Perhaps you are not as "objective" or "fair and balanced" as you try to make believe.

Cynthia Hsieh
San Jose, Calif.


Thanks, From the Twins

I just wanted to say thank you for creating a site where I feel comfortable getting "news" from.  After seeing the horrific display last night of commentary and opinions between Fox and MSNBC on the health care plan, I wished there was a station based SOLELY on the knowledge that you provide.

My husband and I often say, "We just want the facts, we can make our own judgements." Now even more so that we’re expecting twins! In fact, I joked this morning that since I felt one of them kick for the first time last night that we must have one Democrat and one Republican inside, but he said, "I hope we have two kids that check the facts!" Needless to say, I hope that your site will continue to prosper and grow for the generations to come!

Sue Majchrzak
Lockport, Ill.