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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 2-March 8

This week, readers sent us comments about our new podcast, balanced journalism and Starbucks Liqueur.

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.

FactCheck Radio

Good idea, your new podcast. My name suggestion: "The Factcheck Onceover" — for whatever it’s worth. Keep up the good work.

Tom Dawson
Pacific Palisades, Calif.

I’m very happy to see that a podcast is being started, but please provide a way to download an .mp3 file, rather than just a flash player to stream it from the browser. I listen to podcasts on the bus, not while sitting at my desk.

Jason Viers
Cleveland, Ohio

FactCheck.org responds: We’ll be putting episodes on iTunes soon for your bus-listening pleasure.

"Balance" Unfair

The analysis you accepted on derivatives dating back to Biblical times ["Extras: Biblical Derivatives, Teleprompters and Pelosi’s Plane," Feb. 23] goes beyond the obsessional hair splitting style that FactCheck often adopts to try to find some truth or merit on each side of an issue. This mistaken style of "balance" has plagued American journalism for over 2 decades and has allowed the discourse over politics in the US to descend into near meaninglessness. One can argue that derivatives had some history preceding what was described in the article. Those derivatives were quite different in structure, content and consequence from the large scale derivatives that surely played a large role in our economic problems. That was and is the issue there, not the "truth" of the historical analyses.

FactCheck would do well to avoid such foolish and tragic "balance."

David W. Wilson
Kennett Square, Pa.

Reffing Cheney and Biden

Good work on your fact-checking of the battle between Cheney and Biden ["Dick Cheney vs. Joe Biden," Feb. 17]. I avoid making up my mind on anything on TV, especially numbers quoted, until I have a chance to visit FactCheck. I have never seen anything like the misinformation we get today in the media. You really can’t believe anything you hear or see, and that’s why a site like yours is so valuable. Can’t thank you enough.

Joyce Heard
Cadiz, Ky.

Liquor Stickler

There’s one skipped relevant-to-the-statement-but-not-to-the-overall-piece fact in regard to this sentence ["Pelosi’s Party Plane?," Mar. 4]:

"There’s some variation in particular brands — we never saw a Hastert CODEL stock Starbuck’s coffee liqueur, as Pelosi’s April 2007 trip did."

Starbucks Liqueur wasn’t available for most of the Hastert reign, as it went into general release in February 2005 (there was apparently some test marketing earlier.)

Nat Gertler
Camarillo, Calif.

Guidance for Misguided Friends

I am delighted to have found your site. It is wonderful to be able to send information that has your stamp of authentic research to people who believe hoaxes such as the claim that Obama isn’t a native born U.S. citizen, etc.

I’ll pass on your site to friends, misguided or not!

Judy Fishman
Scottsdale, Ariz.