A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Abortion and Jobs Numbers

In episode 6 of our podcast, we explain the controversy over abortion and federal funds in the health care law, unemployment statistics touted by the White House, and a long-running April Fools’ hoax.
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For more on the stories discussed in this episode see:
The Abortion Issue April 1
Optimistic Job Stats April 5
April Fools’ … Still April 1

Jumping to Conclusions About Census Participation

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is fearful that "blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives" is affecting the rate at which conservatives return their 2010 Census forms. So concerned that he wrote an op-ed for RedState, a conservative news blog, where he claimed that "[e]arly census returns are showing that conservatives have been measurably less likely than liberals to return their census forms." But as our friends at Politifact wrote, there currently isn’t any evidence to support the claim.

Massey’s Mining Money

The West Virginia coal mining disaster that took more than two dozen lives this week brought Massey Energy Corp., the nation’s fourth largest coal company, into the spotlight. The company and its CEO, Don Blankenship, have never been shy about involvement in the political process. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Massey’s political action committee plus individuals associated with the commpany have given more than $307,000 in all to federal candidates since the 1990 election cycle.

Obama’s ‘Private Army’

Q: Did the new health care law give Obama a Nazi-like “private army” of 6,000 people?
A: No. Contrary to false Internet rumors, the new Ready Reserve Corps of doctors and other health workers will report to the surgeon general and be like the “ready reserves” in other uniformed services. They will be used during health emergencies.

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 30-April 5

This week, readers sent us comments about the Census, partisan language and context.
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.

Optimistic Job Stats

Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, talked jobs with NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory on Sunday. The interview came a few days after the release of encouraging numbers — employment rose by 162,000 in March, the biggest one-month increase in three years. A few of Romer’s optimistic comments, though, could use some context.
Even though the number of Americans with jobs went up, the unemployment rate — 9.7 percent —

IRS Agents, Health Care and Student Loans

In Episode 5 of our podcast, we look into Republican claims that the new health care law will require the IRS to hire 16,500 agents — and GOP Rep. Ron Paul’s assertion that they’d all be carrying guns. We also discuss health care ads from liberals and conservatives, and claims about the federal student loan program.
(Click the play button below to listen to the podcast. Or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.)
 

The Abortion Issue

Q: What are the facts regarding the new health insurance law’s federal funding for abortion, or lack of it?
A: The law says individuals who get federal subsidy dollars must use their private money to pay for coverage of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Claims that the new law will lead to a large increase in the number of abortions lack support.

April Fools’… Still

In view of today’s date, we’d like to pay tribute to the longest-running and most successful April Fools’ hoax we’ve yet encountered.
In the spring of 2009, a chain e-mail started circulating with claims of a "smoking gun" proving President Obama was a foreigner.

AP- WASHINGTON D.C. – In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama’s qualifications for the presidency, the group “Americans for Freedom of Information” has released copies of President Obama’s college transcripts from Occidental College.

Overstated Stats

Congressional Republicans appearing on CBS’ "Face the Nation" repeated a couple of false claims we’ve talked about before.
The first guest, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, inflated some statistics when he talked about opposition to the health care bill. His claim, that 60 percent of Americans support repealing the bill, was immediately countered by host Bob Schieffer, who pointed out: "Well, you know, a new poll out this morning in the Washington Post does not suggest that a majority of Americans are against this,