A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Obama Birth Chronicles, Chapter CCXCVIII

The latest development in the saga of the so-called "birther" challenges to Barack Obama’s presidency comes from Hawaii, Obama’s native state. Yesterday, Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law allowing state agencies to ignore requests for information if they determine the requests duplicate or are substantially similar to earlier ones. The law targets those who contend Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. and thus, under the Constitution, can’t be president; they still are sending 10 to 20 e-mails every week asking the state’s Health Department for verification of his birth certificate.

Critz, Burns Swap False Charges

In the final days of the May 18 special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns have escalated their attacks on each other in TV ads chock full of false and misleading claims. Critz wrongly accuses Burns of wanting to “privatize Medicare and Social Security.” But …

Does Immigration Cost Jobs?

Do immigrants take American jobs? It’s a common refrain among those who want to tighten limits on legal immigration and deny a “path to citizenship” — which they call “amnesty” — to the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. There’s even a new Reclaim American Jobs Caucus in the House …

A False Hit on Bobby Bright

A new National Republican Congressional Committee ad falsely claims that Rep. Bobby Bright, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, "is supporting" President Obama’s health care legislation. He’s not. The fact is, Bright was one of the few Democrats who voted against it, and he favors changing certain aspects that he calls "deeply flawed."

Bright was strongly opposed to the law and said he was "disappointed" and "saddened" by its passage:

Bright, March 22: I voted against the health care reform bill because our country cannot afford its massive cost,

Just the Facts 2010: Mis-tweets

Both Republicans and Democrats are using Twitter to spread false and misleading claims. In this episode, we take a look at mis-tweets from both parties.

Benton’s Bogus Viagra Ad

Don Benton, a Republican from Washington state who is running for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, is airing a false and misleading ad that says: "Patty Murray voted to use taxpayer money to give Viagra to sex offenders.” The ad goes on to say, “What if I told you your taxpayer dollars are already doing that?”
It ends by urging viewers to “tell Patty Murray that you’re sick of her reckless spending.”

In a graphic on screen,

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of May 4-May 10

This week, readers sent us comments about the National Day of Prayer, climate science "tricks" and FactCheck’s Webby Awards.
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.


A union-sponsored ad charges that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s support of "unfair" trade deals "made it impossible for American workers to compete." But several economic studies say trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, have had a small impact, or even a positive one, on American jobs.

As we said last week, this ad starts with a true claim about union workers at a Cooper Tire plant making wage concessions to ward off a threatened closure.

Sunday Shows and TARP Claims

In episode 10 of FactCheck Radio, we puncture claims from the Sunday shows about immigration and BP’s regulatory receptiveness, and talk about some misleading allegations involving TARP.
(Click the play button below to listen to the podcast. Or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.)
For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Sunday Replay May 3
General Motors’ Debt May 3
Over the Top on TARP April 30
A Big Webby Win for FactCheck May 4

Labor, More So Than Lincoln, Saved Arkansas Jobs

In the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary, an ad from Sen. Blanche Lincoln claims that "she saved 1,700 Cooper Tire employees from losing their jobs to Chinese imports." But a labor union supporting her more liberal opponent countered with an ad in which a Cooper Tire worker says: "We saved our own jobs and we had to take big pay cuts to do it." We find the labor claim to be true, and Lincoln’s to be a bit of an exaggeration.