A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 24-Aug. 30


This week, readers sent us comments about Social Security, health insurance premiums, deportation and party pedestals.

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.

Social Security Naivete

I find your article on Social Security to be hopelessly naive ["Obama’s (Latest) Social Security Whopper," Aug. 16]. The Republican Party has never fundamentally supported Social Security. The program does not jive with their political philosophy. They only support it because it is the politically wise thing to do – for now.

So their approach is to undermine confidence, building support for "change." Then they will be able to bring it down, gradually, chipping away one bit at a time.

Carol Kemp
Crossville, Tenn.

Data Point on Health Premiums

I am very concerned about comments that you made in this email regarding health insurance premiums ["Misdirection from Crossroads GPS," Aug. 30]. It is stated: “But that’s not true for the large majority, who are likely to see somewhat lower premiums…” You better be careful in your fact checking…my wife’s company (7,000 employee health care systems company) is increasing its health insurance premium costs for the employee/spouse (not family) category by $600+ per year starting in 2011. That is doubling the cost paid previously paid by the employee!!!! So I don’t think health care premiums are going down…they are going UP. This is the first lie attributable to the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress concerning the health care legislation that I can personally attest to (they said that with Obamacare health insurance premiums would decrease).

Your credibility is certainly at stake when misinformation is presented. Who are we really able to believe????

Dennis G. Ortega
King City, Ore.

FactCheck.org responds: The "lower premiums" we mentioned were, as the story stated, "relative to current law." In other words, the Congressional Budget Office expects them to rise less for the large-group market once the law takes effect than they would have risen otherwise, in the absence of legislation. For the most part, the law hasn’t yet been implemented. The major changes for individual and employer insurance don’t go into effect until 2014.

Bad Facts, Good Point?

The point of that email was that all three presidents had actively deported illegal aliens — which is an historical fact ["Hoover, Truman & Ike: Mass Deporters?," July 9].

But you focused on whether the statistics in the email were accurate or not, and determined that the email was “bogus” and “a distortion of history,” because the statistics were not correct.

That in itself is a distortion.

We expect better from you: more honesty and more objectivity. We expect facts, not distortions and opinions.

Please print a correction.

Janet Dight
Perry, Kan.

FactCheck.org responds: We offered no opinion. We said the e-mail’s central claim — which was that a president could easily deport all the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the U.S. — "is a conclusion based on false evidence." The truth is, as we said, "No relocation effort nearly so large has ever been attempted." We leave it to our readers to decide whether or not all illegal immigrants should be deported. We do hope they will choose to base their opinions on accurate information.

No Sacred Cows

I was motivated to write by Linda Heimer’s letter in the August 23rd mailbag. Isn’t it funny how people cry "partisan!" when they see news items they don’t like? No one party is immune to fact-twisting, and we all just need to stop putting our party of choice on a pedestal. Thank you for all that you do, whether I like what you’re reporting on or not. I appreciate that you stick to the simple facts of statements and don’t try to decide which way is right. I think that makes you non-partisan all by itself. Again, thanks for showing us the facts!!

Robin Spoehr
Syracuse, N.Y.