A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 17-Aug. 23

This week, readers sent us comments about the Pentagon "mosque" and Social Security privatization. Readers also felt our coverage was too local and too pro-Republican, and not too local and not too pro-Republican.
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.

Carnahan Ad Gets VH1-Inspired Treatment

Are you a fan of VH1’s revolutionary "Pop-Up Video" program? And a political junkie? (And maybe even a St. Louis Rams fan?) Well, we have a treat for you.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch website, stltoday.com, has launched a fact-checking effort called "Pop-Up Politics." Last week, reporter Jake Wagman gave the first ad from Democratic Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan the VH1 treatment, sticking factual nuggets in the video of the ad itself, à la the popular music video show.

Sunday Replay

This week’s look at the Sunday talk shows features former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — who was found guilty Aug. 17 of making false statements to the FBI. He appeared on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss his trial. Did Blagojevich make any false statements to Fox host Chris Wallace? In our judgment, yes, more than one.

He claimed a key witness was given immunity, but he’s contradicted by multiple news accounts of that witness swearing under oath that he got no immunity.

‘Privatizing’ Social Security?

In episode 25, we debunk President Obama’s claim that leading Republicans in Congress want to privatize Social Security. Plus, we look at dueling ads from the Pennsylvania Senate race, and we tackle claims related to the controversy over the Islamic center and mosque in New York.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Obama’s (Latest) Social Security Whopper  Aug. 16
Toomey’s Stimulus Charge Doesn’t Add Up  Aug. 13
DSCC Wrong on Toomey’s Wall St.

Outside Ads Mislead in California

In the race for California governor, outside groups supporting Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown are airing new TV ads that mislead voters. An independent group financed by labor unions distorts Whitman’s record as president and chief …

Americans for Job Security

Pro-business group whose president is the former head of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Meek Ad Heeds Fact-Checking?

Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida is out with an ad that rewords an earlier attack on his Senate Democratic primary opponent, Jeff Greene. We had called Meek’s previous ad false for saying Warren Buffett personally criticized Greene. But Meek tweaked the claim in a new ad, and this time he gets pretty close to the truth.

Earlier, Meek’s ads falsely pushed the idea that Warren Buffett said that Greene’s Wall Street dealings were "financial weapons of mass destruction."

DSCC Wrong on Toomey’s Wall St. Experience

A Democratic Party ad says Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was a "Wall Street wheeler dealer" trading in financial products that "wound up nearly destroying our economy." We find that to be false.
The ad also falsely claims that Toomey "wrote the law" that it blames for weakening government oversight of Wall Street. Toomey, a former congressman, did have a hand in the legislation, but he was by no means its principal author.


FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 10-Aug. 16

This week, readers sent us comments about Social Security privatization, Medicare competitive bidding and our supposedly rightward tilt.
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.

No Pentagon Mosque

Q: Is there a mosque inside the Pentagon?
A: The Pentagon has a non-denominational chapel that holds services for employees who follow various religions.