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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Feb. 14-20

This week, readers sent us comments about Spin Detectors, Rick Santorum’s fiscal conservatism, the economics of green energy investments, and “inflammatory” arguments in FactCheck.org articles.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.


Great Idea!

This Spin Detectors idea is a great one. There are so many lies on the Internet and in campaigns and political statements. It is no wonder the American people do not trust their elected officials — they lie to them. And then we have the NUTS that send a lot of this HATE email. I do not want the government running the Internet, but something needs to be done about the hate email. Thank you for the great work you do. You really need to send a copy of your work to every broadcast station and every newspaper in the country. If we all worked together, and the liars knew they would be caught and exposed, we just might get some truthfulness back into campaigns, and even on the Internet.

Don Hoagland
St. Louis, Mo.


Santorum’s Fiscal Conservatism

Your recent fact-check [“Romney’s ‘Fiscal Conservative’ Whopper,” Feb. 18] claimed that Romney is wrong to call Rick Santorum a false fiscal conservative because his spending habits were rated above average by the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. But that’s like saying that because smoking is less likely to kill you than cyanide, it must be safe. I believe that this factoid says something about how defunct Washington has become. It is absurd that a senator who racked up billions in earmarks is considered outstandingly frugal by no less than the same interest groups who are supposed to be policing this sort of thing.

Evan Zimmerman
Los Angeles, Calif.


Green Energy’s Long-term Economics

In your article [“Wind Spin,” Feb. 9], I was a little disappointed that you didn’t discuss some of the other reasons why the government would want to encourage green energy. All you talked about was short-term economics. For this debate, the most important subjects are long-term. What about the health and environmental effects of burning fossil fuels? These are real costs and they affect everyone on the planet. It seems that much of the media tends to ignore this because it is hard, or because the fossil fuel industry is more effective in changing the dialogue into short-term gains. We can’t afford to ignore this.

Peter Ruckle
Tuscon, Ariz.


Arguing Over Semantics

I thought FactCheck.org was about presenting facts in an unbiased manner. I have been disturbed with how the most inflammatory of your anti-Obama headlines are now picked up as teasers on major email/headline sources. The latest? [“Obama’s Trillion-Dollar Exaggeration,” Feb. 15]. Only in the LAST paragraph of that article do you mention the point he is trying to make with his admittedly incorrect wording — what the tax cuts have really COST the U.S. in lost revenue, and also in the interest incurred on the increased debt they required, which is a true COST.

Everything but the last paragraph of that article seemed quite inflammatory to me, about what is basically semantics. I bemoan the need for those misleading semantics. It’s a sorry state of politics and what happens when politicians must pander to a population that responds only to inflammatory and harsh statements. The public is getting worse and worse about understanding complicated explanations, and seems to respond best to those who screech loudest and in the most derogatory terms, and this has been proven to be a fact. Studies show that dirty politics WINS, and, sadly, you seem to be playing right into that.

Kathy Huddle-Hall
Mansfield, Texas


It looks to me like you are arguing over semantics in your put down. It will take action to change the expiring Bush tax cuts to allow them to remain in effect for those workers making less than $250,000. Did you really miss that point? Your organization is looking more partisan by the day. How about you just stick to the facts and ensure the variables are addressed when they exist as they exist.

Bernard Everett
Richmond, Va.