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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Sept. 4-10

This week, readers sent us a few comments about our fact-checks of the Democratic and Republican conventions. We also received several thank you notes.

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.


Corporate Taxes and Jobs

I noticed you discussed my study in your discussion of last week’s Obama/Biden speeches [“FactChecking Obama and Biden,” Sept. 7]. However, there are in turn a few factual inaccuracies in your analysis.

First, my original analysis does not actually focus on “pure” territorial tax systems, despite some confusing wording on my part. I based my 800,000 estimate on “hybrid” territorial systems in place in countries presently.

Second, your article implies that experts generally disagree with the idea that a territorial system would cause job growth in low-tax countries, which is not the case. All you have cited on the other side is a critique by the corporate-financed Tax Foundation.

Experts disagree with each other on the wisdom of adopting a territorial system; that is true. But few think that exempting foreign income from taxation would not lead to job creation in low-tax countries; they just vary in terms of whether they think the policy is justified overall.

Many of the proponents of such a system want it precisely because it would increase the “competitiveness” of US MNCs [multi-national corporations] by enabling them to pay lower taxes on their foreign income in low-tax countries; this is clearly an incentive to increase activity in low-tax countries.

Kimberly Clausing
Miller and Mintz professor of economics
Reed College
Portland, Ore.

FactCheck.org responds: We have corrected our article to reflect that the study was based on a “hybrid” and not “pure” territorial system.


A Fact-Checker’s Nightmare

By titling your fact-checking of [Bill] Clinton’s speech [“Our Clinton Nightmare,” Sept. 6], it is terribly misleading and outright dishonest. It implies that it was a nightmare because there were so many misleading statements. It does not matter that you disclaim by saying it was a nightmare to go through all of the numbers. It should have been named “A fact checkers Nightmare – Clinton’s detailed speech.” It is becoming more and more apparent that you are clearly appearing to be biased. Your sarcasm and constant editorializing is muddying up the ability for any open-minded person to decide for themselves what the truth is by the facts you have presented. In the future, it is probably going to be essential to turn to another source for the truth. Although MediaMatters.org goes after the right in print and on TV, at least everything that is done is documented and speaks for itself without editorializing and cherry picking.

Richard York
Boston, Mass.


The ‘Apology’ Tour

In your recent article [“Romney’s Sorry ‘Apology’ Dig,” Aug. 31], I must disagree with your analysis. While, yes, Obama didn’t use the words sorry or apology in the speech, the tone of the overall speech, the themes of the speeches, and the message the administration sent during the “tour,” were conciliatory. Obama let it be known during that time that he was going to Europe to make amends for America’s alleged past misdealings.

Obama’s own words — “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” — not only show a basic lack of understanding of what has actually transpired in world politics, but is an implicit apology for America’s perceived actions. Let’s not get into the fact that the statement lacks any basis in fact. America has not been dismissive or derisive of Europe at all. The only point he was trying to make in this speech was “we are sorry we went into Iraq on our own and didn’t bow to the whim of the UN.” Did he say that exactly, no. Was that the message delivered, absolutely. It was an apology tour, and even the administration itself has never fully refuted that categorization.

In general, I love your site, but just wanted to show my disagreement with your reasoning on this one.

Brian Markowitz
Morganville, N.J.


Letters of Appreciation

I just wanted to jot off a quick note of THANKS from a frustrated registered independent. I have been drowning in posts from polarized friends on Facebook, with mudslinging on both sides, and have been searching for something balanced and honest about the hard truths facing this nation and its economy. So, from the deepest part of my patriotic heart, THANK YOU for all that you and your organization do to present concise, digestible information for the concerned voters of this country. I finally feel like I can start to make an informed decision about this election in November.

Deborah Cates
Davis, Calif.


Thank you so much for all your efforts to reveal the facts. In the muddled up, mixed up world of politics, it is so refreshing to know where to find the truth, not the partial truth or the sort of truth, but real nonpartisan facts.

Cindy Withrow
Charleston, W.Va.


I want to thank the Factcheck.org webpage founders/administrators for giving me such a wonderful resource. Further, I always tell people I speak to doing political party phone banking, that are undecided or unsure, that FactCheck.org is a reliable nonpartisan resource they can go to. I nearly always get a thank you for that.

Dean Riley,
Chatham, Pa.


I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate the hard work you and your people do. Honesty is something that no longer exists in politics and I’m glad you keep it to “just the facts.” Ernie Pyle is spinning in his grave over the shameful profession we call, journalism. Keep up the great work. You are very appreciated!

Kathleen Norris
Mishawaka, Ind.


I just wanted to show my appreciation for the hard work that is put into this site. I consider myself bipartisan, looking for the truth to make the best decision possible as a voter. I feel like I can come to this site and get the analysis that helps make voters like me have an informed vote that cuts through the political garbage that both sides sling. Again, thank you. I hope this site is the first step towards a smarter American vote and the first step in holding politicians accountable for what they say.

Dustin Slayer
Ashland, Ky.