A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Florida Primary Flier Frames Republican

In a primary battle between two House Republicans, a Florida congressman claims in a campaign mailer that his opponent was someone President Barack Obama “counted on” to “approve” stimulus spending. Not really. The mailer’s target, Sandy Adams, is a freshman congresswoman who arrived in Washington nearly two years after the stimulus passed into law.
The flier’s evidence — in fine print — is Adams’ record in the Florida legislature. As a state representative, she voted to approve two state budgets,

Spotlight On: Jim Watson

Jim Watson was immediately skeptical of American Commitment’s attack ad, which he saw on Facebook.
The ad’s narrator claimed Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, voted to increase electricity costs while displaying the text, “Ohio: Electric Bills Will Skyrocket.”

“Like all political ads, the extreme language (skyrocket) and the improbable idea that anyone would actually vote for electric rates to go up, was too much to resist,” Watson wrote to us in an email. “I knew it was an attack ad,

Group Blows Fuse With Electric Bill Claim

A conservative group goes too far in TV ads that claim a new EPA regulation on coal power plants will make Ohio’s electric bills “skyrocket.” Utility officials say it’s too soon to determine how big the impact will be.
Nationally, projections from the Energy Information Administration show only a slight fluctuation in the residential price of electricity over the long run. The EIA factored in the regulation in its projections.
There’s reason to believe there might be more of an impact in price in Ohio,

Spotlight On: Richard Rowlands

Richard Rowlands describes himself as liberal. But he subscribes to several conservative groups’ email lists “just to keep track of what they’re doing and saying.”
One such group is AmeriPAC, which claims in a fundraising email that President Barack Obama is raising gas prices to pay for failed green energy companies.
Rowlands, 70, a retired psychologist who lives in Saco, Maine, forwarded the email to Spin Detectors. We found that AmeriPAC supports its conspiracy theory with misleading claims and twisted facts.

PAC’s Email Spreads Energy Conspiracy Theory

In a fundraising email, a conservative PAC claims President Barack Obama is raising natural gas prices to pay for failed green energy companies. But the letter offers only false claims and twisted facts to support this conspiracy theory.

The email says Solar Trust of America, a now-bankrupt company, received “the second largest loan ever handed out by the Department of Energy.” STA never took a government-backed dime. The firm was conditionally approved for the financing, but ultimately turned it down.

Bachmann Mailer Misrepresents Jobs Report

In a mailer to her constituents, Michele Bachmann incorrectly claims a new trade agreement with South Korea – which she supported — will “create almost 1,000 jobs” in her Minnesota congressional district.
Bachmann misreads a report produced by the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs. The report states that 1,001 jobs in Bachmann’s district already exist because of merchandise exports to South Korea. The association does not predict how many jobs the new pact will add,

Spotlight On: John Heath

John Heath said he’s skeptical of claims that portray the government as incompetent.
So, he was suspicious of a recent Web video produced by Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin. The video depicts a program that subsidizes phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
Heath, 28, uploaded the video to Spin Detectors. We found the video goes too far in its portrayal of the program, calling it “taxpayer funded” when it’s not,

Congressman’s Slippery Cell Phone Claim

A congressman’s Web video goes too far when it portrays a program that subsidizes cell phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
The video also misleadingly claims Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin is “reforming” the program. His proposed legislation — the “Stop Taxpayer-Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011” — actually would eliminate the cell phone subsidy.
Griffin’s video focuses on Lifeline, a federally mandated program that reimburses phone companies with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for each low-income customer who uses a landline or a cell phone.

Group Skews Facts on Obama’s ‘Shameless’ Statements

A group claiming to be backed by veterans has gone too far in a viral Web video that portrays the president as a glory hog after Osama bin Laden’s death.
We cannot dispute the video’s larger point: That President Obama is using Bin Laden’s killing to score political points. But the video – produced by a former Bush-Cheney campaign operative and boasting more than 1 million hits on YouTube — misleads by:

Claiming the Washington Post criticized Obama for having the “Shameless Gall” to score political points.

Spotlight On: Mark DiBiasio

Mark DiBiasio is a registered Republican in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, which means his mailbox is brimming with campaign mailers.
Ten Republicans are trying to win the May 8 primary this year. But one particular candidate, wealthy businessman and former state Sen. Robert Pittenger, is bombarding voters with glossy paper.
“I get half a dozen fliers from him in the same week – sometimes twice a day,” said DiBiasio, 55, an IT consultant who runs a local blog in the Charlotte suburbs.