A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

100 Days of Spin

After 100 days in office, we find President Obama is sticking to the facts – mostly. Nevertheless, we find that the president has occasionally made claims that put him and his policies in a better light than the facts warrant. He has claimed that private economists agreed with the forecast in …

An Unlawful Congress?

Q: Have 84 members of Congress been arrested for drunk driving in the last year? Have seven been arrested for fraud?
A: We judge these statistics to be not credible. They originated nearly a decade ago with a Web site that still refuses to provide any proof or documentation, or even to name those accused.

Social Security for Immigrants and Refugees

Q: Do immigrants and refugees get more in benefits than a retired U.S. citizen gets in Social Security?
A: This is nonsense. The claims propagated by a viral e-mail are not even close to the truth.

Slavery Reparations?

Q: Would a bill in Congress require looking into possible reparations for slavery?
A: Such a bill exists but President Obama has nothing to do with it, contrary to what a chain e-mail implies.

Obama’s Prime Time Pitch

President Obama sometimes strayed from the facts or made dubious claims during his hour-long evening news conference March 24. He said his budget projections are based on economic assumptions that “are perfectly consistent with what Blue Chip forecasters out there are saying.” Not true. The average projection by leading …

FDR’s “Voluntary” Social Security

Q: Did FDR promise that Social Security would be voluntary? Did Democrats end tax deductions for Social Security withholding?
A: Social Security has never been voluntary and taxes paid to support it have never been deductible from federal income taxes. A widely e-mailed "history lesson" gets nearly all its facts wrong.

‘Blame Dodd’ Attacks Ignore Facts

Some Republicans have been quick to blame Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut for allowing big bonus payments to AIG executives. They get the facts backward. The public record shows Dodd authored an amendment that would have prevented “any bonus” being paid to top executives of firms getting bailout money …

AIG Campaign Donations

Q: Did AIG give $100,000 to Obama?
A: AIG employees gave $104,332 to Obama during the 2008 campaign, the most to any candidate. They also gave heavily to McCain, who was third on their list.

Fact Checking Obama’s Speech

President Obama’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was stuffed with signals about the new direction his budget will take and meant-to-be reassuring words about the economy. But it was also peppered with exaggerations and factual misstatements. He said “we import more oil today than ever …

Gun Control

Q: Is Congress going to require a federal license to own a handgun?
A: A Chicago congressman’s bill, H.R. 45, would require that, but it has little support. The same bill died quietly in a House subcommittee last year.