A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Let the Distortions Begin

It has been seven whole weeks now since the midterms, and – like you, perhaps – we’ve enjoyed watching football and “Glee” uninterrupted by campaign ads. But that doesn’t mean there’s no campaigning going on. Potential Republican presidential aspirants …

Cash Attack Conference

On Monday, FactCheck.org hosted a post-election conference on political advertising in the 2010 election by outside groups. Our liberal and conservative panelists played some TV ads to illustrate their points – and we couldn’t resist pointing out that we had found a few of them to be misleading. Here’s what we said about some of those ads:

"Crumble,” by California Working Families for Jerry Brown. The ad, funded by a coalition of labor unions, criticizes Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s years as CEO of eBay.

Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

President Barack Obama’s recent announcement to freeze the pay of federal civilian workers did little to ice the debate over whether federal workers are overpaid or underpaid. … Both sides are armed with official government statistics, but neither side is right. …

Tax Cuts and Americans: It’s Complicated

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell misrepresented public opinion about the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of the year. In his weekly remarks Nov. 20, he made this unequivocal statement:

McConnell, Nov. 20: Americans don’t think we should be raising taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession.

But American opinion on the Bush tax cuts is not as clear as McConnell portrays it. Of five recent polls, only one shows a majority favored extending the tax cut for all Americans.

Pelosi Pablum on ‘Fiscal Discipline’

In a Nov. 9 opinion piece for USA Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented a lengthy list of Democratic accomplishments since assuming control of the House and Senate in January 2007 — including "restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress." That one stopped us.
The fact is the federal government ended fiscal year 2009 with a $1.4 trillion deficit — the highest deficit as a share of the gross domestic product since 1945. And it only dipped slightly to $1.3 trillion in the fiscal year that just ended on Sept.

Stimulus Jobs in China?

In a bit of political payback, several Republicans are running false or misleading TV ads accusing their opponents of shipping jobs to China — a charge that Democrats have frequently and often incorrectly leveled against Republicans. …

Tortured ‘Terror Ties’ in West Virginia

In a TV ad based on innuendos and half-truths, a GOP challenger accuses his Lebanese American opponent, Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, of taking campaign cash from “a convicted terrorist” and “a group with terror ties.”

Rahall is a Presbyterian whose grandparents immigrated from Lebanon. The ad by his Republican opponent, Spike Maynard, first aired Oct. 20 in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. It also claims Rahall is "bad for America," attempting to tie Rahall to terrorism using the classic guilt-by-association fallacy.

Tall Tax Tales

Republican Sharron Angle says in a TV ad that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid “voted to raise taxes” 300 times. A “staggering 300 times.” He didn’t. We reviewed the 304 votes provided by the Angle campaign and found its final tally was padded …

Toss-ups: Pennsylvania Cash Attack

Two independent groups are spending heavily in the Pennsylvania Senate race, and we find both are airing TV ads that go a bit too far: VoteVets.org, a left-leaning veterans group, is up with an ad that claims Republican Pat Toomey supports letting Wall Street …

Sunday Replay

This week, we resolve two disputes about who said what, and find that a government report cited as support for a charge about ineffective government programs is nonexistent.
NBC’s "Meet the Press" hosted a debate between Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and the Republican who is trying to unseat him, tea party favorite Ken Buck. We’re reviewing their exchange, and, if we find they have their facts wrong, we’ll post a piece on Tuesday.
Did He Say That?