A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Census Nonsense

Q: Do I have to answer Census questions? Isn’t this an invasion of privacy and a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

A: A widely circulated anti-Census commentary makes several false claims. The law requires truthful answers and states that they will be kept confidential. Courts have upheld its constitutionality.

Georgia Arms

 Q: Did the Obama administration shut down a Georgia ammunition supplier? Is it trying to create an ammo shortage?
A: Georgia Arms still is doing a booming business in reloaded military cartridges. The Pentagon quickly reversed a move to stop selling spent casings.

‘Godless Dollars’

Q: Did the government issue new dollar coins without the words "In God We Trust"?
A: Congress ordered the words to be stamped on the edges of the coins, but an unknown number of "Godless dollars" were produced by mistake.

Burned Bibles?

Q: Did the Obama administration burn soldiers’ Bibles?
A: The military destroyed Bibles printed in Afghan languages to prevent distribution to local Muslims. But it happened during the Bush administration.

Oklahoma’s Conservativism

Q: Is Oklahoma as defiantly conservative as a chain e-mail says?
A: The state is one of the most Republican in the nation, but the message exaggerates Oklahoma’s laws on religion, immigration and guns.

Crime to Denounce Homosexuality?

Q: Would the "hate crimes" bill make it a crime to denounce homosexuality from the pulpit and give legal protection to pedophiles?
A: No on both counts. The First Amendment is still operative, and pedophiles would get no breaks under this bill.

Misquoting Yamamoto

Advocates of gun rights often argue that in World War II Japan was deterred from invading the U.S. mainland by a fear of American citizens with guns in their closets. They frequently quote Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto as saying: "You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."
But this quote is unsubstantiated and almost certainly bogus, even though it has been repeated thousands of times in various Internet postings.

Obama on FOCA, 2.0

Is Obama shying away from the Freedom of Choice Act?
When CNN correspondent Ed Henry asked the president about his current thinking on FOCA at last night’s White House press conference, Obama used very different language than he did during the campaign.
In 2008, as we noted in our Ask FactCheck item on FOCA, Obama told a Planned Parenthood audience: "The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Now that’s the first thing I’d do."

Obama at Georgetown

Q: Did Obama ask Georgetown University to remove all religious symbols before he would speak there?
A: A religious symbol was covered at the Catholic and Jesuit institution after the White House asked for a neutral TV backdrop.

Counting Mexico’s Guns

There’s no dispute that thousands of handguns, military-style rifles and other firearms are purchased in the U.S. and end up in the hands of Mexican criminals each year. It’s relatively easy to buy such guns legally in Texas and other border states and to smuggle them across. But is …