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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Our Angry Readers

We’d like to respond to readers who disliked our article on Social Security’s red ink.
We’ve received dozens of complaints and criticisms, expressing disappointment and sometimes outright anger at our finding that Social Security is in fact contributing to the federal deficit, and that some Democrats are making a false claim when they assert it doesn’t contribute "one penny." ("Democrats Deny Social Security’s Red Ink," Feb. 25.)
Readers accused us variously of being stupid, ignorant, misleading,

Democrats Deny Social Security’s Red Ink

Some senior Democrats are claiming that Social Security does not contribute “one penny” to the federal deficit. That’s not true. The fact is, the federal government had to borrow $37 billion last year to finance Social Security, and will need to borrow more this year.

Tax Cuts, Social Security and Health Care

In episode 40 of our podcast, we tell you about President Obama’s false assertion about Social Security, wrong claims about the Bush tax cuts from both parties and yet another Internet rumor about the health care law.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Obama’s Social Security Stumble  Dec. 8
Sunday Replay  Dec. 6
Health Care Law Waivers  Dec. 7

Obama’s Social Security Stumble

President Barack Obama rewrote the history of the Social Security system during a Dec. 7 press conference, claiming that only widows and orphans originally benefited from the program. Obama was defending a deal the administration reached recently with congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans for another two years:

Obama, Dec. 7: And that means because it’s a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done,

Sunday Replay

Americans are worried about money – the government’s as well as their own – and the Sunday talk shows reflected that concern. We had a few bones to pick with their guests when it came to discussion of earmarks, the housing market and Social Security. And however one defines that murky term "middle class," we’re confident it doesn’t include 98 percent of the population. 
Did Dems Cut Earmarks in Half?
On "Fox News Sunday,"

Down-to-the-Wire Deceptions

Attack ads, and the misinformation that comes with them, continue to swamp the airwaves. In fact, spending on ads in these midterm elections could top $3 billion, said Evan Tracey, whose Kantar Media-owned Campaign Media Analysis Group tracks political ads running nationwide. That cracks the $2.7 billion spent in 2008 – when a presidential race as well as the usual congressional ones were eating up airtime.
A brief rundown of some misleading assaults we’ve found in the last few days:
DSCC Hits Murkowski
Among other things,

Whoppers of Campaign 2010

Midterm elections are an embarrassment of riches for fact-checkers — this year more than others. With Democrats fighting desperately to keep control of the House and Senate, and a torrent of money from corporations and other undisclosed …

Toss-ups: Nevada

In the Nevada Senate race, the state’s economy — it has the highest unemployment in the country — has prompted two new ads that deal with illegal immigration. Republican challenger Sharron Angle falsely claims Sen. Harry Reid voted to …

Health Care, Social Security and Vietnam

In episode 30 of our podcast, we look at deceptive ads from a conservative group on the new health care law, misleading spots on Social Security from Democrats, and a false claim about a GOP House candidate and draft dodging.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Misleading Onslaught by 60 Plus  Sept. 17
Social Security: (Mostly) in Their Own Words  Sept. 21
Patriotism Falsely Impugned  Sept. 22

Social Security: (Mostly) in Their Own Words

Call it senior scare. In race after race, Democrats running for Congress are using their opponents’ criticisms of Social Security against them — sometimes accurately, and sometimes not: Rep. Steve Kagen’s ad accurately quotes Reid Ribble …