A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Fun with Deficit Statistics

Q: Is it true that this year’s deficit is greater than the total taxable income of Americans earning more than $100,000?
A: No, it’s not true. The statistic comes from a Wall Street Journal editorial, which has been corrected.

Ryan’s Muddy Medicare Claims

Rep. Paul Ryan’s claim that Medicare will be "bankrupt in nine years" goes too far. The trust fund that primarily supports one part of Medicare is projected to be exhausted come 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees said it might not actually happen until 2029. That still doesn’t mean the system will be "bankrupt," though.
The House Budget Committee chairman was making the case for his 2012 budget proposal,

A Big, Fat Mistake

Mike Huckabee cited a bloated statistic, claiming obesity disqualifies three out of four young Americans from military service. The actual total is closer to one in four.
The former Arkansas governor (and possible GOP presidential contender in 2012) was on "Fox News Sunday" on Feb. 27, explaining why he has defended First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign against attacks by some fellow Republicans.

Huckabee: What Michelle Obama has proposed is that we recognize that we have a serious obesity crisis,

Pawlenty’s Political Climate Change

Likely GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty's views on cap and trade aren't what they used to be.
Pawlenty told "Fox News Sunday" on Jan. 16 that he "never did sign a bill relating to cap and trade" when he was governor of Minnesota, but that's not true. He also said: "I've opposed cap and trade." However, that's been the case only since 2009.
In fact, the bill he signed in 2007 specifically required a task force to "recommend how the state could adopt"

More Guns, Fewer Murders?

On CNN’s "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah perpetuated a falsehood about gun ownership and lower murder rates.

Lee: And to the contrary, I think there is abundant research suggesting that in cities where more people own guns, the crime rate, especially the murder rate actually goes down.

That’s not true. A causal relationship between prevalence of gun ownership and crime hasn’t been established by researchers. We looked into this subject in 2008 and found that the statistical relationship is the opposite of what Lee said for murder,

Sunday Replay

Surprisingly – considering that the topic du jour was taxes, which means numbers – the flubs and fibs on the Dec. 12 talk shows were few, and relatively minor.
Not So Out-of-Context
On "Meet the Press," the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, claimed host David Gregory had taken a quote by White House economic adviser Larry Summers "a little out of context." Not so. Goolsbee and Gregory were discussing the tax deal President Barack Obama had worked out with congressional Republicans.

Sunday Replay

Almost all of the misinformation coming from politicians on the Sunday shows this week had to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, which Congress is expected to vote on this week. Coming in second was the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy for gay servicemembers — we’ll post Tuesday on an exchange that took place on that topic on ABC’s "This Week."
Polling Problems
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona gave a misleading description of public opinion on the Bush tax cuts.

Sunday Replay

We found a relative dearth of misleading comments uttered by the politicians and others appearing on the Nov. 21 talk shows. We can’t be sure why, but we would note that most members of Congress seem to have fled town. Any connection? Not for us to say!
Happy Turkey Day.
Social Security: It’s Not Dead Yet
On "Fox News Sunday," Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas exaggerated the financial plight of the Social Security system.

Sunday Replay

The first set of Sunday shows since the midterm elections featured a number of Republicans talking about how they’ll exercise their increased power. We’d just like to set the facts straight — on the budget, the health care law, taxes and other subjects. Democrats, too, weren’t immune from making a misleading statement or two.

Taxes and Revenues: Up and Up  
GOP Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana made a wildly false supply-side tax claim on ABC’s "This Week"

Sunday Replay

This weekend, the Sunday talkfests were dominated by predictions of how the makeup of the Senate and House might change after Tuesday’s elections. Halloween or not, clairvoyance isn’t a skill set we’ve mastered. We’re happy to wait for the actual results.
Meanwhile, we highlight a few misleading, non-predictive comments from Sunday:
Palin’s ‘Corrupt Bastards’
On "Fox News Sunday," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accused "corrupt bastards" in the media of conspiring with Sen. Lisa Murkowski to sabotage the campaign of her GOP Senate rival,