A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

A False Ad About ‘Lawsuit Abuse’

Summary
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running a TV ad alleging that "lawsuit abuse" is costing "your family" $3,500 a year. That’s false. The figure is from a study that estimates the cost of all lawsuits, not just abusive ones.
 
Even the author of the study cited by the chamber says its ad is "misleading." The fact is his study makes no attempt to specify which lawsuits are legitimate and which can be considered abusive.

Levitating Numbers

Summary
In an earlier article we criticized Rudy Giuliani for saying adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent when he was mayor, when in fact adoptions at the end of his tenure were only 17 percent higher than at the start, and falling. His campaign still insists his claim is justified and offers its own interpretation of the statistical record.
In this article we offer the former mayor’s rationale, along with why we believe it is a classic case of how candidates and public officials sometimes use data selectively to create a false impression.

Republican Candidates Debate

Summary

Ten Republican candidates for president debated at the Reagan Library in California, the first GOP debate of the 2008 campaign. Here and there we found stumbles, spin and exaggerations, just as we did at the Democratic debate a week earlier.

Giuliani claimed that adoptions shot up 65 to 70 percent while he was mayor. In fact, the net increase over his entire tenure was 17 percent.
Brownback hyped the medical potential of stem cells taken from adults and not embryos,

FactCheck.org Wins 2 Webby “People’s Voice” Awards

Summary
The Webby Awards named FactCheck.org the best political Web site, and also the best on government, in the 2007 People’s Voice vote.
Analysis
The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences announced May 1 that voters in the annual Webby "People’s Voice" competition chose FactCheck.org as winner in both the politics and government categories. Webbies are billed as "the Oscars of the Internet."
There were five nominees in each category, and sponsors said this year’s competition attracted a record number of votes from the public.

Democratic Candidates Debate

Summary
Eight Democratic candidates debated in South Carolina. We found some minor stumbles.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, explaining his call to show compassion for Palestinians, put a spin on the remark that differs from the way it was originally reported by an Iowa newspaper.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York said the Virginia Tech killer had been ruled a threat "to others" and involuntarily committed because of his mental state. Neither is true.

Warring Ads in Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

The April 3 face-off between county Judge Annette Ziegler and attorney Linda Clifford for a seat on the state’s highest court has spawned a springtime blizzard of negative ads in the milk-fed Midwest.

White House Spins Iraqi Polling

An ABC News survey of public opinion in Iraq found much pessimism as the fourth anniversary of the war approached. A British poll’s summary sounded less gloomy, but was actually similar.

MoveOn.org PAC: They’ve Got the Wrong Guys

MoveOn.org Political Action began airing ads attacking four Republican senators in their home states, accusing them of favoring escalation of the war in Iraq.

Facts Of The Union

We found some puffery in President Bush’s State of the Union address.

Medicare Hot Air

Democrats oversell their Medicare prescription drug bill, falsely claiming it will bring big price cuts for medication. Republicans have been equally misleading.