A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama, McConnell Take Oil Import Data for Spin

President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell used the same data to score apparently conflicting points about U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Obama said oil imports account for less than half of consumption, while McConnell said 60 percent of our oil comes from abroad.
Both can claim to be correct, depending on how you interpret the data. But Obama was using the figure preferred by energy experts.
With gas prices rising, the United States’ dependence on imported oil is once again in the spotlight and has been the source of debate between the two parties in Washington.

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.

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.

Earmarks, Taxes and Premium Hikes

In episode 38 of our podcast, we highlight false statements from Democrats on the Sunday talk shows, and exaggerations from Republicans about the impact of the new health care law on premiums.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Sunday Replay  Nov. 15
The Truth About Health Insurance Premiums  Nov. 19
 

The Truth About Health Insurance Premiums

Leading Republicans in Congress are blaming the new health care law for double-digit rate increases being sought by insurance companies in Washington state, New York and Connecticut. But insurance regulators, leading health care experts …

Obama, Pelosi, Pence and McConnell

In episode 37 of our podcast, we look at President Barack Obama’s hour-long interview on "60 Minutes," some misleading statements from congressional Republicans on the Sunday shows, and a whopper from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

 
For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Obama on ’60 Minutes’  Nov. 9
Sunday Replay  Nov. 8
Pelosi Pablum on ‘Fiscal Discipline’  Nov. 10
 

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

On this week’s Sunday talk shows, we found false claims on the debt, discretionary spending, foreign-funded attack ads and polling data.
Wrong on Debt
On ABC’s "This Week," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made a false claim about the federal debt — a claim that we debunked in January, when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, made a similar statement. The debt situation has worsened since then, but not enough to make this GOP talking point true.

What’s a ‘Small Business’?

Politicians often talk about "small businesses." But how small is a small business? Fifty employees? One hundred? Two hundred?
Actually, it’s often much more than that. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. And that’s the standard politicians often use.
For example, President Barack Obama repeated a familiar claim on Aug. 19: that "small businesses … create two out of every three new jobs in this country."

Sunday Replay

We found a larger-than-usual number of deceptions on the Sunday shows this week, from whoppers to cherry-picked statistics, on subjects as diverse as immigration, the Reagan tax cuts and the new health care law. Here’s our rundown.
A Tax Hike for 50 Percent of Small-Business Owners?
On CNN’s "State of the Union," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was wrong when he said that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for upper-income earners would affect "the income of 50 percent of small businesses."