A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bachmann Mailer Misrepresents Jobs Report

In a mailer to her constituents, Michele Bachmann incorrectly claims a new trade agreement with South Korea – which she supported — will “create almost 1,000 jobs” in her Minnesota congressional district.
Bachmann misreads a report produced by the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs. The report states that 1,001 jobs in Bachmann’s district already exist because of merchandise exports to South Korea. The association does not predict how many jobs the new pact will add,

Congressman’s Slippery Cell Phone Claim

A congressman’s Web video goes too far when it portrays a program that subsidizes cell phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
The video also misleadingly claims Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin is “reforming” the program. His proposed legislation — the “Stop Taxpayer-Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011” — actually would eliminate the cell phone subsidy.
Griffin’s video focuses on Lifeline, a federally mandated program that reimburses phone companies with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for each low-income customer who uses a landline or a cell phone.

Primary Piffle in North Carolina

In the final week of a hotly fought Republican primary in North Carolina, one congressional candidate accuses his rival — in a mailer sent to GOP voters — of being a “Big Money Donor” to Democrats. And he accuses another of breaking a tax pledge. But we find both claims by wealthy businessman and former state Sen. Robert Pittenger are off the mark.
In truth, financial adviser Dan Barry, the supposed “Big Money Donor,” contributed to 11 Republicans and only two Democrats in national races between 2003 and 2011.

Blurring the Record in Utah

A group supporting Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch claims in a TV ad that a Republican challenger “voted to allow state employees to double dip, collecting a pension and a pay check.” That’s a gross exaggeration. Hatch’s opponent, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, actually authored a bill in the state Senate to ban double dipping.
The ad’s claim is based on the fact that the bill later was amended to allow the practice to continue on a smaller,

Romney Fundraising Pitch Skews Stats

In a March fundraising letter to Floridians, Mitt Romney skews economic statistics under President Barack Obama. Among the letter’s claims:

Romney says the numbers for unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures are “soaring.” That’s simply not true. They all started rising sharply under Bush, continued to rise for a time under Obama, but then peaked and are currently declining.

Romney claims Obama stood over “the greatest job loss in modern American history.” But more jobs were lost under his predecessor.

Inflated Claims in North Carolina Budget Battle

A conservative group omits some important details in a TV ad attacking North Carolina’s lame-duck Democratic governor and praising the Republican-controlled state General Assembly during a partisan budget battle.

The ad says the legislature added state funding for “2,000 more teachers” and that its budget “adds teachers.” But the legislature’s increased funding didn’t make up for the loss of federal money and discretionary state funds that local districts use to hire teachers. The state had a net loss of about 900 teachers overall.

Truth-Twisting Tweets

In tweets to her followers, Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley claims her Republican opponent for U.S. Senate voted to “kill Medicare” and to “effectively ban contraception.” Both statements are untrue.
Sen. Dean Heller supported failed Republican legislation that would have substantially changed Medicare — in 2022 — to a program that subsidizes private insurance plans for seniors. But the entitlement would not have ended. Heller also voted for the so-called “Blunt amendment,” which would have allowed an employer to deny coverage of specific items or services contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Bogus Bipartisan Claims

In a mailer to constituents, a Republican congressman claims 27 “bipartisan bills” have passed the House but “hit a brick wall” in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But most of the bills are not very “bipartisan.” A majority of House Democrats voted against all but five of the 27 proposals, sometimes overwhelmingly. One of these “bipartisan bills” had the support of only four Democrats, and another had the support of just eight.
The mailer — sent out by Georgia Rep.

Cloudy Contraception Costs

Is the Obama administration correct when it claims its contraception mandate will be “cost neutral” for insurance companies? Or are the critics right when they say Catholic institutions will pay a hidden cost in the form of higher premiums when their insurers are required to give “free” contraceptives …

How to Become a ‘Spin Detector’

Welcome to Spin Detectors!
The 2012 campaign season is well under way, and we could use your help monitoring the candidates and potential candidates running for president, Congress and governor. We are asking you to consider becoming a “Spin Detector” for FactCheck.org. We want you to send us campaign materials — videos, robocalls, campaign fliers — that you suspect may contain false or misleading information, and we’ll check it out. We may even write about it.