A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

What Happened on Flight 297?

Q: Did Muslim terrorists stage a "dry run" on AirTran flight 297?

A: The airline and an eyewitness say this e-mailed claim is "an urban legend" spread by persons who "live in a fantasy world."

Truth on the Cutting Room Floor

A widely viewed video seems to show President Obama stating that he is a Muslim. It is false, and the product of dishonest editing. Although it is titled “Obama Admits He Is A Muslim,” the president in fact has admitted no such thing. The video edits and twists his actual words, sometimes turning what were denials into …

Electronic Medical Records for Congress?

Q: Is the Social Security Administration paying $24 million to set up new electronic medical records for members of Congress?
A: False. The money is going to speed processing of applications for disability benefits. Furthermore, the money is coming from the stimulus bill and not from “withholding cost of living increases."

Extras: Gore, Dogs, Health Insurance and Bunkmail

Our pre-Thanksgiving round-up of bits and pieces of political bunk includes Al Gore, a fancy new dog park and chain e-mails that refuse to die.

Gore’s too hot
Al Gore overstated a key fact about geothermal energy during a recent appearance on "The Tonight Show":

Gore, Nov. 13: Two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, because the interior of the earth is extremely hot — several million degrees.

Lou Dobbs’ ‘Amnesty’ Claims

Q: Did CNN’s Lou Dobbs denounce an immigration bill “going through Congress right now”?
A: The three-and-a-half-minute video being circulated in chain e-mails is from 2007. Dobbs was criticizing a bipartisan Senate bill, which was supported by Bush and McCain, and which died soon after.

Extras: Palin, Rubio, Apps and Chain E-mails

From time to time we come across bits of political malarkey or other items that don’t quite rate a full article. Starting today, we’ll collect these tidbits in a new, occasional feature we call "Extras."

Palin: "Who makes a decision like that?"
In a Nov. 6 appearance at a no-cameras-allowed fundraiser, Sarah Palin criticized moving the words "In God We Trust" onto the edges of some new $1 coins: "Who calls a shot like that?

Homeland Security Adviser?

Q: Was the suspected Fort Hood shooter an "advisor to Obama’s homeland security team" or a member of his "transition team"?
A: This is another false e-rumor. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was merely an audience member at some public events of a university-sponsored group that offered unsolicited advice to the new administration.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

We've received a number of queries about a photograph purporting to show President Obama at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, listening to the national anthem without his hand over his heart.

Anyone who saw news coverage of Obama on Veterans Day might have smelled a rat right away: He didn't wear a red tie that day, as he does in the picture, but a blue one, and he wore a winter coat over his suit. (We've seen some e-mails claiming that the picture is from the Ft.

Health Care Overhaul and TRICARE

Q: Would health care overhaul efforts eliminate TRICARE health coverage for members of the military and military retirees?
A: No. This claim in a chain e-mail is false. Neither Congress nor President Obama has proposed legislation to that effect.

The Obama Phone?

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?
A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.