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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Erratic Quotes

The Obama-Biden campaign has a new, unannounced ad that says McCain has been “erratic” in his response to the financial crisis:

The ad includes various critical quotes from editorials in the Washington Post, USA Today and Politico. We looked up the original articles, and all the quotes are in context.
But the ad also cites the August 15 Tax Policy Center report, with text on screen saying “nothing for the middle class.” Within the ad, the words do not appear in quotes,

Taxes, Bailouts, Court Fights and More

Looking for some weekend reading material? Well, the past week has been busy at FactCheck.org. If you haven’t checked out the main site recently, here are several new articles that we hadn’t yet told our Wire readers about:
Right Change Is Wrong
October 24, 2008
A conservative group misleads voters mightily on Obama’s tax plans for small businesses.
The Rifle Association’s ‘True Story’
October 23, 2008
A misleading NRA ad claims Obama voted “to deny citizens the right of self-protection.” 

Truth Invaders

If you’re like us, you just can’t live without 1) fact-checking and 2) ’80s arcade games. So you can imagine how psyched we were to find Truth Invaders, which lets us use our mad Space Invaders skills to shoot down some of our favorite false claims. And there’s a special bonus for those who blast the bogusness: links to FactCheck.org and our fellow fact-checkers-in-arms at PolitiFact.com, the Washington Post and CNN.
You should check it out.

Obama’s Citizenship and the Survival of the Fittest

Yesterday we posted something about the evolution of rumors. Here’s a postscript: Sometimes in addition to developing new eyespots or camouflage, they actually engage in a little adaptive development — rumors that aren’t working mutate into slightly altered versions that haven’t been debunked yet.
A case in point: First there was the canard that Obama didn’t have a valid U.S. birth certificate. We were able to help put that one to bed. (Never mind the additional rumor it spawned due to the erroneous date stamp on our photos of the document,

More Health Care Exaggerations

Planned Parenthood is distributing a mailer in Ohio that criticizes Sen. John McCain’s health care plan. But it uses a bogus figure on what McCain’s plan would do to Ohioans’ taxes.
The mailer says, “I see struggling patients every day. That’s why I was so horrified when I read about John McCain’s proposed health care tax. Maybe he can afford a $2,800 tax, but his plan will really hurt a lot of people.”
Under McCain’s plan,

Life Cycle of a Rumor

One thing we’ve noticed at FactCheck is that e-mail rumors tend to circulate, get debunked (ideally), go dormant for a while, and then flare up again. Think of it as a horde of zombies — they come at you, you kill them, you breathe a sigh of relief, and then there’s an extreme closeup and a finger twitches and you realize they’re not really dead. That’s what it looks like from our end.
Different stories have different life cycles —

More Robo-Calls

Yesterday we wrote about a robo-call attack from the McCain campaign making much of Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers. Today, we’ll look at another robo-call (posted by Talking Points Memo late last week) that’s covering well-trodden ground. The subject is Obama’s record on born-alive legislation, which we’ve written about twice before.
The audio posted at TPM says that “Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions.”

We Rebut American Progress Action Fund’s Rebuttal

We posted the following update to our Oct. 20 article, “Obama’s False Medicare Claim”

Update, Oct. 21: The Center for American Progress Action Fund issued a rebuttal to this article, claiming our analysis is “flawed,” that this article “relies solely on the denials of McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin” and that we failed to conduct a “thorough analysis of the implications” of McCain’s health care proposals.
We disagree.

FactCheck’s Most Wanted

Enthusiastic truth-seekers (and angry partisans) have been inundating us with questions this election cycle. We’re thrilled to be your go-to guys, but sometimes the rumors take a long time to untangle — the truth is rarely straightforward enough to fit neatly into an ad, a sound bite or a chain e-mail. As the election nears, though, we’re pleased to say that we’ve wrapped up pieces on some of the most requested fact-checks of all time, or at least of this year.

Robo-attacks

Late last week Huffington Post broke the news that a massive robo-call campaign linking Obama and former Weather Underground activist Bill Ayers was targeting voters in numerous states, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maine. Paid for by the McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee, the call tells listeners that “Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.”
Is the caller really meaning to imply that Obama “worked closely”