A Busy Day for Fact Checkers

We have probably not had so much dishonesty in government since the days of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. For those of you too young to recall those days, we had a Republican who ran for president based upon claims he could end an unpopular war. His running mate was a governor with limited experience who wound up embroiled in ethics probes and who was primarily used as an attack dog. Other than for Spiro Agnew not wearing lipstick, things were pretty much as they are now–except that today we have fact checkers on the internet which expose the lies of such dishonest candidates.

The Fact Checker at The Washington Post gave John McCain Four Pinocchios for “his clumsy attempt to rewrite history” in claiming Sarah Palin had not accepted earmarks as governor of Alaska. They also commented on three errors by Palin in her interview with Charlie Gibson: she was deceptive in hiding her previous denial of the scientific consensus on global warming, she was wrong in her claim that other vice presidential candidates had, like her, not met foreign heads of state, and she was wrong that Russia invaded “a smaller, democratic country unprovoked.”

The non-partisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been especially busy. Their latest report at Factcheck.org finds that Sarah Palin’s claim that Alaska “produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy” is “not true” and “not even close.” Most likely she is just repeating the same false information she was taught by her handlers from the McCain campaign. John McCain made the same incorrect statement on September 3 in an interview with Charles Gibson and in a September 11 interview with Portland, Maine, news station WCSH6.

This follows a long string of reports of untrue statements from the McCain campaign. The day before the report on energy from Alaska Factcheck.org described how “The McCain-Palin campaign has released a new TV ad that distorts quotes from the Obama campaign. It takes words out of context to make it sound as though the Democratic ticket is belittling Palin.” On September 10 there were two reports. One described McCain’s dishonest ad claiming Obama supported teaching children about sex and warned,  “Don’t believe it.” The other was their report on how the McCain campaign was distorting reports from Factcheck.org itself in an ad.

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