Just the Facts!

Published: November 9, 2015

By Jim Lichtman
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“One of the worst and most boring political pundits on television is @krauthammer. A totally overrated clown who speaks without knowing the facts.”
Donald Trump, tweet, June 4, 2015


Okay, boys and girls, it’s time for America’s number one ignored show, Checking the Candidates’ Facts!; the show where you don’t have to participate, and are completely free to disregard the facts.

So, come on down and let’s get started!

Let’s begin with current Republican front-runner Dr. Ben Carson.

Commenting on his lack of experience in elected office, Carson posted on Facebook (Nov. 4): “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” That statement was later changed to “…had no federal elected office experience.”

Nonetheless, Politifact offers a long list of signers who held both federal and non-federal elected office. Politifact rated Carson’s claim Pants on Fire.

As for the other 17 statements made by Carson (Nov. 8), Politifact could not rate a single one either True or Mostly True. For someone who grouses about media accuracy, Carson’s record is disappointing: 17 percent are rated Half True; a whopping 56 percent are Mostly False or False; and 17 percent are Pants on Fire.

However, with only 18 statements under scrutiny, Carson cannot match the audacity of Donald Trump when it comes to bloviating the “truth.”

As reported by the New York Times (Nov. 8), “Donald J. Trump has brazenly denied calling Senator Marco Rubio the ‘personal senator’ of Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg — even though the quote was published on Mr. Trump’s campaign website.”

With 63 statements checked, Politifact found that only 8 percent of Trump’s statements were Mostly True; 17 percent, Half True; 57 percent Mostly False or False and 17 percent, Pants on Fire. None of Trump’s statements were given a True rating.

Who is the Republican front-runner when it comes to the facts?

Marco Rubio stands tallest when you consider that Politifact has checked 112 statements by the junior Senator thus far: 39 percent have been rated True or Mostly True; 22 percent, Half True; 36 percent, Mostly False or False; while 2 percent are  Pants on the Fire.

The only other Republican who comes close with 65 statements checked is Jeb Bush. The younger brother of George W. and son of H.W. carries an impressive record of 47 percent True or Mostly True statements; 22 percent Half True; 30 percent, Mostly False or False; with 3 percent Pants on Fire.

Chris Christie did reasonably well with 95 statements checked: 41 percent were rated True or Mostly True; 26 percent Half True; 24 percent, Mostly False or False; and 8 percent Pants on Fire.

Taking a look at Democratic upstart Bernie Sanders, of 25 statements checked, 54 percent were rated True or Mostly True; 17 percent Half True; 28 percent, Mostly False or False; and Zero percent Pants on Fire.

Republicans might be surprised to learn that the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact check organization has checked a total of 133 statements made by Hillary Clinton, the most of any candidate, and found 51 percent are rated True or Mostly True; 20 percent Half True; 28 percent Mostly False or False; and 2 percent Pants on Fire.

So, who achieves the worst rating, when it comes to the facts?

Politifact calls out bloggers… yup, people like me.

According to Politifact, of 62 statements checked by Bloggers, only 7 percent were rated True or Mostly True; 5 percent Half True; 34 percent Mostly False or False; and an incredible 53 percent – more than half – were rated Pants on Fire!

One extreme example from September:

“Democratic Sens. Ed Markey, Al Franken and Jeanne Shaheen ‘took Bribes From Iran … They Back Insane NUKE Deal.’ “
— Bloggers on Friday, September 25th, 2015 in posts on the Internet

Or my favorite:

“Lincoln was fervently making plans to send all freed slaves to the jungles of Central America once the (Civil War) was over. … The only thing that kept this from happening was his assassination.”
— Bloggers on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 in posts on the Internet.

What continues to baffle me is the fact that numerous fact-checking organizations have the resources to check statements made by candidates, yet those same candidates lack either the resources or tools to do so themselves.


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