In This Election, Fact-Checkers Take a Hit

Neither party seems to care about getting called out
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 1:11 PM CDT
In This Election, Fact-Checkers Take a Hit
Mitt Romney shakes hands with Paul Ryan after speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 30, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Paul Ryan's campaign speech on Wednesday was almost universally decried for distortions and inaccuracies, and Mitt Romney told his share last night as well. "The two speeches … seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign," Michael Cooper of the New York Times writes, "one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside." Obama isn't blameless either; a recent ad said Romney backed a bill to ban all abortion, no exceptions, even though Romney now supports rape and incest exceptions.

The whoppers "appear to reflect a calculation in both parties that shame is overrated," Cooper concludes. Indeed, the Washington Post observes, the fact-checkers themselves are now under fire. After the Ryan outcry, conservative sites accused them of "spinning" facts, not checking them. "You might reasonably conclude that PolitiFact is biased," wrote one blogger, noting that the site more often found fault with conservatives. In a post on Romney's speech, felt compelled to include a note promising that they'd be "applying the same standards" to Democrats' speeches.

While we're here, distortions from Romney's speech pointed out by PolitiFact and others included…

  • Romney said that family income had fallen $4,000 since Obama. The figure comes from a study that began in December 2007, well before Obama took office.
  • He accused Obama of raising taxes on the middle class. Actually, Obama has fought for a number of middle class tax breaks, like the payroll tax holiday.
  • He said Obama started his presidency "with an apology tour" around the globe. PolitiFact rated that "pants on fire," calling it "a ridiculous charge."
  • For others check here, and here .
(Read more fact checking stories.)

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