Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Truthiness: An Update

I am no internet whiz kid, not by a long shot, but occasionally I stumble across a site that astounds me by its relevance and just plain coolness. Politifact is just such a place. It checks the factual truth of statements made by politicians and rates them from "True" all the way down to "Pants On Fire." It's non-partisan, as far as I can tell, finding whoppers on both sides of the aisle. Handy little site, this.

I found a several entries involving Michele Bachman (this is an update, after all), and it appears that Ms. Bachman does seem to have trouble with facts and accuracy. And it involves more than the birthplaces of famous Iowans.

Here's the first of several, chosen because it is just so amazingly wrong:

At one point in the interview, Bachmann criticized President Obama's energy policy, or what she called the lack thereof.

"It’s ironic and sad that the president released all of the oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve because the president doesn’t have an energy policy," she said.

Actually, the government only released 30 million barrels out of a total of 727 million barrels, or about 4 percent. So we rated that False.

Schieffer also asked her about a previous misstatement on oil, that the Obama administration has only issued one new drilling permit in all the time Obama has been in office. We rated that Pants on Fire, the actual number is well over 200.

Now, here's the second:

In an interview on New Hampshire Now on WKXL-AM in Concord, N.H., Bachmann sympathized with the plight of grillmasters everywhere by noting that the price of cook-out items have skyrocketed. And she laid the blame at the feet of President Barack Obama.

"If you threw a barbecue yesterday for the Memorial weekend, it was 29 percent more expensive than last year because Barack Obama's policies have led to groceries going up 29 percent," she said.

Anybody who has bought hamburger lately knows how prices have increased. But did you pay 29 percent more for your Memorial Day meal? And is the president to blame?

Politifact did a whole bunch of investigation on this one and came up with different figures, more accurate ones:

According to last month's CPI survey, the price of ground beef has jumped 13.6 percent since May 2010. Frankfurters have increased by 8 percent; coffee by 16 percent; lettuce by 7.8; tomatoes by 2.4; and ice cream by 5.6 percent. Potatoes, the main ingredient in potato salad, has increased by 15.9 percent since May 2010. (The CPI survey doesn’t measure potato salad). ...

Bachmann says Obama is to blame for a 29 percent increase in Memorial Day barbecues, but she's way off on both counts. Her figure comes from a New York Post article that relied on prices in the expensive New York metro area; national figures show the increase was much lower, about 9.9 percent. And she blames Obama for the increase when experts say he and his policies have little, if any, impact on food prices. We find her claim False.

Like I said, Ms. Bachman, like many politicians, has a little trouble with factual reality, especially when that factual reality interferes with her campaigns. Lots of politicians have that problem, but they're not running for President.

It's a shame more members of our press aren't doing this kind of work. It might not be considered polite in the Village, but at least reporters wouldn't have to apologize for this kind of confrontation. They'd just be doing their jobs.

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Anonymous Jamie said...

hey, give the girl a break, Math is hard, You know that?

3:07 PM  
Anonymous hdmi cable said...

She's a bald-faced liar. The media will take her denials at face value and report them as the truth.

3:18 AM  

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