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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fact Check Check

The CNN fact Check was very weak this time.
As noted in the post below, they didn't call him on the claim that most of his tax cuts went to the poor and middle class. They didn't note the Pell grant issue at all.
The New York Times caught Bush errors missed by CNN and even Kos (where I got the Pell grants fact).

They Nit Picklered Kerry treating their own counter arguments to Kerry's true claims the same way they treat their corrections of Bushes lies.
The Fact chekc begins "CNN Fact Check: Kerry is correct that Bush opposed a measure to import inexpensive prescription drugs from Canada, but he doesn't mention ..."
Nedra Pickler should be proud that she has so many followers.

New York Times David Rosenbaum did a much much better job on the third debate than the second (work the refs let's work the refs). Credit is partly due to his assistants "Edmund L. Andrews, Michael Janofsky and Edmund L. Andrews contributed reporting for this article." I guess Edmund L. Andrews must have worked doubly hard.

He called Bush on 2 major lies (tax cuts mostly to middle class and never said that about OBL) one major distortion(the 98 tax increases) and an at least 4.2 billion arithmetic error on veterans spending 60.3 - 47.4 = 22 or if he meant the budget request 65.2 - 47.4 = 22.

It is interesting that no one even dreams of requiring that the President be able to subtract. Now it seems that arithmetic is too hard to be qrequired of his debate preppers either. Rosenbaum should have called the attempted arithmetic a lie, because it was not corrected for inflation.

Rosenbaum is on the Pell grant issue (see CNN below) but is a bit weak compared to the CAP Rosenbaum's "increased spending on Pell Grants, to $12.8 billion from $11.3 billion in 2003." is again not corrected for inflation (no big deal) and uses 2003 as the base year for some reason. My guess is that 2003 is the comparison year that makes Bush look best and that Rosenbaum was fed the number by a Republican spinmeister, but that's just a guess.

Rosenbaum catches Kerry in one error. Bush has met the congressional Black caucus twice not zero times (ooops).

Oddly Rosenbaum balances his expositions of Bush's lies by noted that this that and the other claim by Kerry is true, then giving the response Bush should have given. I guess if one must have balance, it is better to list equal numbers of Bush lies and of Kerry statements most of which are correctly described as true.

"Mr. Kerry was correct [snip]

Mr. Kerry was right that Mr. Bush had opposed pay-as-you-go rules . [snip]

Mr. Kerry said 95 percent of the cargo containers entering American ports were not inspected. [snip] The 5 percent inspection rate is correct, according to Congressional testimony.

"Mr. Bush has been, as Mr. Kerry said [snip]
It is true, as Mr. Kerry implied, [snip]

Mr. Kerry criticized Mr. Bush for poor relations with "the civil rights leadership," saying he was "the first president ever, I think, not to meet with the N.A.A.C.P." [Bush] has ... appeared before the Urban League.

Mr. Kerry said that ... "veterans are complaining." "

The last Kerry claim is one of the safest assertions in human history.

The Washington Post
Glenn Kessler and Mike Allen assisted by Ceci Connelly who does not share responsibility for

the outrageous Nit Picklering of the first point on taxes "Kerry charged that the top 1 percent of income-earners in the United States got $89 billion of Bush's tax cut last year, ... Kerry's statement was correct but was out of context," This is a clear case in which "out of context" is used to mean "context was removed" not "the meaning was distorted by the removal of context" Of course Kerry removed context. He didn't recite the US tax code with an annexed report on how many dollars are collected under every heading as Kessler and Allen seem to require. This is beyond silly. They add back some context. To me, the context highlights how right Kerry is. Besides Bush is on record as conceding the point in "The Price of Loyalty" in a quote not challenged by the Bush administration (they challenge Suskind's paraphrase on 60 minutes not the quote in the book). Other's might find Kessler and Allen's added context damaging to Kerry. If added context hurts the orginal quoter, one should check if further context hurts the context adder. In this case it is devastatin. Kessler and Allen don't mention the distributional effects of cutting the estate tax (this is the lie which the press let Bush make which drove Paul Krugman shrill and he and they are still at it).

Kessler and Allen are much to gentle to Bush. I edit (removing context)
"Bush asserted that most of the tax cut went to low- and middle-income Americans, [snip] Bush was stretching the truth [snip] The bottom 80 percent [snip] got 32 percent of Bush's tax cut."

Unless the middle reaches up past the 80th percentile, Bush did not stretch the truth. He lied. Kessler and Allen refused to call a lie a lie.

One can argue about whether tax cuts directed largely to the super rich are a good idea, but honest people wouldn't argue with Kerry that Bush's cuts are such cuts.

Kessler and Allen are totally solid on Pell grants. They could conclude that what Kerry said was absolutely completely true, but there is no need. They do better than CNN, the New York Times or (of course) ignorant little me.

On NCLB more Nit Picklering "Kerry charged that Bush has underfunded the No Child Left Behind Act by $28 billion. His assertion is based on the fact... but he neglected to say" Come on guys Nedra Pickler is not the goddess of truth sprung fully armed from the brow of Zeus. When you check facts, how about noting that Kerry's claims of fact are correct and leaving it at that. It's Bush's job to counter argue. Counter argument should not be mixed with fact checking.

I am blogging as I read. Nowwww I get it. Kessler and Allen opened with some Nit Picklering for balance then close with a ruthless assult on Bush's lies. They contintue to mix fact checking with debate. It seems perfectly fine to me when they are debating against Bush (blush).

They are gentle on Kerry's actual errors (one of which was missed by other checkers)

1. Bush did meet with the Congressional Black Caucus during his first two weeks in office -- on Jan. 31, 2001 -- but Kerry's overall charge was correct [snip] Bush
dropped by a meeting that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice had with the caucus earlier this year.

[I find this fair but they are saying that Kerry was wrong on the claim of fact but still basically right. Exactly the sort of thing that would drive me wild if "Kerry" were replaced with "Bush"]

2. Kerry misspoke when he said that the minimum wage, now $5.15 an hour, is "the lowest minimum wage value it has been in our nation in 50 years." The inflation-adjusted low since 1955 was reached in 1989, when it dipped below $5.00 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

[Kudos everyone else I've read missed this one.]

3. Kerry misleadingly suggested that his health care plan would provide health care for "all Americans."

[important although with no verbatim quote. That is Kerry is being sneaky not flat out lying]

4.Kerry asserting that the number of jobs has fallen by 1.6 million ...
Kerry failed to note that he was talking about private-sector jobs,

[How can Kerry make this mistake twice in a row ?!?]

5. However, Kerry misspoke when he cited a Washington Post article on the issue, adding the figure of $3 trillion on top of the transition costs for private Social Security accounts.

They catch Bush in a major lie which others missed

"Bush misspoke when he said Kerry voted against the Homeland Security bill; the senator supported it on final passage."

This could be huge. It is a flat out lie and there is a roll call. Given that Kerry is focusing on accusing Bush of doing to little on homeland security, the Kerry campaign should be able to make this Bush lie very costly.

Kessler and Allen debate Bush in the second half of their article. They are devastating. In all I like the article (which means mainly they hammer Bush) but I think that there should be separate fact checking and analysis articles. I mean I think that Kevin Drum's approach is needed to balance Kessler and Allen's.

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