Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Mailbag: 'I rate you big liars'

Some of our readers' comments recently have been as colorful as these mailboxes.
Some of our readers' comments recently have been as colorful as these mailboxes.

Readers sounded off on our fact-checks about wedding vendors reluctantly providing services for gay marriages under the threat of law, the Obama administration organizing Trayvon Martin rallies, and various claims by Gov. Rick Scott.

Drop us a line through email at florida@politifact.com, on Twitter via @PolitiFactFL or the PolitiFact Florida Facebook page. Feedback is edited for style and length.

Third grade reading scores and prison beds

St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford earned a Pants on Fire for repeating a well-worn claim about prison beds being planned based on third-grade data.

"Considering other findings of Pants on Fire, I think this one is excessive. There is a certain amount of truth in what she said even if she didn't get it completely right and she's hardly the first candidate to be concerned about something that, as mayor, she has little chance of solving. Give as much attention to the chicken suit - who's in it and why? How about a council and mayor who keep spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a project that may be voted out by voters?"

Wedding vendors, same-sex weddings and the threat of jail

We evaluated a claim from Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, that wedding bakers, florists and photographers are already being "forced to participate in same-sex marriages under the threat of law and in some cases even jail." We rated it Half True.

"Your article is the only ‘half true’ statement. Tony's statement is 100 percent true...even if you don't like it. I used to live in Lakewood, Colo., near the bake shop in question. I have followed the case closely and corresponded with the owners of the shop. The ‘threat’ of jail time is still a possibility for the owner ... just as Tony said. Stop injecting your bias into your meters. It only makes you look foolish and like the lap-dog to Obama that you are."

"Perhaps if you had investigated blackmail, coercion, extortion if someone did not participate in a same-sex ceremony the claim would have been true. An inn pays a $20,000 fine. A baker loses half the business. But they weren't forced to participate. What is extortion? What is coercion? compulsion, force; duress. It may be either actual (direct or positive), where physical force Is put upon a man to compel him to do an act against his will, or implied (legal or constructive) where the relation of the parties is such that one is under subjection to the other, and is thereby constrained to do what his free will would refuse. ... The bakers, florists, planners, inns, etc. did not participate in G/L weddings under duress. I rate you big liars."

DOJ unit organizing anti-Zimmerman rallies?

We evaluated a conservative group’s claim that a little-known Department of Justice team called the Community Relations Service helped to organize and manage rallies against George Zimmerman. We rated it Mostly False. Some readers disagreed with our analysis.

"Sorry, ma'am, that's exactly what they did, and based on the documentation presented, it's not arguable."

"Wouldn't it be better for PolitiFact to confine itself to political facts rather than butting into the affairs of state judicial systems?  Isn't it time to get over this Zimmerman business, or are you trying so hard to be relevant that you have to comment on absolutely everything?  Perhaps you might just want to comment on the lack of facts presented by some of these so called protesters and what they are vowing to do to all the supposed rich people?  Restraint is the name of the game and you obviously don't know how to play it."

"The DOJ did more than act as a peacekeeper at rallies, and you are a liar and a propagandist, and I suspect you will answer for your lies to the American people sooner than you think."

The Democratic Party’s faulty link between Scott and a corruption study

In a video, the Florida Democratic Party correctly cited a study declaring Florida the most corrupt state, in terms of federal corruption convictions, but the party erred in making a strong visual connection to Scott. The Integrity Florida study specifically said it covered the decade before Scott took office, so we rated the connection to Scott as False.

"We stopped using PolitiFact as a source of ‘truth’ or ‘fact’ a long time ago.  You just keep getting less credible all the time."

"Anyone with half a brain saying we went from No. 1 to No. 4 should know just how corrupt our state and local governments still are. You claim a big fat ZZZZZ for truthfulness. Your ruling is a farce. I think your next job should be in a burger joint where you can scrape away the fat and grease."

Deutsche Bank tax incentives

The same reader went a little easier on us after we issued a Pants on Fire! to Scott for denying the state used tax incentives to sweeten a jobs deal with German-based Deutsche Bank.

"Maybe I went way overboard thinking your next job should be in a burger joint. Your article about the bank went back to the beginning found all the facts and your Pants on Fire was right on. I do have one question, which is why can you not call it a lie rather than Pants on Fire? We all understand when something is called a lie or true. Many don't understand pants on fire. Hey call the fire department and put this thing out?"

Gov. Scott says he cut taxes 24 times

Some of our Facebook fans were not pleased with Scott claiming "We cut taxes 24 times." We rated it Half True. Most of the breaks are tax write-offs for business, not for the benefit of the average taxpayer.

"The S.O.B. did not cut my taxes once because I’m not a millionaire, (he) cut my pay instead!"

"When a Republican talks about ‘cutting’ taxes, what he really means more often than not is *shifting* taxes."

The Scott-O-Meter

Readers continue to have very different impressions of Scott’s performance.

"Does Rick Scott have a brain? I was told this was a fact but by how he behaves I seriously doubt that he does in fact have one. Please contact a neurosurgeon for the facts. Thanks."

"He is doing a fantastic job!! He is doing everything he promised in his campaign and I will definitely be voting for him again. He deserves a pat on the back for a tough job well done."

Miami-Dade tap water not nation’s "top-rated"

Readers chimed in on our check about Miami-Dade County’s tap water on Facebook.

"Miami-Dade County water tastes like crap!"

Something nice

We like to end with encouraging feedback when we get it.

"Love your site. A blessed source for clarity."

Have something on your mind that needs fact-checking? Want to comment on one of our recent reports? Send us an email at florida@politifact.com.