Monday, October 20th, 2014

Murder at the Texas border, California's immigrant influx: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Glenn Beck said an Austin child was sexually assaulted during this interview of Gov. Rick Perry placed online July 17, 2014.

Maybe it's the rash of wild fires breaking out across the West. Could be the spate of high-profile plane crashes. Or maybe the uneven weather is behind it all.

Whatever the cause, a lot of frowns need to be turned upside-down these days. Now, we're not proposing to do that single-handedly with today's PolitiFact Oregon Roundup.

But we are promising to at least get readers thinking about something else for the few moments it takes to skim's today's five Roundup offerings. Let's get going.

1. The governor's flaming pantaloons

Well documented problems at the Texas border, exacerbated by a flood of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America, are grabbing tons of ink these days. Gov. Rick Perry, talking with radio host Glenn Beck, mentioned that more than 3,000 homicides were committed "by illegal aliens over the" last six years.

PolitiFact Texas' check found that Perry's claim is unsupported by the presentation he cited. "Put another way," it concluded, "for this declaration to hold water, one would have to assume illegal immigrants committed nearly half of the state's homicides since 2008; we found no such data." The governor walked away with his Texas-sized Pants on Fire.

2. Is Pat Buchanan's claim half full, half empty or Half True?

If we now have a better idea of where an influx of immigrants is coming from, GOP pundit Pat Buchanan thinks he has a handle on where they are going – the Golden State. Currently, he said on Fox's Sean Hannity Show, "...one third of all illegal aliens are going to California."

The experts PunditFact contacted said "no good account for initiatial destinations of unauthorized immigrants exists." The most reliable estimates of unauthorized immigrations living in California range between 21 and 25 percent, the story concluded. "That's a bit lower than what Buchanan said. As a result, we rate his claim Half True."

3. Step on the gas (tax) and wipe that tear away

In New Hampshire, the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative group, has taken out ads to "thank" GOP state Rep. Marilinda Garcia for opposing higher taxes and spending in the Legislature. The rest of the Legislature, the ads claimed, raised the gasoline tax at a time when gas prices in the state were "skyrocketing."

PolitiFact New Hampshire found that gas prices rose only a modest five percent between the introduction and signing of a bill upping the state's gas tax. And most of that increase, experts said, was due to cyclical increases related to refinery maintenance and other reasons – not the legislative effort. The claim was rated False.

4. From here to recovery

Critics say otherwise, but President Barack Obama remains insistent that he's had his share of economic successes. In a speech in Wilmington, Del., last week, he said the United States has "recovered faster and come farther than almost any other advanced country on Earth" since the end of the Great Recession.

The White House's supporting data, according to PolitiFact National's check, is pretty narrow, "but other measurements show that the United States has generally fared better since the recession than many – though not all – of its peers among the world's advanced economies," the story concluded. "Oh balance, we rate this statement Mostly True."

5. Water, water everywhere – except Gaza

Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal took issue with what she called "biased" coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, saying it's widely unreported that "90 percent" of people living in Gaze "don't have access even to water."

PunditFact tapped recent estimates suggesting that about 67 percent of Gaza residents currently have little or not access to running water. That's lower than Jebreal's claim. However, the check added, 90 to 95 percent of the water from Gaza's coastal aquifer (their only natural source of fresh water) isn't suitable for drinking. "Jebreal's claim needs that caveat," the story said. "As such, we rate her statement Mostly True."

OK, we're the first to admit that claims touching on alleged murders, a lack of enough drinking water and the plight of illegal immigrants is not the stuff of comedy. That said, we're confident that our readers are better off for having taken our PolitiFact Oregon Roundup tour today.

Thoughts? Something we missed? Let us know and let's get the conversation started.