Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Rick Perry's borderline truth, chain emails up in flames: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Rocker and gun-rights activist Ted Nugent addresses a seminar at the National Rifle Association's convention in Pittsburgh on May 1, 2011.
Rocker and gun-rights activist Ted Nugent addresses a seminar at the National Rifle Association's convention in Pittsburgh on May 1, 2011.

When it comes to PolitiFact, readers can expect the claims of politicians and other prominent public figures to be rated true, false and everything between.

Among the favorites, at least when it comes to PolitiFact Oregon Roundups, are claimed judged not only false, but ridiculous. When that happens, a Pants on Fire rating is assigned and a fun time reading the piece is had by all.

Today’s Roundup shines lights on both ends of the Truth-O-Meter spectrum – Texas Gov. Rick Perry nailing a True in the Lone Star State, Motor City Mad Man Ted Nugent stumbling once again and two laughably bad claims aimed at the president. Here we go.

1. Getting crossed at the border

Immigration remains one of the country’s most divisive issues. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, had his own take, when he went on Fox & Friends and said a record number of immigrants not from Mexico are "being apprehended at the border."

PolitiFact Texas’ check showed that the Border Patrol apprehended more people from countries other than Mexico along the border through the first eight months of fiscal 2014 than it apprehended in any of the preceding 17 years. Perry’s statement was rated True.

2. A meme that should have been a mime

A new social-media meme makes the case that gun violence is wildly exaggerated by the media, saying that "gun homicide is down 49 percent in the past 12 years."

PolitiFact National’s check showed that the gun homicide rate is actually down 49 percent over the past 17 years. However, it noted that the seemingly minor mistake "betrays a significant misunderstanding of how rates have fluctuated over the past two decades." Gun homicide rates have actually been static over the past 12 years. And the big decline? It came mostly in the years before the meme ever started counting. The claim was rated False.

3. What happens when Ted gets ahead

Ted Nugent, the one-time rock guitarist turned Second Amendment rights activist, recently posted on FaceBook a photo of a man crouched over five severed heads.  "One of the subhuman mongrels our president set free," Nugent wrote in the caption. "Feel safer yet?" (Note: Nugent created a controversy earlier this year when he called President Barack Obama a "subhuman mongrel.")

Was the man in the photo one of the five Taliban leaders released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl? In a word, PunditFact found, no. The photo, it turned out, first appeared in mid March, two months before the prisoner swap. Given that Nugent had plenty of time to retract his statement – in fact, he posted it two days after the connection to Guantanamo had been debunked – he got a Pants on Fire for his troubles.

4. Bo and his new leash on life

A chain email is making the rounds claiming that "Obama is the first president to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense."

When we heard that, we almost went through the woof. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed to check it out. Turns out a dog trainer has been associated with Bo, the First Pooch, but she was used briefly and was never paid by the administration. An Obama aide, who makes $102,000 a year, spends maybe a fraction of his time worrying about Bo. The claimed walked away with its Pantaloons Aflame.

5. A claim woefully misstated

A second chain email – they are normally so reliable, too – said Obama is the "first president to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect."

The check noted that presidents, upon taking office, swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, not individual states. Further, the check found at least 40 instances, going back a century, where the federal government sued a state. Waiter! More Fire for my Pants, please.

All that fire is reminding us of the need to hydrate, especially with warm weather coming up. Thoughts about the roundup? Something we missed? Let us know and let’s get the conversation started.