Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Headed to week three, raring to go

We’re off to a great start at PolitiFact Tennessee, and, as we begin our third week, excited to apply scrutiny to a strong list of new claims being made about everything from EPA regulations to the wealth of Congressmen to Tennessee’s redistricting process.

We’ve given Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen both a True and a Pants On Fire – he correctly highlighted how the U.S. is slipping on infrastructure (as President Obama also pointed out in last week’s State of the Union speech) but we went with Pants On Fire for his claim that Republicans "have never done anything really" to balance the budget.

We gave his 9th Congressional District Republican nemesis, Charlotte Bergmann, a False for a billboard making an untrue claim about Martin Luther King Jr. and his political affiliation, and his polar opposite ideologically, 7th Congressional District Republican Marsha Blackburn, a Mostly False for misleading rhetoric in her crusade against energy standards President George W. Bush’s administration created for light bulbs.

We also shed light on some important public policy issues – Tennessee really does have some of the nation’s highest grocery taxes while at the same time ranking nearly last in the nation in funding public schools.

In all, we’ve actually had six claims that point to the "True" or "Mostly True" side of the Truth-O-Meter dial, and five that point toward the "False" end of the gauge. We’ve tried to keep a good mix of claims for various political points of view, and believe that over time, that will definitely balance out.

We’ve had some requests to do PolitFact items on things that ultimately are not checkable. As a reminder, we look for fact-based claims (here is our policy), not subjective opinions, although we won’t let someone get off the hook just by prefacing a fact-based claim with a cop-out phrase like, "In my opinion . . ." If someone says, "In my opinion, two plus two equals five," that doesn’t exempt them from the PolitiFact treatment.

But we do love requests. And responses. Keep them coming at PolitiFact.Tenn@gmail.com or on Twitter: @PolitiFactTenn.

And keep visiting. It figures to be a busy week ahead, and as the March 6 elections near and the Tennessee legislative session gains speed, we know some very interesting things claims are going to be made.

You can rely on us to determine if they’re actually, you know, True.