Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Mailbag: “Thanks again for showing your true colors”

Palms swayed in St. Petersburg in February, emails flew in to PolitiFact Texas.
Palms swayed in St. Petersburg in February, emails flew in to PolitiFact Texas.

Readers sounded off about our fact checks of claims by three leading Republicans.

An Austin man didn’t back the Pants on Fire rating given to Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement that Chuck Hagel’s nomination as U.S. defense secretary "has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government." Calling our assessment "wrong," his email said: "By your own admission, CBS News said the nomination cheers Iran and then The New York Times headlined ‘optimism in Hagel Nomination in U.S.’ If I saw those two determinations, I would consider them worthy of comment regarding the nomination. It is not Mr. Cruz's fault if, as you feel, those two news organizations got the story wrong. Put the blame where it should be please.

"Thanks for again showing your true colors."

Another reader charged us with coordinating attacks on Cruz with the Austin American-Statesman’s editorial writers. "I have not seen this much liberal rage since Sarah Palin," he wrote. More broadly, another reader asked: "So how is it that all of your such ratings are against conservatives? None of the liberal lies are good enough to get the treatment? Hypocrites."

A Georgetown reader appreciated the Cruz fact check: "Thank you for your work in alerting the public to what is true and what is not true," adding that in her view, "politicians seem to think that the public can be easily lied to and that they will accept the distortions that are spouted."

Per our check of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s claim that according to the FBI, more people are killed each year with hammers and clubs than rifles (rated as True), a reader pointed out that Abbott referred to people "killed," but our analysis focused on the smaller category of murders.  "Had he said ‘More people murdered. . .,’ then I wouldn't be writing this email.  But you should include statistics of other (i.e. accidental) deaths by rifles and clubs and knives.  I don't know if the statement would still be True, but I'm sure it would even things up a bit -- that is, I'm sure more people die from accidental rifle shootings than accidentally clubbing or stabbing themselves or others. It's possible that Abbott meant homicides, but that not what he's claiming.  Usually PolitiFact is very diligent about examining the specific language used in a claim, but I think you fell a little short in this case."

Another reader liked our check of Gov. Rick Perry’s reference to "phenomenal" increases in education spending compared to enrollment growth, which we found False: "Thanks so much for exposing the subterfuge of the Perry administration and the Legislature in their attempts to destroy public education in Texas. It should be clear to everyone by now that the Republican grip on our state government is strangling the services people expect and require from government."

See a curious claim by a Texas political figure or group, or one leveled about Texas? Email us or call 512-445-3644 if a fact check seems in order.