Mailbag: 'You folks have lost your direction'
The mailbag was bursting with strong opinions this week. Here’s a sampling:
• Our item on a Republican complaint about President Barack Obama’s upcoming speech to schoolchildren triggered some strong reactions:
"You people (the press) wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit you in the butt. We have avowed communists and racists in the White House. We have a regime that wants kids to pledge allegiance to Obama. We have a president that wants to destroy the business core of the country so he can redistribute the wealth.
"We have the worst unemployment in decades – and getting worse. We have a guy in the White House who wants those that work to pay for those that don’t want to work and you want us to believe that he just wants to tell the kids to stay in school? What for, if they just quit school and do nothing – he’ll make sure they get a house, car, insurance and food. You folks (press) have lost your direction . . .
"Stand up, defend the country, defend the Constitution, and defend the values that made this country the greatest country in the history of man. Then people will come back to you – I truly believe this."
Another reader wrote:
"You are right that the statement made by the Florida Republican Party is currently ill-advised, but you are wrong that they are 'Pants on Fire.' The truth is that all anyone knows at this stage is that the president will address our children on the general topic of "the importance of persisting and succeeding in school." No one, neither the
St. Petersburg Times
nor the Florida Republican Party has received an advance copy of the text of the speech. My review of the White House Press Release Web site and calls to White House staffers confirm that such has not been released. Therefore, your bold headline that the GOP has no basis for its claim may very well be inaccurate as the speech may contain propaganda to advance topics other than as has been reported."
• We also got a quibble with our item about Dick Armey’s claim that people over 65 have no choice but to be in Medicare:
"Love the Truth-O-Meter. However, I have to disagree with your "half true" assessment on Dick Armey's statement. If you take the quote in context, it reads: 'If you're over 65 years old in America today, you have no choice but to be in Medicare (for health insurance). Even if you want out of Medicare, you have to forfeit your Social Security to get out of it.' Unfortunately, Dick is correct that there is no medical insurance alternative if you are over 65. As I understand it, no U.S. insurance company will issue a 'private' insurance policy to a person over age 65. Any such policy issued would essentially be a wrapper around Medicare. I would rate Dick's statement as at least 3/4 true, dinging him only for omitting the 'for health insurance' blurb. Saying it is half true or only partially true really understates the amount of truth in his statement. And for the record ... I have a strong dislike of Dick Armey. Not a fan in the least. Unfortunately, the guy can come up with a true statement every now and then."
• Another reader disagreed with our True rating for David Brooks’ claim that preventive care doesn’t save money:
"I don't understand how you can say that preventive care does not save money. If a person or their insurance company spend a few bucks on a colonoscopy every 8-10 years, and has some minor procedures done to prevent more serious problems, isn't that likely to cost less than treatment for colon cancer treatment?"
• A reader thought we were nitpicking with our False for Bernie Sanders’ claim that the United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as any nation on the planet:
"Your rating of False for Bernie Sanders' health care cost estimate is nitpicking overkill. (The statement is) exaggerated, yes, but harmlessly so. None of the countries listed by OECD has a population anywhere close to that of the U.S. A true statement would have been that the U.S. spends twice as much as all but five industrialized nations."
• And finally, a bit of praise:
"I'm stuck in an area that only gets the far-right for talk radio. You should take on some of the root misconceptions. Some of the stuff I hear is just mind-blowing. (The Web site) www.warroom.com is just one of the shows that come on that station. I don't understand how people can get away with some of the stuff they say. Thank you for your site. I have followed it for a few years now and am very glad someone is holding folks accountable for there statements. Keep up the good fight for all truth."