Friday, October 31st, 2014

Mailbag: 'If I could marry a website, I'd be Mrs. PolitiFact.com'

The latest batch of mail brings both criticism and kudos for our Truth-O-Meter rulings.
The latest batch of mail brings both criticism and kudos for our Truth-O-Meter rulings.

Sarah Palin continues to inspire strong responses from our readers, so our recent fact-checking of her claims on the extension of the Bush tax cuts brought a flurry of feedback. Here are some of the responses by e-mail and on Twitter, edited for length and style:

Our 'socialist propaganda machine'

We fact-checked Palin's claim that "Democrats are poised now to cause this largest tax increase in U.S. history." We found that grossly distorted the size of the tax increases the Democrats are supporting and rated her statement Pants on Fire. Palin responded to our factcheck claiming that Democrats were hiding their actual proposal. So we fact-checked her statement that Democrats do not have a plan for extending the Bush tax cuts, and rated that False. We found that even though formal legislation has not been written, their are several published proposals.

That led to an avalanche of reader mail.

"You're assertion that Sarah Palin is wrong when she says there is no plan to extend the Bush tax cuts is shameful. There is NO proposal before congress to do so and they haven't even passed a budget and don't plan to. You are pathetic. Someone needs to politifact you."

"You are arguing that intentions are enough to show a 'plan.' The President's budget and hearings in Congress being your examples. Palin is arguing that short of actual legislation there is no plan. Presidents may propose, but it takes legislative action by Congress to dispose. I think Palin has the better of the argument. Intentions have no force of law, only legislation does; which requires concrete action, written legislation passed by a vote (or, perhaps, by the process of 'deeming' it passed!) which this Congress has so far failed to produce. If and when Congress produces legislation, you will say 'See, they planned to do so all along.' Palin will be able to say 'See, we had to make a point out of it for them to act.' Until the legislation is written and passed, (and sometimes not until after that when the bureaucrats start rule making to implement it) we do not know what the rules going forward will be, and this often freezes the actions of many."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but the tax increases coming next year derive from bills proposed/passed by Bush Admin/Republican Congress. Right? Why is no one, including PolitiFact, labeling False the claim by Conservatives/Republicans (Mrs. Palin included) that taxes going back to what they were is something Democrats/Obama are doing? PolitiFact keeps repeating instead that Dems' plan isn't going to let all of them expire. In clearer words: It is a Republican bill that is raising the taxes."

"Very well written, thank you. Only one problem with your article and that would be the use of 'Gov. Palin' in about the 8th paragraph. As an Alaskan, I always find that title used by Palin as an insult to all of us. She quit the state and her obligations with a pack of lies in order to make money. She does not deserve to be called Gov. Palin. "

"Keep your socialist propaganda machine rolling along. I enjoy reading your warped political viewpoint. Your alliances with the other socialist media is a nice touch. Problem is, they have no more credibility than your PolitiFact truth-o-meter."

"Did you see the latest FaceBook fabrications of Sarah Palin? I know it is beneath you to play 'tit for tat'... but this woman must be held accountable for her continued, arrogant and offensive accusations of anyone that surmises Barack Obama may actually care about America. I despise the woman, I'd love to take her to task, but I have no forum. Maybe you fair minded folks will issue your own rebuttal."

"Thank you for your concise examination of Palin's pathetic statements on FOX fake 'news' and other places, concerning the expiring tax cuts. I hope that American voters are smart enough to figure out Palin's and the Republican Party's distortions and outright lies concerning the expiring tax cuts. Palin proves where the Corporate Elite / Tea Party / Republican National Committee / Plutocrats are coming from: FANTASY LAND. Greed is King in our country and the Republican Party / GOP is, in reality, the POG--the Party Of Greed."

"The Democrats have no plan specifically excluding all but the rich. The chances of them producing one by the first of the year is nill. They can propose all they want. Until then Palin's numbers are accurate and should rate at least half true..... I think your bias is showing..."

"Why are you libtards so afraid of a woman that doesn't even have a job? How about a few 'Pants On Fire' for the phony you helped elect president?"

"You are great but you are totally biased"

Some odds and ends:

"I really enjoy the Politifact truth-o-meter, although I have to say I'm a little disappointed in your analysis of Tim Pawlenty's claim about America's tax burden, specifically the information cited in your response regarding America's 'high' corporate tax rate. Isn't it true that loopholes in the corporate tax rate push down the rate by an extensive level? I've seen reports that the average corporate tax rate for Fortune 500 companies is somewhere around 5-8 percent."

"Your Politifact is a great but you are totally biased.... You are supposed to be un biased and simply REPORT the news but you are so obviously LEFT/LIBERAL. You pick and choose which person you are going to either support or chastize (you know the results before you print). You make all your lefties look good and the right look foolish. Your smart enough to throw a bone once in awhile. You must think everybody is stupid. and you wonder why your going broke....get your head out.....of the sand....why don't you release the figure/stats on what I just identified....bet you don't..."

"In your finding that Pawlenty didn't know what he was talking about (correct) and that he was pushing a common rightwing myth (correct) you pushed a myth too! While it's true that we have a relatively high corporate income tax rate, the EFFECTIVE corporate tax rate is what's relevant. And, the USA's effective corporate rate is among the lowest in the world among developed nations. Failing to note that is LYING BY OMISSION!"

"I don't always agree with you on everything, I do respect your position and serious heart felt attempt to give us the Facts."

"I'm writing to let you know that your site has singlehandedly shattered my hitherto unchallenged belief that American politics is nothing but an unintelligible shrieking match. Seeing pundits and politicians from both sides of the spectrum held accountable for the things they say is very satisfying."

"Are going to expand coverage to other states? I do hope so since your mind blowing wonderful website is in my opinion a must in today's climate of news spinning and attack groups that distort the facts on a regular basis."

"YOU are my new favorite website! Love it!!!! Why doesn't the whole world know about you?? I'm also glad to see you're now in Cleveland, Ohio."

Feedback on Twitter

We love to watch the discussion of our work on Twitter. Some of the discussion on our Palin coverage:

"Is it a deliberate PR stunt on @SarahPalinUSA 's part to say idiotic things in order to get noticed by the Interwebs?"

We also saw lots of retweets for our recent items on Rachel Maddow. One reader wasn't happy with our Half True for her claim about the economic impact of tax cuts vs. government spending.

"@politifact Once again, you are trying to color grey with a black crayon and a white crayon. They are only different philosophies."

Another reader who apparently believes we've been too hard on liberals thought our True rating for Maddow on immigration wasn't heartfelt:

"@politifact It just PAINED you to say Rachel Maddow was true about something, didn't it? The entire article was dripping w/ sarcasm. #p2"

Some other Twitter feedback:

"@camanpour love the PolitiFact feature, hope u guys keep it going!"

"Dear @politifact: I love you. I really do."

And our favorite tweet of the summer, from a reader in Texas:

"If I could marry a website, I would be Mrs. Politifact.com."