Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

The Truth-O-Meter report card on Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
Glenn Beck at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have checked many claims by Glenn Beck since this story appeared. To see the latest items, go to his PolitiFact page.

We'll be fact-checking Glenn Beck and others who speak at his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. We hope to publish those items in the next few days.

In the meantime, we thought it would be timely to look at Beck's record on the Truth-O-Meter. As you can see from the running tally in his PolitiFact file, we've rated 17 statements by the Fox News talk show host. It's fair to say that record skews toward the False end of the Truth-O-Meter.

His record (as of Aug. 27, 2010):

True                 1
Mostly True      1
Half True          3
Barely True      4
False                5
Pants on Fire   3

Beck earned a True for his claim about the life expectancy of men and women when Social Security was created (he was trying to make the point that the program was not meant to benefit as many people as it does today) and a Mostly True for his claim about public support for the Arizona immigration law.

He earned Half True ratings for the cost of the census; the origins of the U.S. Marine Corps; and his claim that Obama appointee Van Jones signed a petition indicating he "thinks the Bush administration blew up the World Trade Center and covered it up."

We've given Beck four Barely True ratings: for his claim comparing federal spending under Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama; for his comparison of economic freedom in the United States and Chile; for his exaggerations about the H1N1 vaccine; and for his claim that Van Jones was a "self-avowed revolutionary communist."

He's earned more False ratings than any other.

He's earned them for his claim that union president Andy Stern was the most frequent White House visitor; that less than 10 percent of Obama's cabinet has private sector experience; that Mitt Romney's health care plan was bankrupting the state of Massachusetts; that 45 percent of doctors said they would quit if health care reform passes; and that the United States is the only nation with birthright citizenship.

We define Pants on Fire as a statement that is ridiculously false. Beck earned one for his claim that John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population."

Beck also earned a Pants on Fire for his claim that the health care reform bill provided health insurance for dogs.

Today, Beck earned his third for comments he made about the Restoring Honor rally. He claimed that the government was trying to close the Lincoln Memorial for similar rallies in the future, implying that the government was trying to silence his political speech. We found no evidence to support that. Pants on Fire.