Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Facebook Mailbag: 'PolitiFact is no longer a reliable source'

Readers have been busy recently commenting at PolitiFact's Facebook page. Here are some of their thoughts.
Readers have been busy recently commenting at PolitiFact's Facebook page. Here are some of their thoughts.

In July, we’ve fact-checked statements about immigration, poverty -- even pizza. And our faithful readers and social media followers have added a running color commentary of their own.

Here’s a roundup of recent comments by Facebook users, edited for style and length. To read all previous comments, and to post comments yourself, check out our Facebook page. (Be sure to "Like" us, too.)

DNC Chair says Fourth Circuit court used pizza analogy to uphold health care law

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on a Nevada news program this week to talk about two divergent court decisions about the Affordable Care Act. Wasserman Schultz said the decision from the Fourth Circuit Court used a pizza analogy. We rated the claim Mostly True.

• "Fact: Pizza is also a vegetable and a great place to get health care advice. Pizza. America's solution for every problem."

• "I support more legal decisions being explained via pizza analogies."

• "But Papa John’s gives you those little peppers and garlic butter to dip the crust in."

Pat Buchanan says one third of all illegal immigrants are headed to California

With immigration in the news, Pat Buchanan told Fox News host Sean Hannity that one-third of all "illegal aliens" go to California. His number was slightly off -- between 21 percent and 25 percent of illegal immigrants end up in California. So we rated the claim Half True.

• "Sadly we all would like to believe what our politicians and their minions tell us, also sadly, probably 95 percent of what we read and hear politically is false, and it seems the conservatives and their minions promulgate untruths so much more than the opposition they seem to have agreed to try and destroy through their lies."

• "Like most politicians, the facts aren't correct, but the gist of the remark is that the influx has contributed to the state's change."

Hillary Clinton says key economic statistics were 100 times better under Bill Clinton than Ronald Reagan

During a recent interview with Charlie Rose, potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made seemingly far-fetched statement about the nation’s economic record during the presidential tenure of her husband. While Bill Clinton’s record outpaces Ronald Reagan’s, the differences were not like night and day, as her phrasing suggests. We rated her claim False.

• "To be fair to Clinton, she was obviously exaggerating. To be fair to PolitiFact, economic stats are probably something you shouldn't exaggerate."

• "Overdone by Hillary. She has to watch what she says and not get caught up on word fights like this. No one can say that anymore."

• "Y'all need to have a ‘stretched truth’ category. That, and ‘technically true, but.’ "

• "Call it hyperbole, exaggeration, figure of speech - whatever. Hillary KNOWS that pundits and everyone else is hanging on her every word - and therefore should know better than to stray so far from fact."

• "PolitiFact: liberal if you're a conservative, conservative if you're a liberal. They must be doing something right. LOL."

Lou Dobbs says that Obama’s 2012 policy on younger immigrants "created" the situation of "these children coming across" the border.

A consistent talking point among conservatives is that President Barack Obama’s 2012 immigration policy is responsible for the current crisis of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States-Mexico border. Lou Dobbs floated this idea on Lou Dobbs Tonight, his Fox News program. But we found the surge in children occurred before Obama announced his immigration policy, then plateaued after. We rated the claim Mostly False.

• "This is the problem with the full story not being reported by U.S. media, if our media outlets reported how many kids are also showing up at Costa Rica, Panama and other borders and how long this situation has been ramping up, it would harder to politicize & turn it into something its not."

• "Instead of saying it over and over, how about proving it?"

• "I love when people attack PolitiFact as biased and inaccurate but have zero evidence to support their claims. Spurious reasoning. What a joke."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says there were 36 states "where Republicans who were in charge" blocked state insurance markets.

We looked at another claim made by Wasserman Schultz -- that in 36 states, Republicans refused to implement state insurance markets. But we found that her numbers were off. While there are 36 states that use the federal marketplace or a state-federal partnerships, only 29 of them are run by Republicans. And in some of these states, like New Mexico, a GOP governor tried to institute a state insurance market, but had to delay because of infrastructure and technology setbacks. We rated the claim Mostly False.

• "I can't stand either party -- they get patronized by partisan news outlets, they are almost never challenged on facts, they scream like children who always blame the teacher for their poor grades. Her glib, ‘I'm not from Nevada’ reaction demonstrates the problem, our politicians get annoyed, frustrated and even hostile when simply corrected on important facts. They have this, ‘shut up, I'm talking’ reaction, as if all information must flow downhill from their talking points. ...

• "Politifact is no longer a reliable source."

• "We are in the most shameful, deceitful and corrupt era of politics in modern history, and crap like FOX News and MSNBC are more than happy to play the game to sell more Pepto Bismol commercials. Don't think this is false equivalency either. The downright hostility (MSNBC’s Rachel) Maddow displays whenever PolitiFact calls out her BS, demonstrates the Left isn't always so comfortable with the truth when it conflicts with their dogma either.

• "The fact these threads seem to have Democrats who insist PolitiFact is biased and Republicans who insist PolitiFact is biased means that they are probably doing a great job, because both parties are criminal, money-making operations who lie to their constituents for maximum profit."

• "I love PolitiFact, even when it points out the clay toes of my heroes."

Whoopi Goldberg says "For the first time in history, (Thor’s) hammer is being held by a woman."

We don’t usually fact-check claims about comic books, but with all of the excitement about the female Thor, PunditFact couldn’t resist hammering out the facts. It turns out Goldberg misspoke: While there has never been a female Thor, women superheroes have held the infamous hammer before. We rated the claim Mostly False.

• "I think the fact that Whoopi doesn't know every detail about some comic book character makes me respect her even more."

• "Wow, good catch PolitiFact!!!!"

• "Does this make Thor a Disney Princess?"

• "Don't forget, there is also a character called Thor Girl."

An image shared on social media of nine white, blond women shows "the amazing diversity of Fox News anchors."

Are all of Fox’s female anchors actually blond and white? Our partners over at PunditFact took a look. Our findings? Not all women in the Fox anchor chair sport the golden glossy locks. We rated the meme Mostly False.

• "Perhaps there is a point. However, the sad and outdated assumption/stereotype is that a young female with blonde hair and presumably good (or at least above average) looks could not possibly know anything. That's unfortunate; consider Diane Sawyer. I don't watch FOX (or not much) so I can't comment further."

• "Wouldn't mind seeing a similar analysis of the other news channels."

• "I doubt if they are all true blondes."

• "I just realized they are not the same person."

Carly Fiorina says that "70 percent of the people living in abject poverty are women."

We also looked at a statistic about women and poverty that has been around for years. This statistic seemingly speaks to a fundamental injustice in this world -- but it’s not true. We talked to experts from around the globe, and none of them could confirm it. And Fiorina couldn’t provide any evidence either. We rated it False.

• "Thanks for doing the homework. Accuracy is good. Still, I wish there weren't so many poor women."

• "This is one of those examples of tell it often enough and it becomes fact. Like we only use 10 percent of our brain."

• "Zombies are like that. Hard to kill!"