Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Mailbag: 'There has to be something worse than Pants on Fire'

What do readers have to say about our latest fact-checks? (iStock photo)
What do readers have to say about our latest fact-checks? (iStock photo)

As usual, our fact-checks this month have raised feisty response from our readers. Here is a compilation of the most entertaining and pointed Facebook comments, edited for style and length. To read more comments, and to post your own, visit our Facebook page.

Lawmaker says a company hired to do Common Core testing in Florida will "attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can."

Think Progress, a liberal blog, recently found and posted a video of Rep. Charles Van Zant back in March warning conservative religious groups that new testing would recruit children to become gay. A separate part of the testing company creates materials for schools on LGBT Youth Issues. This weak connection lacks evidence and was blown out of proportion. We rated this Pants on Fire. See what readers had to say:

  • "There has to be something worse than Pants on Fire."

  • "Did you really have to fact check this?"

  • "It needs to be fact-checked because some people actually BELIEVE the kind of fictitious vitriol liars like Van Zant put out there. Needs to be debunked, and even ridiculed, on the record."

  • "As (George) Carlin once said: ‘I like Florida. Everything is in the 80s. The ages, the temperatures, and the I.Qs.’ "

  • "I consider myself a moderate Republican and as much as I am not a fan of Common Core, it disappoints me to see leaders use rhetoric like this. I've seen both Democrats and Republicans use hideous rhetoric to get points across and it distracts from the issues at hand."

In Idaho debate that went viral, challenger misfires on Obamacare marketplace claim

In an entertaining debate, to say the least, four Republican gubernatorial candidates fired shots -- some true, and some not so much. Among the candidates was Harley Brown, a biker, who referred to incumbent Gov. Butch Otter as a "cowboy," Walt Bayes as a "curmudgeon," and Sen. Russ Fulcher as the "normal guy." Fulcher said that "Idaho was the only Republican-led state in the nation that chose to partner with President Obama" by creating a state-based marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Idaho, in fact, was not the only state. There were four others. We rated Fulcher’s claim False. Otter, the "cowboy," ended up winning.

  • "How do you make nut jobs appear sane? Put them next to bigger nut jobs."

  • "I'm sure the incumbent is loving this. No matter how many serious challengers he might have, ALL of his opponents will be lumped into the 'Too Crazy' category and he gets an easy win."

  • "My money is on Santa Dude, who wouldn't vote for Santa!"

  • "Figures never lie but liars always figure."

John Oliver says 28 percent of people in Kentucky don't have Internet access

PunditFact checked Last Week Tonight’s host John Oliver, who said "28 percent of Kentuckians don’t have any online access." If access to Internet is defined as someone with the ability to acquire Internet, Oliver is wrong -- as only less than 6 percent of Kentucky residents don’t have access to what’s considered a basic speed. What is true, however, is that 28 percent of residents don’t actually take advantage of this access and use the Internet. We rated this Half True.

  • "Kentuckian on the Internet here. There are more of us, I promise."

  • "According to the article, 28 percent of Kentuckians do not have Internet access because they can't afford it and 13 percent don't have computers. If you don't have the money to buy Internet access, and you also don't have a computer, then I would say ‘you don't have access to the internet.’ "

  • "John Oliver is NOT a journalist. Why is anyone even paying attention to him?"

  • "The reason we end up taking comedians seriously is because they have a track record of being more accurate than the mainstream media and the partisan hacks on the cable networks."

  • "Yes, it's a comedy show. But, have you ever heard ‘it's funny 'cause it's true?’ "

On VA troubles, Obama has been silent for three weeks

CBS chief White House correspondent Major Garrett said it had been about three weeks since Obama had spoken publicly about the problems at Veterans Affairs, involving secret waitlists and delays. The White House confirmed that Obama addressed the issue last April 28. We rated the claim True. The day after we published this fact-check, Obama addressed the issue in a press conference.

  • "These problems existed long before Obama. Ask any veteran or family of a vet. Care has never been good at VA hospitals or clinics."

  • "I guess the President is both mad as hell and silent."

  • "Speak up, President Obama. I'm a vet; this cannot be ignored."

  • "This president waits for the facts; I find it refreshing. --a USAF vet"

  • "Being silent does NOT mean that you are not thinking about it or involved in the situation. It means that the media is not covering it."

  • "While I am a big time progressive, President Obama's response actually has been pretty muted. PolitiFact is usually pretty accurate and is this time too, unfortunately."

Fox News host says Obamacare is ‘one big fat VA’

On Fox News’ The Five, host Kimberly Guilfoyle said Obamacare is "one big fat VA system." We found no health policy experts who could confirm this. The VA is owned and operated by the federal government, while Obamacare builds upon the existing private sector health industry. We rated this Pants on Fire!

  • "It stymies me at how unfazed these ‘news’ people are about spewing out misinformation. What an embarrassment! As soon as someone tells me they get their news from FOX, they lose ALL credibility with me!"

  • "If it’s negative and against Obama, conservatives don't care if it's true or not. To them a lie that sticks is all the better."

  • "Sadly this country has a long history of forgetting their warriors once the war is over."

Karl Rove says Hillary Clinton’s hospital stay and glasses point to traumatic brain injury

In remarks reported in the New York Post, Karl Rove questioned Hillary Clinton’s health following a mild concussion she had in 2012. Rove said Clinton spent 30 days in the hospital and then emerged wearing glasses that only people with traumatic brain injury use. Clinton actually spent four days in the hospital, which Rove later corrected. The glasses Clinton wore were for treatment of temporary double vision, not traumatic brain injury. We rated this claim False.  

  • "Of course, Karl Rove is gonna throw mud and see what sticks, it's his job; but it won't detract Hillary Clinton for President 2016."

  • "A concussion could only help Hillary ... Maybe it would knock a little common sense into her."

  • "I doubt she will be napping during briefings like Reagan did."