Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Turning it over to readers

If we could, we'd show a picture of our email inbox, too.
If we could, we'd show a picture of our email inbox, too.

Since we hear regularly from PolitiFact Wisconsin readers, we decided to share some of what they say.


We welcome feedback (and suggestions for Truth-O-Meter items) in several formats: mail, email, and on Twitter and Facebook. There’s also a place to comment in Newswatch on JSOnline.com, where we alert readers to the latest PolitiFact offering.


So, get in touch:


  • PolitiFact Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, P.O. Box 371, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0371

  • PolitiFact@journalsentinel.com

  • @PolitiFactWisc

  • www.facebook.com/politifact.wisconsin


And enjoy the debut of our Mailbag, which will appear periodically.



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We recently gave columnist George Will a Mostly False for saying the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction "urged white students to wear white wristbands 'as a reminder about your (white) privilege.’"


"Liar, liar pants on fire," one reader wrote. "DPI did not make this or promote it in (the) Wisconsin public schools curriculum. Even your report said that. Are you afraid of George?"


Said another: "Although I commend the (Journal Sentinel) for printing the PolitiFact column, dispelling George Will's comments as being untruthful, (it) does little to resolve a much bigger issue: that being, who was the idiot who came up with the "white privilege bracelet" idea to begin with?"


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U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) also got a Mostly False. He said: "Not one dime gets added to the deficit because of Social Security."


Here are excerpts from three e-mails:


"The current U.S. budget deficit is a creature of Congress and the president and the political and policy decisions they have made.  It has nothing at all to do with Social Security.  And, claiming that paying the interest rate on the Treasury bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund contributes to the deficit is an artful misdirection -- a small truth used to obscure a large falsehood."


"Lyndon B. Johnson manipulated Congress to use the Social Security fund for the Vietnam war. Lyndon destroyed what Social Security was created for. I believe that that was wrong and that Social Security should be independent from the general fund and loan its money out to the highest bidders."


"Mr. Pocan: By your logic, if my son saves for college and gives me the money to hold for him and when it is time to pay for college, and I have used that money for something else and have to come up with my own funds to refund him, I can claim that I have to pay for his college?  Your logic stinks of politics.  Give me a break."


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Giving the Truth-O-Meter a rest, as we do occasionally, we published an In Context article that provided a transcript of a January 2013 exchange between U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The aim was to give context to Clinton’s "What difference does it make?" quote about the bombing in Benghazi, Libya.


"I have been waiting for this day. Finally, the truth!" a reader said in the comments section on JSOnline.


Wrote one commenter to another: "When read in context, it should be obvious to you that (Clinton) didn't say it because she doesn't care that Americans were killed. She was addressing someone (Johnson) who was obsessed with pinning blame on her for something beyond her control. He deserves no less of a response."


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We also wrote an article delving into the size of the University of Wisconsin System’s cash reserve.

 

A reader unrelated to anyone at PolitiFact Wisconsin wrote:

 

"I am not knowledgeable in terms of the UW (System) budget and what certain claims actually mean, and this was a wonderful, easier-to-comprehend version of all the talk circulating about the surplus."