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Falsehoods about the 2020 election results, voting laws and misinformation about COVID-19 continue to be frequent topics of our fact-checking. Here’s a selection of our reader reactions in emails and on our Facebook page to our fact-checks, lightly edited for length and clarity. Readers can email us fact-check ideas and feedback at [email protected]
Some readers object to our ratings, including a reader of our fact-check of President Joe Biden’s statement: "You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations." We rated that statement Half True. While breakthrough infections are rare, they do happen.
"Omg!!! That's either a true or false statement. There is no middle ground. Half true!!...talk about kid gloves. If President Trump made that statement, it would have been ‘pants on fire,’" wrote one reader.
Fact-checks about firearms always draw reactions, and our check of the House Republicans’ claim that Biden wants to ban handguns was no different. Second Amendment researcher and activist John Lott thought our False rating was off the mark:
Biden said "that he wanted to eliminate the sale of pistols ‘that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon." The key word here is that they have the ‘ability’ to do that. Are you going to argue that all semi-auto pistols don’t have that ability?"
On our fact-check of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s falsehood about HIPAA, some readers suggested she is getting too much attention from the media.
" Why does MTG get so much coverage?.... Ignoring her seems best," wrote one reader.
We received a lot of reader feedback to our fact-check of Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement about the Texas Democrats who fled the state to prevent passage of a GOP-backed voting law: "There is clear legal authority to handcuff and put in leg irons legislators that are trying to stop the legislature from being able to do business." We rated that statement False.
"’No judicial precedent’ doesn't mean it can not be done," one reader wrote. "Texas law allows the state police to escort them back to their employer."
"Why doesn’t PolitiFact check to see if the dem legislators had the right to up and leave in an act of dereliction of duty!!!????" wrote another reader.
Another reader commented on the same fact-check of Cruz along with our fact-check of Vice President Kamala Harris’ statement that new and proposed state laws on voting mean "if you are going to be standing in that line for all those hours, you can’t have any water or any food." We rated her statement Mostly False.
"I find it interesting that Kamala Harris' statement is rated Mostly False yet Ted Cruz's statement is rated False," one reader wrote. "Since the VP's statement was one that if a Republican had made it you would have said it was False, not Mostly False. However, Ted Cruz was at least repeating Texas law ... although it was not enforceable outside of Texas … which should have been your clarification. Not a flat statement that it was false.
"While you highlight the items you don't like about the laws introduced by Texas, you ignore the current laws in other states that are much more restrictive. You don't call out our current president for calling the new laws ‘Jim Crow,’ but you wouldn't have hesitated to have called out our former president had he done the same.
"This shows a bias that makes it hard to accept your claim as independent moderates of fact. As an independent, I really had high hopes for you to show me your better side."
Our fact-check of tweets that said Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ 10-minute rocket flight to the edge of space released 300 metric tons of CO2 drew this reminder from a science teacher:
"When we've tried separating water into oxygen and hydrogen in classroom labs, it takes quite a bit of effort to produce even a small amount of oxygen and hydrogen. Now granted, our method likely isn't the same as Blue Origin's, but it seems like producing the fuel needed for a rocket launch might very well require a lifetime's worth of energy expenditure." (The tweets were about the release during the launch, but we thought this was a good point and added it to the fact-check.)
"I don't know how to react on the issue of whether ‘Critical Race Theory’ should be taught in our public schools," one reader wrote. "On one hand, it is common-sense to me that we do have a history of racism in our country and that it still very much exists. I believe that the major claims that CRT makes are true and accurate. On the other hand, I can empathize and sympathize and relate to those who feel that there is an element of ‘reverse-racism’ to it."
Readers responded to our various fact-checks debunking false claims about the 2020 election, including a viral image that says "Arizona & Georgia now have the proof," and Biden is not the president.
"Thank you for your service, PolitiFact," a reader said.
Comments on PolitiFact’s Facebook page and email from readers
PolitiFact, The Principles of the Truth-O-Meter: PolitiFact’s methodology for independent fact-checking, Last updated Oct. 27, 2020
See links in the fact-checks for additional sources
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons