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In the last month, the Jan. 6 hearings kept the Capitol assault and the underlying belief of a flawed election in the news. The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade prompted a claim from President Joe Biden about how the U.S. stacks up against other developed nations.
We heard from readers about both, and more.
PolitiFact readers responded to our coverage with praise, criticism and suggestions of additional details they think our work should include. We welcome it all.
If you wish to respond to a story, please email us at [email protected]. We may spotlight your feedback in our next Mailbag. Reader feedback is lightly edited for clarity and grammar.
As the hearings on the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol took place, readers responded to our article about the enduring Republican belief that the 2020 election was stolen. Our review of a number of polls found that 70% of people who identify as Republicans do not think Biden won legitimately.
One reader thought our story missed the point.
"No mention of the support Trump had, the giant crowds, the Trump boat parades, the Trump trains, while Biden sat in his basement? That’s why we think it was stolen," the reader wrote.
"I have been a registered Republican for over 50 years," wrote another. "I have never once been asked to participate in a serious political poll. I know no friends, associates, or family members who were ever polled. Who are the people that are polled to produce these studies? These polls to me lack any scientific credibility."
The belief in widespread election fraud caught this reader off guard.
"I was talking with my brother who has done very well for himself; educated, well-versed, an executive at the company he works for," the reader said. "I respect him for how hard he has worked, but when he brought up the election was stolen, and the voting machines were rigged, I lost it."
And this reader took a more philosophical view.
"It's like sports teams," the reader wrote. "People don't like to accept when the person they support loses, so they make excuses. In sports people blame the refs when they lose. In politics it's voting machines and cheating. At its core American politics now is basically just a game of football with two teams."
On the Jan. 6 attack itself, our False rating for Fox News host Tucker Carlson saying, "Not a single person in the crowd on January 6 was found to be carrying a firearm," prompted this comment.
"You debunked the claim that Jan 6 people did not have firearms," the reader said. "But, you shouldn’t have stopped there. They were armed with other weapons. Flagpoles, bear spray, fire extinguishers, and anything hard or caustic, and even skate boards are all capable of being used as weapons."
Our Mostly True rating of Biden’s claim that the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade "made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world" on abortion rights, drew a number of comments.
"Surely you don’t actually believe the U.S. — even with recent ruling — is or will be more restrictive than these other countries," a reader wrote. "Our abortion numbers lead the world and that is not even close to being challenged."
But another reader found merit in Biden’s statement.
"That's not the only thing making the U.S. an outlier," the reader said. "For example, almost all of them have universal health care, but the U.S. is not developed enough to figure out how to do that."
Another reader contrasted the Supreme Court’s decision with its recent ruling on New York City’s conceal carry permits.
"If (Justice Samuel) Alito and the court are going to use 16th century philosophy to justify removing a 50-year-old right for women, then the Second Amendment only applies to a 1776 weapon," the reader wrote. "You have a right to a smoothbore muzzle loader firing black powder and a lead ball. Beyond that we will discuss, but it isn't a right."
Our Pants-on-Fire rating of the claim that communists have controlled the U.S. entertainment industry, media and K-12 education for years sent one reader to the FBI archives from 1962. The reader found a letter from long-time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover rebutting the claim that 70% of the U.S. was under Communist control.
"The Communist Party in this country has attempted to infiltrate and subvert every segment of our society, but its continuing efforts have not achieved success of any substance," Hoover wrote in 1962. "Too many self-styled experts on communism, without valid credentials and without any access whatsoever to classified factual data regarding the inner workings of the conspiracy, have engaged in rumor-mongering and hurling false and wholly unsubstantiated allegations against persons whose views differ from their own. This is dangerous business. It is divisive and unintelligent and makes more difficult the task of the professional investigator."
PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan wrote a commentary on recent harassment of PolitiFact reporters. Several readers sent words of support.
"I appreciate the service you and your reporters provide and I salute you for your work," wrote one reader. "I am truly sorry that some — especially political leaders — have chosen to attack you and get their supporters to attack and threaten you. I am glad you mentioned the tactics of Florida's governor and his press secretary. They are threatening our democracy as well as the concept of a free press and government in the sunshine. Please keep up your vital work and understand there are many out here cheering you on."
To which we say, thanks, and we plan to.
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