News & Views » Columns

Matters of fact

by

Like it or not, we are witnessing a presidential campaign that is kicking into high gear earlier than any seen before. Which means that attack ads are already finding their way onto the airwaves. If you are at all like News Hits, each new ad brings with it an implicit question: How much of this crap is true?

To help in sifting through the muck in the months to come, we recommend that you turn your browser toward www.factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania

A self-described “nonpartisan, nonprofit, ‘consumer advocate’ for voters,” FactCheck.org strives to “reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

This analysis of a recent George Bush ad makes abundantly clear just how shameless those attempts to deceive can be:

“Bush released yet another attack on Kerry April 1, an ad appropriately named ‘troubling.’ The Bush ad recycles a couple of bogus claims we’ve debunked before — a misleading claim that Kerry voted for ‘higher taxes’ 350 times and a claim that ‘Kerry’s plan will raise taxes by at least $900 billion.’ We pointed out previously that the 350-vote figure is so off base that it actually counts some Kerry votes for tax cuts as votes for ‘higher taxes.’ And as we said earlier, the only tax ‘plan’ Kerry has proposed is to repeal Bush’s tax cuts for those making $200,000 a year or more, while giving some additional tax breaks to those further down the income scale.”

The group, however, is an equal opportunity debunker. Here’s an example of a swipe at the Democratic contender, Sen. John Kerry:

“A Kerry ad has Bush saying that sending jobs overseas ‘makes sense.’ But Bush didn’t say that. The quote is actually from Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. The Kerry campaign claims Bush signed the report containing those words, but that’s wrong, too.”

If you have a pair of hip-waders, put them on now because the muck is already getting deep and it’s only going to get deeper between now and November. And keep a copy of FactCheck.org’s URL bookmarked, because, with record amounts of money expected to be spent on this election, the site will be much needed.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

comment