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November 29, 2010 10:03 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 28, 2010

The political talk shows were relatively uneventful yesterday, but Arizona's two Republican senators both took time out of their holiday weekend to spread dishonest conservative talking points. On CNN's State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended his widely ridiculed stance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," wrongly insisting that the military's ban on gay and lesbian troops "is working." On NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) argued that the Senate does not have time to ratify a nuclear arms treaty in the lame duck session because they have to prevent "the largest tax increase in history," which is a bald-faced lie. Pressed on his position, Kyl eventually explained that he cannot support New START right now because of concerns about "modernization" and missile defense — a sentiment that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed on Fox News Sunday — even though the general in charge of missile defense said the treaty will make his job easier and President Obama increased the budget for modernizing our nuclear arsenal. Kyl also repeated the debunked talking point that allowing upper-income tax cuts to expire would disproportionately hurt small businesses.

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November 22, 2010 9:57 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 21, 2010

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November 22, 2010 9:37 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 21, 2010

On Meet the Press, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) accused the Obama administration of coddling terrorists when in fact we have killed nearly 30 Taliban and al Qaeda leaders since the president took office, and military commissions have produced weaker results than did the much-discussed civilian trial of Ahmed Ghailani last week. Jindal rounded out his performance by dipping into dishonest right-wing rhetoric about Obama seeking to "apologize for America." Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, another southern Republican governor told some very different tall tales. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) repeated his claim that Social Security amounts to "a Ponzi scheme," and when host Chris Wallace pointed out the basic dishonesty of Perry's rhetoric — far from a massive fraud, Social Security is a long-successful and honest system that is in some long-term trouble because of changing demographics — Perry smiled and claimed Wallace had just proven the program is a criminal enterprise.

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November 15, 2010 10:05 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 14, 2010

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November 15, 2010 9:58 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 14, 2010

This week's Sunday shows were all about ducks and pork. The fight over pork-barrel earmark spending is largely a matter of opinion, though, so the falsehoods were limited to the tax and spending fights expected in the lame duck session that starts this week. On Fox, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) repeated long-discredited talking points about "small businesses" and tax cuts, and exaggerated the tax rates American companies actually pay. On NBC, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested keeping tax breaks for the rich would help the economy despite the evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, Rand Paul (R-KY) and Newt Gingrich each claimed that government workers are overpaid because they make more on average than private sector workers, but neither man acknowledged that the pay gap reflects differences in skills and education levels between the two groups. And on ABC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he can't vote for the New START Treaty because of concerns about "modernization" and missile defense systems, even though President Obama upped the budget for modernizing our nuclear arsenal, and the general in charge of missile defense says the treaty will actually make his job easier.

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November 08, 2010 11:32 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 7, 2010

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November 08, 2010 11:19 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 7, 2010

The Sunday shows were crowded with naked falsehoods yesterday. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed on Fox News that President Obama "has killed jobs" despite the fact that a resurgent private sector has added 1.1 million jobs so far this year. On CBS, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed that 750,000 small businesses pay income taxes in the top two brackets, but that number only works if you include massive corporations like Bechtel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which play accounting games to avoid corporate tax rates, in your definition of "small businesses." Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) absurdly claimed on NBC that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) entitlement-slashing debt reduction plan requires more sacrifice from bureaucrats than from average Americans. Worst of all, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) claimed on ABC that tax cuts for the wealthy are good for the economy and don't increase the deficit. In the real world, of course, Pence is wrong on both counts.

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November 01, 2010 9:52 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 31, 2010

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October 31, 2010 5:35 pm ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 31, 2010

Republicans' appearances on the Sunday shows this Halloween were as predictable as any mediocre horror movie, with the lone "twist" coming from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on ABC's This Week. Cornyn lied about President Obama's stump speech, claiming that Obama wants to make Republicans "sit in the back of the bus." That's a Glenn Beck-inspired race-baiting twist on Obama's months-old metaphor about Republicans wanting the keys to the car after they drove it into a ditch, and Cornyn should know better. Meanwhile on CNN, Michael Steele pretended that Republicans are principled deficit hawks, despite turning surpluses into trillions in debt under President Bush. On Face the Nation, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty claimed that higher taxes on the wealthy would neuter the nascent economic recovery despite overwhelming evidence that the rich don't spend more when we give them tax breaks. Most predictable of all, Sarah Palin told Fox News Sunday viewers three different lies about taxes in just a few short paragraphs.

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October 25, 2010 10:03 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 24, 2010

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October 25, 2010 10:01 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 24, 2010

Sunday's political talk shows featured former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie lying to ABC viewers about voter attitudes toward outside groups like his brainchild, American Crossroads, and then misleading about jobs and the economy. In fact, over 70 percent of respondents in this month's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll are concerned about outside spending making lawmakers "beholden" to outside groups. On Face the Nation, Gillespie's colleague Karl Rove claimed conservatives are only just catching up to liberals in outside spending, when it's been a dead heat for a couple cycles now, and studies show conservative groups are less likely to disclose donors than their liberal counterparts. Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, Republican senate candidate Pat Toomey (PA) forgot that American companies pay less tax than our statutory corporate tax rates, and forgot that President Reagan raised taxes 11 times between the famous 1981 tax cut and the rampant economic growth for which Reagan is remembered.

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October 18, 2010 9:46 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 17, 2010

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October 18, 2010 9:46 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 17, 2010

This Sunday's political chatter featured Liz Cheney lying on Face the Nation about what President Obama has said about foreign money, the Chamber of Commerce, and political advertising. Obama made a point about the lack of disclosure from outside spending groups that included a reference to the possibility of foreign influence, and Cheney turned that into an outright accusation. Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) each claimed that government spending has exploded in the last few years. But factoring in the recession, government spending has held steady since the beginning of 2007. Cornyn also found time to mislead about the expiring Bush tax cuts, a topic that Christine O'Donnell (R-DE) also dissembled about in an appearance on ABC's This Week. In reality, the Democrats have consistently called for extending the tax cuts for 97% of the country, and their plan would not affect small businesses the way O'Donnell suggested.

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October 11, 2010 10:34 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 10, 2010

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October 11, 2010 9:54 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 10, 2010

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Illinois senate candidates Mark Kirk (R) and Alexi Giannoulias (D) debated economic policy and traded personal barbs. At one point Kirk described himself as "a fiscal hawk" who "foreswore earmarks," but the truth isn't so pretty: Kirk requested over $200 million in earmarks in from 2007 to 2008, including millions for organizations that donated to his campaign. Later, Kirk argued that the Recovery Act "largely failed," and implied that small businesses weren't helped by the bill. In fact, the Recovery Act's mixture of tax relief for businesses and investments in industry and infrastructure helped us avoid another Great Depression and turned the economy around. Meanwhile, on Face the Nation, former RNC chair Ed Gillespie misled CBS viewers about the balance of political power in the world of soft-money electioneering groups. In reality, 2008 saw conservative and liberal groups each spend about $200 million — far from Gillespie's imagined gap between the parties. Then, Gillespie proved he just isn't good at math when he exaggerated the value of stimulus payments to dead people by 200,000%.

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October 04, 2010 11:14 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 3, 2010

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October 04, 2010 10:43 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 3, 2010

This week, Fox News Sunday hosted an informal debate between Kentucky's Senate nominees, Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (D). Paul has mostly avoided the national media, and this debate suggests part of the reason why: in less than a half-hour, Paul was flagrantly dishonest a half-dozen times, about everything from economic policy to recent history to government policy. For a finale, Paul argued that Kentucky gets a raw deal in its financial relationship with Washington, when in fact Kentucky gets a dollar-fifty back for each dollar they send to D.C.

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September 27, 2010 10:50 am ET filed under Blog

Rep. Pence Can't Make "Credible Economic Argument," Doesn't Bother Trying

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September 27, 2010 10:05 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 26, 2010

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September 27, 2010 10:02 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 26, 2010

Sunday's political talk shows didn't feature anything new as GOP Pledge Week wrapped up. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Tea Party Senate favorite Ken Buck (R-CO) each suggested in separate appearances that cutting rich people's taxes helps the economy by spurring investment (it does not). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) misled Face the Nation viewers about the impact of the Recovery Act (which helped the economy start growing again, despite what he says). Meanwhile, Senate hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL) exaggerated the effect of the Arizona legislature's follow-on legislation that supposedly prevents racial profiling in the hunt for illegal immigrants. In reality, however, the add-on legislation was a cosmetic measure designed to expand profiling opportunities to include municipal ordinance violations.

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September 20, 2010 10:10 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 19, 2010

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September 20, 2010 10:00 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 19, 2010

A huge state and a tiny one dominated the Sunday political talk shows, with the Tea Party takeovers in Alaska and Delaware sucking most of the oxygen out of other subjects. Still, Karl Rove brought his white board to Fox News Sunday and used it to misrepresent the polling on President Obama's proposed middle-class tax cuts. Despite Rove's cherrypicked numbers, major polls show a clear majority of Americans want the rich to start paying their fair share again. Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, meanwhile, argued erroneously that unemployment benefits are unconstitutional. The question was settled in 1937 when the Supreme Court found the constitutional responsibility of Congress to "provide for the general welfare" included providing food money to the jobless.

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September 13, 2010 9:43 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 12, 2010

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September 13, 2010 9:39 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 12, 2010

It was a typically dishonest Sunday for Republicans on the political talk shows. On Fox News Sunday, Newt Gingrich said businesses aren't hiring because President Obama wants to take all their money and because their health care costs are rising. In fact, studies show that a lack of consumer demand is holding down business investment, and the Affordable Care Act has its greatest cost impact on employer-based insurance. On Face the Nation, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) conceded that just 3% of small businesses will pay higher taxes under the Obama tax plan, but insisted that 3% accounts for 50% of small business income. No matter how often he says it, it just isn't true.

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September 07, 2010 9:24 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 5, 2010

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September 07, 2010 9:09 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 5, 2010

Holiday weekends make for quiet Sundays on the political talk circuit, but yesterday Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouldered the propaganda load usually carried by a larger rotation of Republicans. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. McCain took dishonest potshots at President Obama's economic record — economists agree the Recovery Act worked, and the administration has been pushing tax relief for small businesses all summer while McCain's Senate colleagues have blocked the bill — and lied about the future of Medicare. In reality, the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare without cutting benefits. On Meet the Press, Sen. Graham claimed the Affordable Care Act includes a government takeover of health care and higher costs (neither claim is true) before suggesting that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves (they don't) and that the Recovery Act led to 2.5 million job losses (it didn't).

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August 30, 2010 10:02 am ET filed under Blog

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 29, 2010

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August 30, 2010 9:59 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 29, 2010

Sunday on Face The Nation, Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller (AK) stoked fears about Social Security's finances and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) wrapped his sugary drawl around a variety of sour attacks on Democrats' economic policies. Miller claimed "the trust fund is empty," but in reality Social Security holds assets of $2.5 trillion and is solvent through the Baby Boomers' golden years. Later, Gov. Barbour dissembled about the cost-cutting Affordable Care Act — the bill actually reigns in health care spending while expanding coverage dramatically and cutting the deficit — and suggested Democrats aren't creating jobs despite the expert consensus that the Recovery Act and other measures saved millions of jobs and turned the economy around.

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August 23, 2010 9:15 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 22, 2010

Congress is still on recess as the summer comes to a close, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn't taking a vacation from spreading misinformation.  On Sunday's Meet the Press, Sen. McConnell unleashed a torrent of false claims.  After blaming President Obama for the uproar over the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, McConnell turned his attention to the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of this year.  McConnell argued that the public opposes higher taxes for the wealthy, that higher tax rates for the top two income brackets would affect 50 percent of small businesses, and that the Bush tax cuts are not to blame for soaring deficits; all of those claims are patently false.  Later in the program, New York gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio (R) smeared Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as "not peace-loving," implying that he sympathizes with terrorists.

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August 16, 2010 10:00 am ET filed under Fact Check

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 15, 2010

As expected, several Republicans used their appearances on the Sunday shows as an opportunity to demagogue over the controversy involving a proposed Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero.  Sen. John Cornyn falsely claimed that the project would be built on the site of Ground Zero, Rep. Peter King attacked the motives of the man heading the project and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, oblivious to the growing anti-Muslim sentiment within the conservative movement, claimed that the backlash against the project had to do with the sensitivities over Ground Zero and claimed that Americans would support such efforts if it were built elsewhere.

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