December 19, 2011 9:26 am ET filed under Blog
December 19, 2011 9:24 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week on the Sunday political talk shows, topics of discussion ranged far and wide. On Fox News Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney advocated for block granting Medicaid despite the harm that would do to those who rely on the program. On This Week, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) distorted the content of a CBO report on income inequality. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), appearing on Meet the Press, shared several false claims: that employers are concerned about "uncertainty," and that the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), also on Meet the Press, did the same, falsely asserting that there's no evidence the payroll tax holiday created jobs and that Iran has threatened the U.S. and Israel with nuclear weapons.
December 12, 2011 9:59 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week's Sunday political talk shows saw a major focus on the debate over the payroll tax cut extension. On Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacked President Obama and "Newt Romney" — a name for Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney she came up with during Saturday's debate — over the payroll tax cut, saying there's no evidence the cut helped create jobs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the tax cut an 'emergency measure' and said it wouldn't be necessary if President Obama's "failed" policies hadn't resulted in a higher deficit and jobless rates. McConnell, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also pushed for the Keystone Pipeline using discredited job creation numbers.
December 05, 2011 10:00 am ET filed under Blog
December 05, 2011 9:52 am ET filed under Fact Check
On the first Sunday of December, GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus each brought their share of falsehoods to the table. On CNN's State of the Union, Bachmann dismissed the economic significance of the payroll tax holiday even though economists explain that putting more money in the hands of workers would give an appreciable boost to the economy. She also appeared on Fox News Sunday, where she falsely claimed that businesses aren't hiring because they don't have enough money. During his appearances, Priebus did his best to attack the Obama administration's record, distorting the reasons behind November's unemployment rate drop on Meet the Press. He also tried to blame President Obama for deficits that are a legacy of Bush-era Republican policies and for a rising poverty rate that's the result of the recession.
November 28, 2011 9:24 am ET filed under Blog
November 28, 2011 9:19 am ET filed under Fact Check
On the last Sunday of November, Republicans had a lot of airtime — and lots of lies. On Meet the Press, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform regurgitated the false Republican talking point that Obama's stimulus plan "killed jobs." Freshman Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) made an appearance on This Week to claim the deficit is not a revenue problem, a statement disputed by historically low revenue intake. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) appeared on Fox News Sunday to hype the "Toomey Plan", claiming that it would have raised revenues while paying down the debt, leaving out that the plan trades regressive tax cuts for only small revenue increases. Lastly, Herman Cain appeared on State of the Union to claim that unemployment benefits shouldn't be extended because they are a 'distraction' from the real problem of a lack of economic growth. But the Congressional Budget Office has found that unemployment benefits are a "timely and cost-effective" way to spur on the economy.
November 21, 2011 10:12 am ET filed under Blog
November 21, 2011 10:02 am ET filed under Fact Check
Sunday's political talk shows focused almost exclusively on the efforts of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, with a number of the committee's members appearing on separate shows. Democratic committee member Sen. John Kerry (MA) pointed out on Meet the Press that "we are not a tax-cutting committee. We're a deficit-reduction committee." However, that point doesn't seem to have gotten through to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), all of whom complained that the only thing stopping a deal was a refusal by Democrats to extend the costly and regressive Bush tax cuts. For the second time in as many weeks, Hensarling argued that the Bush tax cuts were not one of the largest drivers of the debt, while Kyl claimed that not extending them would wreck the economy. Toomey went so far as to say that that the federal government does not have a revenue problem but only a spending problem.
November 14, 2011 10:37 am ET filed under Blog
November 14, 2011 10:29 am ET filed under Fact Check
The Penn State sexual abuse scandal headlined the political talk shows on Sunday, but Republican leaders still found plenty of time to air dishonest talking points about conservative policies. GOP super committee members Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) misled viewers about the root of the debt problem the committee is trying to solve and what Republicans have proposed to address it. In particular, both lawmakers severely distorted the impact of the failed Bush tax cuts. Elsewhere, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Republicans want to "reduce taxes on every single American," ignoring the party leaders demanding that the poor pay higher taxes, and struggling presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that "what we need to win this war on terror" is the reinstatement of Bush-approved torture techniques.
November 07, 2011 11:06 am ET filed under Blog
November 07, 2011 10:57 am ET filed under Fact Check
With much of the airtime on this week's Sunday political talk shows devoted to discussing the Herman Cain scandal and Gov. Rick Perry's (R-TX) antics, the substantive issues took a back seat. Yet a few key Republicans still managed to squeeze in a couple of standard GOP attacks. On This Week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that the stimulus "has not worked," a falsehood echoed by presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Meet the Press. Boehner also found time to inflate the effect of a millionaires' surtax on small-business owners, and to deny that congressional Republicans have gone after America's social safety net. In fact, one major Republican initiative — the House-passed GOP budget plan — proposed to upend major safety net programs for children, the poor, and seniors.
October 31, 2011 10:49 am ET filed under Blog
October 31, 2011 10:24 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week's Sunday talk shows included several GOP presidential contenders who have figured out that ignoring facts is a winning formula among their party's voters. While all the candidates who appeared on the shows parroted the same points they've been making for the past several months, there were also several new allegations. On Face the Nation, GOP frontrunner Herman Cain, after having adjusted his 9-9-9 tax plan to avoid tax hikes on those living in poverty, claimed that the exemption was there all along and that his critics simply misreported his plan. That's unlikely given that Cain has been on record defending taxing the income of those living in poverty. On This Week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was called out for misrepresenting immigration statistics. Rather than acknowledge her mistake and move on, Bachmann claimed that she did not say what the video clearly showed her saying. And on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) repeated a slew of easily debunked economic talking points, including that President Obama had overseen the creation of "practically no jobs."
October 24, 2011 9:46 am ET filed under Blog
October 24, 2011 9:40 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week's Sunday political talk shows focused primarily on national security, with the shows' Republican guests universally condemning the administration's announcement late last week that the remaining American troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. In the process of trashing President Obama's record on foreign policy on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) found time to suggest that trying terrorist suspects in civilian courts was unprecedented and dangerous, even though the Bush administration successfully prosecuted a number of prominent terrorists in federal courts, which tend to hand down stricter sentences than military commissions. Later on the same show, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) misrepresented President Ronald Reagan's legacy when she explained that her economic policy proposal "takes a page out of Ronald Reagan's blueprint," which she claimed created an "economic miracle" in the 1980s. On State of the Union, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) focused on economic falsehoods, attacking proposals to tax income over $1 million by inflating the number of small businesses affected and suggesting falsely that the American people don't support such a plan. He continued misinforming the audience, suggesting their biggest concern is over-reguation despite strong evidence that lack of demand is a much more pressing issue.
October 17, 2011 9:46 am ET filed under Blog
October 17, 2011 9:37 am ET filed under Fact Check
Republicans spent their Sunday morning TV appearances blaming Democrats for the economy and trying to convince Wall Street protesters to join them in their scapegoating. Contrary to what Herman Cain and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed, the facts show that private firms, not government entities, inflated the subprime mortgage bubble, and Wall Street, not Democrats, turned those loans into an elaborate casino game that left the entire country on the hook for their bad bets. Similarly, Cantor and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were wrong to suggest that Democratic policies on taxes and regulations are hurting the economy, and that Republican proposals will do more to create jobs than President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. In addition, Cain claimed that his "9-9-9" tax plan won't hurt the poor and implied that Obama has cut defense spending, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) blamed the credit downgrade on the president, and Sen. McCain said that Obama never spoke up on behalf of Iranian protesters in 2009. In each case, the facts disagree.
October 11, 2011 10:43 am ET filed under Blog
October 11, 2011 10:31 am ET filed under Fact Check
Sunday's political talk shows were chock full of the misinformation that we've come to expect from conservatives. On CBS' Face The Nation, presidential hopeful Herman Cain told viewers that his 9-9-9 economic plan was revenue neutral and disputed the charge that it is regressive. However, his plan would cut taxes for the very wealthy and "disproportionately tax lower and middle income earners." Cain also appeared on CNN's State of the Union, where he claimed that 50 percent of taxpayers account for just 3 percent of all taxes. On NBC's Meet the Press, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed that businesses are not hiring because of regulatory uncertainty. That is not supported by the facts, however: Economists and business owners point to weak consumer demand, not uncertainty. And finally, Rick Santorum, another presidential contender, continued his homophobic ways by telling Fox News host Chris Wallace that being gay is a choice.
October 03, 2011 10:30 am ET filed under Blog
October 03, 2011 10:20 am ET filed under Fact Check
On the first weekend in October, the Sunday talk shows saw a presidential candidate, two governors, and a former vice president's daughter. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) appeared on CBS and CNN to absolve President George W. Bush for the current economic situation while solely placing the blame on President Barack Obama. Not to be outdone by Barbour, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) appeared on Meet the Press to lie about the president's previous statements on unemployment. Herman Cain, still riding high from his Florida straw poll victory, appeared on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that his "9-9-9 plan" is actually fairer than the current progressive tax system. Lastly, Keep America Safe's Liz Cheney appeared on State of the Union to claim that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that enhanced interrogation led us to Osama bin Laden. In fact, Panetta has said that the Bush-era torture program produced lies and misinformation about the identity of bin Laden's personal courier.
September 26, 2011 9:50 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week's Sunday talk shows saw Republicans sloppily blaming President Obama wholesale for America's economic woes. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used his bully pulpit to claim President Obama made "every problem" he inherited from Bush's failed economic polices "much worse." On Face the Nation, RNC Chair Reince Priebus took the same tack by claiming DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz couldn't "point to one economic statistic in this country that Barack Obama has made better." Graham also absurdly claimed that cuts to the defense department triggered if the super committee fails to reach a compromise would "destroy the Defense Department." And on State of the Union, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) struggled to absolve the Tea Party of blame for a third budgetary standoff in the House, instead accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) instead of 'manufacturing a crisis.'
September 19, 2011 9:51 am ET filed under Blog
September 19, 2011 9:32 am ET filed under Fact Check
This week's Sunday political talk shows saw a litany of standard GOP untruths. On CNN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) repeated the favorite false Republican talking point of late: that businesses aren't hiring because of "uncertainty." He was joined in his lie by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and presidential candidate Herman Cain, both of whom appeared on Fox News Sunday. Both Cain and Ryan also revived an old piece of misinformation — that raising taxes on top earners would disproportionately harm small businesses — which was echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). For his part, Graham misrepresented the public's opinion on taxing the wealthy, and absurdly claimed that "everything" — including unemployment — is worse because of President Obama's policies. Ryan dredged up some old lies about the House-passed GOP budget's effects on Medicare, which it would essentially destroy, and then falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act's Independent Payment Advisory Board puts bureaucrats in charge of "rationing."
September 06, 2011 10:15 am ET filed under Blog
September 06, 2011 9:59 am ET filed under Fact Check
The Labor Day editions of the Sunday political shows featured a would-be president lying about energy policy and a so-called "Tea Party kingmaker" lying about safety net programs. On CBS, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) defended her promise that as president she would bring gas prices below $2 per gallon by claiming that President Obama has put American energy resources "off limits." Actual energy experts have said repeatedly that government policies aren't behind rising gas prices, which were "inevitable" in light of the artificially low prices brought about by the economic collapse. And the statistics don't back up Bachmann's accusations about Obama's policies. Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) told ABC viewers that Social Security is bankrupt (even though it isn't) and claimed on CNN that unemployment benefits don't create jobs (even though they do).
August 22, 2011 11:15 am ET filed under Fact Check
This Sunday's talk shows echoed a quiet week in Washington, with newly-minted head of the Republican Governor's Association Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) regurgitating standard lines on the President Obama's economic policies. McDonnell also faulted President Obama for the country's current debt and deficits, rejecting the notion that President George W. Bush bears any responsiblity. Long-shot presidential candidate Rick Santorum joined him in misplacing blame for deficits, claiming that safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps are "the core problem with our deficit," before wrongly suggesting that repealing the health care reform law would create jobs and increase growth. Fellow presidential contender Jon Huntsman trotted out his flat tax plan, glossing over the truth about its disproportionate effect on the lower and middle classes. He also blamed the fact that corporations aren't hiring on "uncertainty and confusion," when business leaders themselves point to weak demand, not government policies.
August 15, 2011 10:18 am ET filed under Fact Check
Following Saturday's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, this week's Sunday political talk shows had a whole lot of straw poll winner Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Bachmann was on all five shows misrepresenting the rationale behind Standard & Poor's decision to lower the United States' credit rating and repeating the false claim that no Republicans had been "threatening default." She also pushed the debunked claim that the stimulus caused government to grow while the private sector lost jobs. With Bachmann dominating the bulk of time on all the shows, few others got time to speak, leaving Bachmann the sole focus of this week's fact check.