The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
Political discourse is littered with claims, counter-claims, deliberate deceptions and honest mistakes. It is hard to know what to believe as the line between fact and fiction is constantly blurred. Some relief is at hand, however, thanks to the work of a non-profit and non-partisan website: www.factcheck.org
Their regular email updates analyse claims made in political speeches, television programmes and radio broadcasts, revealing the truth behind the rhetoric. In the last few days the site has revealed false allegations made by and against both presidential candidates.
Here are some examples of the recent inaccuracies exposed on the site:
McCain’s Viagra moment
‘Planned Parenthood is running a TV ad showing John McCain painfully groping for an answer to a reporter's question: ‘It's unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?’
‘McCain had good reason to be flustered. The premise of the reporter's question is a myth. We couldn't find any data that show a disparity between health insurance companies that cover Viagra and those that cover birth control. The full range of contraceptives, in fact, are covered by more than 86 percent of private insurance plans written for employers.’
The truth of troop support
‘The McCain campaign is running a TV ad attacking Obama with statements that are literally true but paint an incomplete picture.
‘It says he "voted against funding our troops." He did – exactly once. Obama cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills before voting against one last year, after Bush vetoed a version that contained a date for withdrawal from Iraq.
‘It says he "hasn't been to Iraq for years." He was headed there at the time the ad was released, however, and had been there in 2006.
‘It says he "never held a single hearing on Afghanistan." It was the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not Obama's subcommittee, that had the hearings on this global hot spot, and Obama attended one of those. Over the same time period, McCain himself attended none of the Afghanistan hearings held by the Armed Services Committee on which he serves.’
Vets for Freedom ad attributes CIA chief's viewpoint to a critical newspaper
'Vets for Freedom, a group made up of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, launched a new ad this week that falsely attributes a quote to the Washington Post. The ad gives the impression that the Post was a critic of the surge in Iraq and is now admitting it was wrong. But the words the group uses are the views of the head of the CIA, not the newspaper.'
So whatever your political leaning, if you’re interested in finding out the facts register with Fact Check.
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