Home > "Liberal" Media, Election 2012, Right-Wing Lies > More False Equivalencies Over Debate Fact-Checking

More False Equivalencies Over Debate Fact-Checking

October 24th, 2012

FactCheck.org has more to be ashamed of in its “fact-checking” of the final debate. Once again, they go out of their way to create a false equivalency by making it seem like Obama and Romney were equally untruthful. They list ten “incorrect or twisted factual claims” during the debate, five from each candidate.

From Obama (who, strangely, is featured in 4 of the top five items, making him appear more untruthful), they cite distortions of Romney’s statements on Pakistan, Iraq, Russia, and the Detroit bailout, and dinged him for a claim about veteran employment.

From Romney, they cite the Naval weakness, “apology tour,” federal debt claim, taking credit for Massachusetts’ education accomplishments, and a claim about terrorism not being mentioned in the 2000 debates.

Here are Romney errors and lies they missed:

  • Syria is Iran’s route to the sea
  • Obama failed to deal with Syria and begged for help from the U.N. and Russia instead
  • Obama was “silent” on Iran’s Green Revolution
  • Obama said he’d distance ourselves from Israel
  • Obama wasted four years doing nothing about Iran
  • Obama has allowed “jihadists” to strengthen and spread
  • Government investments never make businesses grow and hire people
  • Claims about the nature of Medicaid and how states can run it better
  • Romney was strikingly bipartisan in Massachusetts, when in fact, he exercised the veto 844 times and failed to get his big-ticket items through the legislature
  • Romney will create 12 million new jobs
  • Romney will eliminate Obamacare unilaterally
  • Romney would stop Iranian oil imports that don’t exist
  • Romney will balance the budget (with a $5 trillion tax cut on top of Bush’s plus increased military spending)
  • The debt is Obama’s fault, is like Greece’s, and Romney’s plans will shrink the deficit in comparison

Ironically, FactCheck.org dings Obama for misrepresenting Romney on his Detroit statements, while Romney also misrepresented himself—but that was not mentioned in their analysis. In fact, Obama’s “inaccurate” depiction of Romney’s statements is kind of a weasel: Obama is dinged for saying that Romney did not approve of “government assistance,” when he was referring to direct aid; Romney said he’d approve federal guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing, which involves indirect government support for a private sector bailout—a bailout which would not have occurred. Calling Obama out for splitting hairs while not citing Romney’s lies about what he proposed is completely inappropriate for a fact-check like this. Romney lied more significantly, but Obama is called untruthful for not being specific enough.

How about Obama “lies” left out of the analysis? FactCheck.org has dinged Obama in the past for claiming that Romney’s tax plan would create 800,000 jobs overseas, but it’s an interpretation based on Romney’s vagueness about what the plan would be exactly; so not including it in the fact-check was a good decision.

Other than that? Well, there’s one I heard on CNN, when they were “fact checking” the claim about the Navy. To my disgust, they called Obama the one who was wrong. Why? Because bayonets are standard issue, and so there are probably more in the military now than there were in the past. As if Romney’s vast overstatements about naval weakness are somehow even close to being equivalent to that. It was a throwaway line, a “zinger,” if you will, and part of a larger point which was 100% true: that the number of ships, especially over the span of a century, is not the way you determine naval power.

In short: Every single misstatement by Obama is listed save one or two inconsequential ones, while at least a dozen whoppers made by Romney are edited out of the fact-check. Romney lied his ass off, making bigger and more significant misstatements, and somehow, Obama gets top listing for inaccuracies in a determination that counts the same overall number of untruths?

This is the great shame of the media in this election: ever since the first debate, where Romney made his sudden Etch-a-Sketch move, the media has been willing to eviscerate Obama, while backing off on Romney. Probably as much to create a horserace which will get them bigger ratings than because of their conservative bias, but the motive makes little difference.

The fact is, Romney is getting away with a massive amount of lying, and the media is his immediate accomplice.

  1. Kensensei
    October 27th, 2012 at 11:10 | #1


    Here in the Bay Area, I listen to a lot of talk radio (kind of an obsession actually…). I tune into the Right-wing stations on occasion (usually when my favorite station is on a commercial break). I tuned into a complete moron named Mark Levin today, who really had nothing of import to say about Romney. Most people regardless of their political ideals agree Romney’s best qualification as president is that ‘he’s not Obama’.

    But this Levin guy was all over the Libya 911 incident. He went on about what a major f#ck-up it was, and the so-called “cover-up”, the need for a congressional investigation, how it reflects on Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience, and on and on.
    I went back to my other station for 30 minutes. Thirty minutes later, I listened to Levin again and he was still talking about Libya!

    I just think it’s interesting that this somewhat overblown foreign policy blunder is really gaining momentum on the Right. (Of course, the 2001 911 attacks could never be due to Dubbya’s lack of foreign policy experience, no, no, no…). The Libyan incident, although regrettable, isn’t even on anyone else’s radar anymore. We’ve accepted it as a tragedy, even a foreign policy snafu. But for us, it’s over and done with. Most sensible people could grasp the fact that presidents are not infallible, and a congressional investigation would be expensive, time-consuming and a complete waste of time…

    But what do I know…?

    Your list of Romney’s flip-flops, lies, hypocrisies and general ignorance of the facts doesn’t phase the Right at all. For them, it’s all about Obama’s big Libya blunder. It’s about four tragic America lives lost in Libya and a face-saving cover-up that presumably took place afterwards.

    The Libyan 911 incident continues to be propagated because it is the only remotely-relevant talking point the Right can use to stick it to Obama.

    Seriously? That’s ALL you got? Let it go already…


  2. Troy
    October 28th, 2012 at 00:59 | #2

    Libyan attack is part of the BS.

    We’re no longer one nation, we’re two tribes going at each other.

    As the economic imbalances suck more and more wealth out of the middle class, the plutocrats winning this wealth need to distract the electorate — their ~50% share of it at least — more and more.

    It looks like the right’s holy war against homosexuals is running out of steam, but access to abortion is still a good battle for them to fight.

    Nobody seems to understand how exactly this nation’s economy became so screwed up.

    But it’s pretty messed up that the Republicans would put forward a private equity wheeler dealer to be their candidate now.

    Maybe only Nixon can go to China and Romney can really stick it to the 1%; fat chance of course but redistribution is only a small part of the structural reforms necessary to turn this nation around.

    Obama himself has been no FDR, but I wasn’t expecting him to be.

    As this nation couldn’t get our politics sorted after the eight year disaster that was Bush, I don’t expect to see any positive movement this decade.

    Again, it’s the bullshit.

  3. Kensensei
    October 28th, 2012 at 04:22 | #3

    but redistribution is only a small part of the structural reforms necessary to turn this nation around.

  4. Kensensei
    October 28th, 2012 at 04:22 | #4

    Any mention of ‘redistribution of wealth’, ‘govt oversight or regulation’ or ending the tax cuts for ‘small businesses (aka ‘wealthy corporations’) brings cries of ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ from the Right.

    We do not, in fact, live in a laissez faire capitalist society, and we never have. There is a basic need for govt regulation of our economy due to the inherent weaknesses in a completely unregulated economy.

    Now that the problems of unregulated economy have become so exacerbated, there is an even greater need for wealth redistribution. And yet, where is the sense of urgency to repair, and indeed accountability for, the blatant errors in the basic economic blunders resulting from trickle-down methods of the Right?

    None whatsoever that I can see. They use the ‘socialism’ mantra to cover up their lack of understanding of the problem, and continuously refuse to ackowledge the policies that brought our nation to this horrific state.

  5. Kensensei
    October 28th, 2012 at 04:25 | #5

    (Kensensei’s response to Troy’s comments lost somewhere in cyberspace…)
    Please retrieve and post if possible.

  6. Troy
    October 28th, 2012 at 05:41 | #6

    I don’t mean redistribution in the static sense, I mean reversing the flows that are pulling money out of the 95% to the 5%.

    The one thing that Japan has going for it is the very low cost of health care, at least compared to the top 10 economies:


    Now, I’m not entirely sure I’d want Japan over say Canada or Germany’s system, but I’d take it over the US’s.

    Housing is another biggie. In the aftermath of the mortgage crash we’re seeing rich people buy up housing to rent out, which is only entrenching the ongoing economic injustice facing tens of millions of households in this country.

    There’s $5000 per-capita in excess rents being taken via medical care, and I think about the same via real estate — commercial and residential — rents.

    Then there’s the profiteering going on in corporate america — rising productivity and global savings are not being distributed down to the actual workers, but being kept by capital. This is visible in the corporate after-tax number:


    and rising Gini:


    Together, blue is Gini and red is after-tax corporate profits / total wages:


    Finally there’s the $600B/yr trade deficit ripping money out of the middle class, mostly via energy imports and “trade” with China.

    Medical care, real estate, energy consumption, and trade with China — these are the flows ripping trillions out of the middle class each year.

    These are the real issues, but nobody is serious about addressing them. 99% of the population doesn’t even get exposed to this reality as-it-is. We get jingoistic bits and pieces, but people don’t deal with numbers all that well.

  7. Troy
    October 28th, 2012 at 05:45 | #7

    yeah if you say the s-word (social ism) I think Luis’ blog will still filter your comment!

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