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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2014 / 1 Adar II, 5774

Harry Reid's claim that the 'vast majority' of AFP’s Obamacare ads are 'lies'

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | “Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

–Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), remarks on the floor of the Senate, Feb. 26, 2014

“I can’t say that every one of the Koch brothers’ ads are a lie, but I’ll say this: Mr. President, the vast, vast majority of them are.”

–Reid, a few hours later

By popular demand from readers, we will take a look at these statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) He made his comments as part of a harsh attack on the billionaire Koch brothers, who have backed Americans for Prosperity, a political group that has spent $30 million in the past six months, virtually all on ads attacking Democrats who support the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. At one point, he even declared, the brothers had “no conscience” and were “un-American” — political rhetoric that some might argue goes too far, given Reid’s office.

Taken by itself, as a blanket comment that all tales of woe under the new law are false, Reid’s first statement appears ridiculous. But we don’t like to play gotcha here at The Fact Checker. From the context — the focus on the Koch brothers — Reid appeared to be focusing on the tales told in the ads sponsored by AFP.

After an eruption on Twitter and other social media, Reid returned to the floor to amend his statement: “I can’t say that every one of the Koch brothers’ ads are a lie, but I’ll say this: Mr. President, the vast, vast majority of them are.”

“Senator Reid wanted to be accurate so he went back to the floor to correct the record,” said his spokesman Adam Jentleson. “Senator Reid’s argument is with the shadowy, secretive billionaires behind the ads who are spending millions to rig the system to benefit themselves and the corporations they control, not the people in the ads.”

In other words, it appears Reid misspoke the first time, so we will evaluate his second statement. For the record, The Fact Checker awards Pinocchios but shies away from the word “lie” because it is such a harsh, personal judgment. The Pinocchio scale is based on the idea that there are various types of misstatements, some worse than others.

The Facts

By our count on You Tube, Americans for Prosperity has run about 50 anti-Obamacare ads since July. Many are repetitive or on the same theme, frequently citing PolitiFact’s designation of an Obama statement on the law as “Lie of the Year.” Some of the Obamacare ads even feature actors, not real people, which some people might argue crosses a line.

But many of these ads have never been vetted by fact checkers. However, those that have faced scrutiny generally have not fared well.

The Fact Checker, for instance, has examined five of these ads, and has given four of them Two Pinocchios. However, one received just a single Pinocchio, and we praised it for sticking relatively close to the facts for an attack ad.



One ad The Fact Checker evaluated starred a women in Michigan named Julia Boonstra. We raised serious questions about her allegations in this ad—as did our colleagues at PolitiFact—and our analysis was cited by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. Reid, in turn, cited Krugman in his floor speech.

PolitiFact, meanwhile, has looked at six of these ads. In two cases, it said it did not have enough facts for its Truth-O-Meter, but otherwise it awarded one “half true,” two “mostly false,” and one “false” for these ads. Our colleagues at FactCheck.org do not use a rating system, but have faulted two of the ads for lacking context or being wrong.

We should note that AFP is very aggressive with its ads. In the past, it has earned Four Pinocchios from The Fact Checker, and more than 80 percent of its PolitiFact ratings have been Pants on Fire, False or Mostly False. (The percentage declines if you include ads that did not yield a rating.) It has never earned a True or Mostly True rating, which for some political organizations might be a badge of honor.

The Pinocchio Test

Reid claimed that a “vast, vast majority” of AFP’s Obamacare ads are lies. Vast majority is an imprecise and hackneyed phrase, but presumably it is above 75 percent. We’re not sure what a “vast, vast majority” would be.

We also are not sure what would qualify as a “lie” though on balance we might reserve that for Four Pinocchio or Pants on Fire and/or False statements. (Others might add “mostly false” and Three Pinocchio statements to the “lie” pile, but personally that seems to go too far.)

But only one of the Obamacare ads vetted by the Fact Checker or PolitiFact achieved such ratings, though all had various problems and statements that went too far. Meanwhile, our colleague Greg Sargent has noted that two recent AFP ads, released after controversial Boonstra ad, appeared to go out of their way not to make statements that could be called into question.

In this case, even Reid’s revised rhetoric went too far. He would have been on safer ground if he dropped the harsh rhetoric and had simply said that many of the ads have serious problems and even rely on actors, not real people.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here. >

An award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review



Previously:

02/25/14: Obama's claim that 7 million got 'access to health care for the first time' because of his Medicaid expansion

02/11/14: Durbin's claim that 10 million now have health insurance because of Obamacare

01/29/14: Fact Checking the 2014 State of the Union address

01/06/14: The White House's claim that 7 million enrolled in Obamacare 'was never our target number'

01/06/14: Schumer's claims about Democratic and GOP efforts to 'fix' Obamacare

12/12/13: Harry Reid's explanation for why not all of his staff is going on 'Obamacare'

09/05/13: History lesson: When the United States looked the other way on chemical weapons

07/09/13: George W. Bush returns as a uniter

06/11/13: Obama's claim of 500,000 manufacturing jobs, month after month

05/15/13: Prez's claim he called Benghazi an 'act of terrorism'

02/21/13: Obama and early childhood education: a rhetorical leap of faith

02/14/13: Fact checking the 2013 State of the Union speech

10/23/11: Fact Checking the Final Debate

07/10/11: Obama's misleading tweet on Romney's taxes

02/21/11: The claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception: a media foul

12/29/11: Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan (Fact Checker biography)

12/08/11: Romney versus Gingrich: a Super PAC's over-the-top ad

12/08/11: Obama's Kansas speech: some suspect facts

11/18/11: The Obama campaign's spin on the Romney tax plan

09/27/11: Obama' strained symbolism at an Ohio River bridge

08/25/11: Obama's claim that GOP is holding up trade deals

08/11/11: Obama's claim that the debt problem can ‘go away’

06/22/11: AARP's misleading ad about balancing the budget

05/24/11: A rare Geppetto for Paul Ryan's assertion on Obama's hidden top marginal tax rate

05/16/11:Obama administration boasting about border security

05/11/11: Kathleen Sebelius's outrageous claim that cancer patients would 'die sooner' under the GOP Medicare plan

05/09/11: A gusher of oil rhetoric

05/04/11: The Obama administration's odd claims on export growth

04/28/11: How effective are sanctions in ‘changing behavior’?

04/14/11: ‘Biggest cuts in U.S. history’? Well, no.

04/08/11: Nancy Pelosi's absurd math on senior citizens losing their meals

04/06/11: Hillary Clinton's uncredible statement on Syria

03/25/11: Libya, Obama and the tragedy in Darfur

03/22/11: Gifts of bogus statistics for the health-care law's birthday

03/21/11: Mitch McConnell's not-so-happy birthday greetings for the health care law

03/10/11: A job-loss statistic produced out of thin air

03/10/17: A budget analogy that earns a Geppetto checkmark

03/10/11: Four pinocchios for the American public on the budget

03/09/11: Obama and the White House's ‘halfway’ fixation with the budget

03/08/11: Foreign policy braggadocio on Libya and AIDS

03/07/11: Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts’

03/01/11: Mike Huckabee is on to something here, but jumped the gun

02/25/11: Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts


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