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AP, NYT ‘Fact Check’ The Republican Debate

From those champions of the truth at the Associated Press:

FACT CHECK: Perry, Romney twist records in debate

CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press, JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press
Sep. 8, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.

Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid.

Isn’t it good to have a job in this economy, no matter if it is not highly paid?

True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state’s employment growth was among the nation’s worst.

So unemployment dropped, but the AP still claims job growth wasn’t good enough.

A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts:

PERRY: "Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage."

THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.

But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data are unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be barely above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.

About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.

Could it be that a large illegal alien population drives down wages? And that the cost of living in Texas keeps wages lower. In any case, wouldn’t most people be glad to have a job, even a relatively low paying job, rather than being unemployed?

ROMNEY: "At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country."

THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

Hilarious. Does the AP think that after four years Obama will get unemployment down to 6.7 percent? Every prediction, including those from the White House, say unemployment will probably be above 9 percent at the end of Obama’s first term.

And, of course, unemployment is currently at least 1.4% higher than when Obama took office.

PERRY: On global warming, "The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just, is nonsense. … Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy."

THE FACTS: The scientific consensus on climate change is about as settled as any major scientific issue can be. Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view of an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. The National Academy of Sciences, in an investigation requested by Congress, concluded last year: "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment." …

"Is very likely" does not quite equate to "as settled as any major science can be." But this is what the AP calls fact checking. Just making bald and totally unsubstantiated assertions.

Meanwhile, from those truth seekers at the New York Times:

Attacking the Democrats, but Not Always Getting It Right

By JOHN M. BRODER, NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, and JACKIE CALMES
September 8, 2011

During more than an hour and 45 minutes of intense debate on Wednesday night, the Republican presidential candidates did not shy away from exchanging blows with each other. But some of the toughest criticism — and some of the most factually problematic — was reserved for the policies, programs, and principles traditionally associated with Democrats, from tackling climate change to broadening access to health care to providing retirement insurance for the elderly.

How dare these Republican candidates attack the Democrats? Don’t they know the media intended them to attack each other?

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, assailed the federal government and President Obama in particular for what he said were overbearing regulations on oil drilling, coal mining and nuclear energy…

But those claims are largely untrue. While Mr. Obama declared a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill in 2010, the government began granting permits again earlier this year and activity is approaching pre-spill levels. The administration recently announced a major lease sale in the western Gulf of Mexico and gave provisional approval to a Shell project in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska. And while a number of utilities have canceled plans to build new coal plants, that is largely because demand for electricity has slowed, not because of new federal regulations…

Does anyone believe any of this? Obama has closed the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, effectively putting an end to any further nuclear power plant construction in the US. He has not lifted the bans on most offshore and Alaskan drilling. And we know Mr. Obama’s feelings on ‘clean coal’ – he wants to put it out of business.

Some of the sharpest language of the night came when Mr. Perry laid into Social Security, saying, “You cannot keep the status quo in place and call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme.” But that metaphor is misleading. Government projections have Social Security exhausting its reserves by 2037, absent any changes, but show that the payroll tax revenues coming in would cover more than three-quarters of benefits to recipients then

In other words, The Times is claiming that Social Security is in great shape and that it is funded until 2037. Even though we know it is already operating in the red, and that no less an authority than Barack Obama has stated that it is no longer sustainable in its current form.

But this is what passes for ‘fact checking’ in the year 2011.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 8th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “AP, NYT ‘Fact Check’ The Republican Debate”

  1. Laree says:

    Michael Graham 96.9 Boston Talk, leader of “Anyone But Romney For President” Movement.

    Michael Gramham, Has Brokeback Moment “Pretty Excited About Rick Perry” Video this morning on Imus In The Morning.

    http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2011/09/imus-guest-michael-graham-has-brokeback.html

  2. Perdido says:

    It would be funny except that.. well, actually it is funny!


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