2007: The Year in Spin

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Filed under: Hype, Propaganda and Disinformation, Spin


The Whoppers of 2007
December 30, 2007
by Brooks Jackson, with the staff of
FactCheck.org

PinocchioWe review some notable political falsehoods and distortions of the year.

Summary

The year 2007 wasn’t a good one for political honesty. Though not even technically an election year, it provided a bumper crop of falsehoods and distortions nonetheless.

Presidential candidates kept us busy:

  • Republican Rudy Giuliani made false claims over and over about his record as mayor of New York, and even about England’s health care system.
  • Democrat Bill Richardson also mangled the facts repeatedly, claiming credit for creating more jobs as New Mexico’s governor than actually materialized and using a made-up figure about the performance of U.S. students, among other misstatements.
  • Republican Mitt Romney claimed undeserved credit for himself as governor of Massachusetts and made false or misleading claims about two of his rivals.
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton ran an ad claiming that National Guard and Reserve troops had no health insurance before she went to work, when in fact most of them did.
  • Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee repeatedly twisted the facts when talking about his record on taxes in Arkansas and other subjects. And there were plenty of other howlers from the large field of candidates.
  • Misinformation came both from Congress and the White House:

  • Democrats made false promises about their Medicare drug bill in January.
  • President Bush returned the favor in September by making a false claim about a Democratic effort to expand health care coverage for children in low-income families.
  • Independent groups also dispensed misinformation during 2007:

  • Advocates of the so-called “FairTax” claimed a 23 percent national sales tax can replace both the federal income tax and Social Security taxes. In truth, the actual rate would have to be at least 34 percent even if it fell on new homes, mortgage and credit-card interest and a host of other products and services not usually subject to state or local sales taxes.
  • A labor union group ran an ad supporting Democrat John Edwards that left the impression that jobs from a closed Iowa plant had gone overseas, when really they had gone to Ohio.
  • A business group ran an ad falsely claiming that “lawsuit abuse” costs families thousands of dollars per year, which isn’t true.
  • What follows is not an exhaustive list, but a sampler of the worst falsehoods and distortions that we uncovered during the year, in no particular order. For more details and our documentation on any of the items, follow the links to read the original articles.

    image: runawaystage.com