[Vision2020] Those stupid facts: the Republican reign of error

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Feb 18 03:35:42 PST 2016

Courtesy of today's (February 18, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with special thanks to Nick Gier.

His View: Those stupid facts: the Republican reign of error
By Nick Gier, The Palouse Pundit 
In "There He Goes Again: Ronald Reagan's Reign of Error," Mark Green and Gail MacColl document over 300 errors and misstatements. Many of Reagan's bloopers would rate, according to the fact finders at Politifact, as "Pants on Fire," defined as ridiculously or inexcusably false. Here are two:
On April 14, 1983, Reagan falsely reassured Americans that "we are not trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government," when in fact we were arming the Contra rebels.
In an interview in Time magazine's Dec. 8, 1986, edition, Reagan stated that "another country was facilitating those sales of weapon systems to Iran." Of course the truth was that his own government did it, and some of the proceeds were funneled to the Contras.
Green and MacColl were not using the same methodology as Politifact. They combed Reagan's entire record.
Politifact states that we "can't possibly check all claims, so we select the most newsworthy and significant ones." Their analysts choose statements that can be most easily verified. Their careful, in-depth analysis is as balanced as it is impressive. Politifact's ratings include true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false and Pants on Fire.
In the current presidential campaign, averaging the percentages from their Truth-O-Meter for the six top GOP candidates (Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Bush, Kasich and Carson), 57 percent of their statements are in Politifact's three false categories.
With a grand total of five true statements, Trump, Cruz and Carson (he has none) bring down the average dramatically. If one removes them from this list, Rubio, Bush and Kasich average 65 percent in the true categories.
With regard to true, mostly true and half true statements, Clinton and Sanders average 70 percent. The Democratic candidates have a total of two Pants on Fire - both for Clinton. They are the false claim that ISIS was using Trump in their videos, and "I remember landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia.
Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney, whose record 19 Pants on Fire were 9 percent of his 2012 campaign statements (Obama had nine for 2 percent), the six Republicans have racked up 37 ridiculous falsehoods that account for 9 percent of their total statements.
So far, Trump has 18 Pants on Fire, and he won Politifact's distinction of 2015 Liar of the Year. Here are four "huuuge" bloopers:
"The unemployment rate may be as high as 42 percent."
"Crime statistics show blacks kill 81 percent of white homicide victims." This is one lie that drove Dylan Roof to murder nine black church members.
"I watched in Jersey City where thousands and thousands of people were cheering" as the World Trade Center collapsed. In some versions of this, American Muslims are implicated.
"The Mexican government sends the bad ones over." The fact is that more people are now going back to Mexico than coming.
The pants of the other candidates are also on fire. Lying about Obamacare is a daily occurrence, as Rubio demonstrates: Because of the Affordable Care Act, "75 percent of small businesses now say they are either firing workers or cutting their hours."
Bush joins all Republicans in trashing Planned Parenthood by saying that it is "not actually doing women's health issues," when in fact that is 97 percent of its efforts.
For being way out there, Ben Carson takes the prize. His statements - 85 percent of the time - are mostly false, false or Pants on Fire. Most likely because it has no political value, Politifact does not count his absurd theory that the Egyptians stored grain in their pyramids.
In 1983 Reagan said "make sure I'm telling you the truth," but his present-day Republicans are so fact aversive I don't believe they are capable of doing so.

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"There's room at the top they are telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."

- John Lennon
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