Factchecking the Minnows and Letting the Whales Swim Away

In an attempted factcheck of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention, AP‘s Calvin Woodward (8/30/12) takes on Romney’s big laugh line:

Mitt Romney at the RNC

Romney at the RNC (Photo by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour)

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet.  My promise is to help you and your family.

Woodward looked into it and found that, indeed, Obama had said something like that. But aren’t the important factual questions here whether ocean levels actually are rising, and if so whether it’s possible to do anything about them? (The answers are “yes” and “yes,” as it turns out.)

The Washington Post Glenn Kessler (8/31/12)  was similarly selective when factchecking Romney’s promise, “Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.” He addresses the first part–finding that “overall Obama has cut taxes broadly for the middle class”–but ignores the second part. Romney does have a tax proposal, though, and what seems to be the best analysis of it concludes that it would deliver a tax increase to the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers–those in the middle income group would get a tax hike of more than $500 a year, while the top 0.1 percent would get an average tax break of $247,000. That seems like a fact voters might want to know about.

(CBS‘s Brian Montopoli does a better job checking the same Romney statement–8/31/12.)


About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.