"Fact Checking” has become as controversial as the claims being fact checked.
It's impossible to follow all the lines of all the different Fact Checkers and the Fact Checkers who check the facts of fellow Fact Checkers.
Clinton during his speech:
“He [Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade. For every $2.5 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues, 2.5 to 1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan commission. … It passes the arithmetic test.”
For whatever reason, PolitiFact didn't check this "fact."
The Washington Post, however did and found:
The repeated claim that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit by $4 trillion is simply not accurate.
By the administration’s math, you have nearly $3.8 trillion in spending cuts, compared to $1.5 trillion in tax increases (letting the Bush tax cuts expire for high-income Americans). Presto, $1 of tax increases for every $2.50 of spending cuts.
But virtually no serious budget analyst agreed with this accounting. The $4 trillion figure, for instance, includes counting some $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in budget negotiations with Congress. So no matter who is the president, the savings are already in the bank.
Moreover, the administration is also counting $848 billion in phantom savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the administration had long made clear those wars would end.
In other words, by projecting war spending far in the future, the administration is able to claim credit for saving money it never intended to spend. (Imagine taking credit for saving money on buying a new car every year, even though you intended to keep your car for 10 years.)
Rather than good arithmetic, independent budget analysts called the maneuver “a major budget gimmick.”
The administration also counts $800 billion in savings in debt payments (from lower deficits) as a “spending cut,” which is a dubious claim. We didn’t realize that debt payments were now considered a government program.
There are a number of other games being played, so fake money is being used to pay for real spending projects. In effect, most of Obama’s claimed deficit reduction comes from his proposed tax increases.
Meanwhile, both Clinton and Van Hollen claim Obama’s budget has the “balanced approach” of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission proposal. But the Simpson-Bowles plan is actually quite different, calling for tough spending cuts and substantial tax reforms — not the faux proposals contained in the president’s budget.
Clinton also said during his speech:
“During this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.”
Again, PolitiFact passed on this one, but the Washington Post did not:
Clinton is referring to the period since February 2010, the administration’s preferred date for counting employment figures. If you count from the beginning of Obama’s term, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000. Manufacturing jobs have been on a long steep decline since the middle of Clinton’s term, with some 2 million jobs lost during the recession that started at the end of George W. Bush’s term.
There are others but you can see them for yourself at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/fact-checking-bill-clintons-speech-and-other-democrats-at-the-convention-in-charlotte/2012/09/06/55b9df68-f7e1-11e1-8b93-c4f4ab1c8d13_blog.html
I don't know whether or not PolitiFact has a particular political axe to grind or any sort of demonstrated bias, but it's clear that any of these Fact Checkers can create an inaccurate picture of the credibility of a speech by intentional or even unintentional selection of the "facts" they choose to check.
I don't usually bother with these Fact Checking articles because of their many flaws, but PolitiFact does something of a disservice to its readers when it checks fact that are irrelevant.
Clinton also noted that Ryan attacked Obama for "the same amount of Medicare savings that (Ryan) had in his own budget." Clinton is correct that the Ryan budget plan included cost savings that were part of the health care law, and we rated the statement True.
Ryan is not at the top of the ticket and Romney has not adopted 100% of his budget. What may or may not have been in any of the several iterations of the "Ryan Budget" may provide someone like Clinton with a less obvious Straw man then those Obama sets up, but the issue is largely irrelevant unless PolitiFact is prepared to establish as True
, claims that Romney will adopt Ryan's budget as originally written or that Ryan will actually be our President if the GOP ticket wins.
For virtually every speech (irrespective of the party affiliation of the person giving it) Fact Checkers find statements that are true, mostly true half true, false, mostly false and half false. Since I don't consult Fact Checker, I could easily have missed it, but I doubt there has been any speech by a partisan that all the Fact Checkers agree was True (or for that matter, False).
So some of Clinton's "facts" were true? Maybe more than half of them were. Does that excuse the use of false facts?
Typically we see people support their guy's speech with a Fact Checking report that seems to indicate most of the facts were true, blithely ignoring the fact that some were not. If we're willing to accept that some of the facts touted are false, why should we really care about the ration of true to false?
Finally, the Fact Checkers don't all come up with the same results? How can this be?
Either one or more of them are being downright dishonest, or the process of checking the facts is dependent upon a lot of variables.
Politicians are very skilled in making comments in such a way that they can be considered true, even though they are fundamentally false.
None of them are flat out blatant liars...except of course Debbie Wasserman Schultz.