Live Blog: Truth Telling in the Media and the Fall Elections
11:40 a.m. The third forum this morning at the Humphrey Institute’s America’s Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention is “Truth Telling in the Media and the Fall Elections.” The panel is moderated by Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Professor of Communication and Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center). The panelists are:
* Bill Adair (Washington Bureau Chief, St. Petersburg Times and Editor, PolitiFact)
* Brooks Jackson (Director, Annenberg Political Fact Check)
11:45 a.m. Kathleen Hall Jamieson says it is generally believed most ads lie and cannot be relied on because they are pandering and not a forecast for governing, However, Jamieson, says this is not true – with candidate ads being more ‘true’ than not. Jamieson says officeholders generally true to achieve the main goals as advertised in their political campaigns – though they might not successfully see those goals enacted.
11:55 a.m. Adair says they have investigated 600 political messages at his organization in the presidential campaign; he says the media has been scared into balancing points with counterpoints wishing to appear to be ‘fair,’ when sometimes ‘facts are just facts.’
12:05 a.m. Adair says the biggest deception by the Obama campaign regarding McCain and giving big tax breaks to big oil and drug companies. The biggest deception by the McCain campaign is on Obama’s tax plan (the extent to which he will raise taxes).
12:10 a.m. Jackson says Obama misled the public in his Denver speech by claiming to pay for all of his programs through closing tax loopholes. This would not come close, and the truth is Obama would raise taxes on the very wealthy – which he did not mention in the speech. But, Jackson adds, even adding in that component likely will not pay for all of his programs.
12:12 a.m. Jackson agrees with Adair that McCain has misled the public on Obama’s tax plan – such as his support for middle-class tax hikes and history of supporting tax increases.
12:15 a.m. Adair explains how his organization has had an impact on candidate’s changing their message in the campaign. Obama had stated McCain voted with Bush 95 percent of the time; PolitiFact pointed out the correct number is 90 percent, and that is the number Obama used in his Thursday night acceptance speech. Jackson notes that Obama used to state he “worked his way through college;” now Obama correctly states he got through college “through scholarships and hard work” – a difference, to be sure.
12:23 a.m. Jackson and Adair agree that web ads by campaigns need to be checked just like paid media advertising. They view these as ‘electronic press releases’ and, since the public will be exposed to the messages (they are frequently aired by tv news programs), they need to be checked.
12:26 a.m. Adair and Jackson admit both organizations have made their own mistakes and thus posted corrections on their sites.
12:30 a.m. When asked why the media refers to Obama as a ‘black candidate’ when the fact is he is ‘bi-racial’ or ‘mixed race’ Adair says that is because Obama refers to himself as a ‘black candidate.’
12:35 a.m. Adair also checks mass e-mails, even those that have ridiculous claims, such as “Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.” The e-mail said the Book of Revelations said the anit-Christ is a charming man in his late 40s. PolitiFact checked not whether Obama was the anti-Christ, but whether that description was actually in the Book of Revelations. It was not.
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