All 47 of our fact checks that dealt with candidates or campaign ads in 2018 are now in one place — right here.
Yes, it’s a wonder we still have time to fact-check politicians not named Donald Trump, he of the 6,420 false or misleading claims. But it’s not just the president who is flooding the airwaves with misinformation. The 2018 campaign season has featured a bunch of Trump-like TV ads, nativist rhetoric and scurrilous statistics from candidates, super PACs and other groups.
Of the 47 fact checks, 21 received Four Pinocchios. Twelve got Three Pinocchios, and seven got Two Pinocchios. We threw in two fact checks that got One Pinocchio and five with no ratings.
There are phony ads linking Democrats to terrorism with no evidence, an ad falsely accusing Republican leaders of plotting to end Medicare and Social Security, and an ad in New Jersey that links a sitting senator to underage prostitutes with no evidence. Some Republican candidates are even lying to voters about how many Pinocchios we gave to their opponents. (Is nothing sacred anymore?)
For those who want the facts before Election Day, we’ve summarized and linked to all 47 fact checks, starting with the Four Pinocchio claims.
- At least seven Republicans in House races are deceiving voters about our work, running ads that falsely say we gave Four Pinocchios to a Democrat’s claim about coverage guarantees for preexisting conditions in the Affordable Care Act. Worse, these GOP campaigns refused to take it back when we alerted them. The offenders are Reps. Dave Brat (Va.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), John Faso (N.Y.), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Erik Paulsen (Minn.) and Peter J. Roskam (Ill.).
- Brat mangled another one of our fact checks to defend himself on preexisting conditions during a debate.
- Our wooden mascot also was abused by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC attacking a Democratic candidate for the House in California by twisting our words on health care.
- A bunch of Republicans and the Congressional Leadership Fund falsely depicted some Democrats as supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan.
- The Congressional Leadership Fund might be this year’s MVP in terms of Pinocchios. Here are six attack ads it ran against Democrats, each of them loaded with false or misleading claims or fearmongering about Muslims and African Americans.
- Brat, by the way, got another Four Pinocchios for promising the “honest truth” in a TV ad filled with deceptions on health care.
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) claimed that Republicans were planning to “get rid of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security” because of soaring deficits, but he’s misquoting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said only that it would take a bipartisan effort to scale back these programs.
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took an old McConnell quote about Barack Obama and argued it was a “racist statement.” (It wasn’t.)
- Bob Hugin, the Republican challenging Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), says he’s not a Trump guy but decided to end his campaign by running TV ads falsely claiming the FBI had evidence Menendez slept with underage prostitutes. Not a Trump guy!
- Beto O’Rourke claimed he did not try to leave the scene of a DWI. Tell that to the police report that says he did.
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee slammed Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) in an ad for voting “against protecting people with preexisting conditions three separate times,” but it latched on to minor procedural votes and ignored that Fitzpatrick voted against his party’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare when it counted.
- Under indictment, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) ran one of the most anti-Muslim ads in recent memory, linking his Palestinian Mexican American opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, to terrorists even though he’s a Christian who was cleared by the FBI to work in the Obama administration.
- No, McConnell doesn’t traffic cocaine on the high seas. But “Cocaine Mitch” is an inspired nickname nonetheless.
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) cited classified information that he said showed Russia had access to Florida county voter registration databases and could purge voters from the rolls this year. He provided no evidence and was flatly contradicted by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and every county and state election supervisor in Florida.
- Do Democrats have a “plan” to cut Medicare spending by $800 billion? Nope, but the Congressional Leadership Fund might end up with 800 Pinocchios by the end of this list.
- Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) wondered on the radio why no one was reporting that Trump’s tax cuts had paid for themselves in six months. Maybe because she was totally wrong, mistaking overall economic gains for tax collections.
- Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), running for Senate in North Dakota, set up a “fact-checking” website promoting a false claim that congressional estimates did not factor in the economic growth expected from Trump’s tax cut.
- DNC Vice Chairman Keith Ellison, running for attorney general of Minnesota, has repeatedly denied any association with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam known for anti-Semitic remarks. There are holes in Ellison’s story and several documented links to Farrakhan.
- Some Democrats are attacking Republicans on health care by taking estimates of people with preexisting conditions in the individual market and applying them to the entire insurance industry. We gave these claims Two or Four Pinocchios, depending on how these Democrats framed their attacks.
- Did Hillary Clinton collude with the Russians to get dirt on Trump and feed it to the FBI? Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) seems to think so, but no. The answer is no.
- Sanders said 40 percent of guns are sold without a background check. It’s a zombie claim that relies on a small survey, which is more than 20 years old, that upon close inspection actually shows 14 percent to 22 percent of guns were sold this way. (Newer research indicates it’s closer to 13 percent.)
- A bunch of Republican candidates are hoping that voters forget the eight years the GOP spent opposing and trying to repeal Obamacare. They’re claiming they fought to protect patients with preexisting conditions. Never mind that these protections would have been gutted had these Republicans succeeded in stopping or repealing Obamacare.
- Just about everything you read at first on Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test was wrong, including one of our tweets. The Boston Globe claimed she was anywhere from 1/32nd Native American to 1/512th … or 1/64th to 1/1,024th. But those numbers badly oversimplify the science. The bottom line is that Warren has a distinct strand of indigenous genetic material in Chromosome 10.
- In the race for the congressional seat held by Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Democrat Randy Bryce falsely claimed his GOP opponent, Bryan Steil, lied about working in manufacturing. Steil was an in-house lawyer for manufacturing companies. That’s working in manufacturing.
- Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) claimed a New York hedge fund closed a factory in Wisconsin, costing 450 jobs. But the hedge fund was a minority investor without a board seat at the time.
- The Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity ran an ad saying Phil Bredesen, the Democrat running for Senate in Tennessee, supported higher gas and sales taxes as governor. That’s misleading because in the end, Bredesen did not raise either tax. (In fact, the sales tax went down under his watch.)
- Bredesen claimed Tennessee’s meth problem was cut in half while he was governor. But the rate of meth lab incidents and seizures was largely unchanged.
- Hunter, who claimed his Christian opponent was tied to terrorists, also insinuated that Democrats in the Justice Department were behind his indictment. (A Trump administration appointee approved the charges.)
- The National Republican Senatorial Committee ran an ad claiming Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and her husband got rich off federal housing subsidies. Not so.
- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has a pretty solid record on same-sex marriage, so it’s befuddling to see him exaggerate the details and claim his poll numbers took a hit.
- Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) erroneously claimed sex-trafficking business and ads were down 90 percent since the passage of a law called FOSTA-SESTA.
- Cramer said the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare would have prevented “price discrimination” against people with preexisting conditions. But the GOP plan would have opened the door to fewer protections for preexisting conditions.
- Democrats cherry-picked a claim that Medicare-for-all would save $2 trillion, but the researcher who produced that estimate says his study is being twisted.
- Campaigning for Democrats, Obama claimed Trump’s moves to chip away at the Affordable Care Act have “already cost” 3 million people health insurance. He was cherry-picking from one study, and other research showed little change in the number of insured people.
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) claimed the labor participation rate was “going back up” under Trump, but he jumped the gun with these comments.
- DNC Chairman Tom Perez claimed his group broke fundraising records in January. It didn’t.
- Andy Kim, the Democrat challenging Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), claimed he worked for President George W. Bush, a Republican. That’s a huge stretch. Kim worked for five months in an entry-level post at the U.S. Agency for International Development under Bush.
- Is the Trump tax cut good or bad for the middle class? McCaskill said it would be bad “in the long run.” In the short run, though, the bill produces savings for the middle class.
- Similarly, Pelosi claimed that 86 million middle-class Americans will see taxes rise under the Trump tax bill. But she was also talking about the long run (10 years) and left out the more immediate savings.
- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said a study showed corn, soybean and wheat farmers had lost $13 billion because of Trump’s trade war. She should be more careful because there was no study, just a quote from an expert who was citing futures prices that change daily.
- Is health care the top issue for voters? Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said “the polls are clear,” but they were actually quite murky when he said this.
- Do Republicans want to ban abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions? Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) made this claim on Twitter, but the bill in question does have an exception for life-threatening pregnancies.
- Beto O’Rourke’s viral video on African Americans and police shootings.
- Republican candidate for California governor John Cox’s claim that he was raised by a “single mother on the South Side of Chicago.”
- A media blitz by House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) showed she had some catching up to do on the economy, immigration and health care.
- Warren mistook marijuana arrests for convictions but took it back when we asked about her claim.
- A cautionary tale on how to report Pelosi’s fundraising numbers.
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