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Live Blog: Truth Telling in the Media and the Fall Elections

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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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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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