Thursday, September 09, 2004

Taking On is a purported non-partisan group attempting to uncover the real truth behind political advertisements and campaign rhetoric. After a quick review of one of their fact checking analyses, it appears they are simply another flagrant example of the media dressing up as non-partisan. FactCheck readers are led to believe they are consuming unbiased analysis, when in fact they are only getting liberal spin.

FactCheck recently published this analysis of Zell Miller's speech at the Republican National Convention. This analysis has been used throughout blogsphere and on political bulletin boards as de facto proof that Miller's characterization of Kerry's military service was inaccurate. FactCheck attempts to paint Kerry as strong on defense, and labels Miller's speech as "out of date".

After a quick review of FactCheck's analysis, the errors and false premises become obvious to even the most casual observer. Here are but a few:

  • FactCheck admits that "Kerry did oppose all the weapons Miller cited when he was a candidate for the Senate in 1984, and did vote against the B-2 bomber, Trident nuclear subs and "star wars" anti-missile system more than a decade ago. Kerry also voted in three different years against the entire Pentagon budget."
  • In defense of Kerry, the analysis goes on to state "in his nearly 20 years in office Kerry's record has evolved. Kerry hasn't opposed an annual Pentagon appropriation since 1996. And he's voted for them far more often than against them." The only "pro-defense" evidence that is uncovered by FactCheck are Kerry's votes for general Pentagon appropriations...hardly the hallmark of a strong-on-defense senator.
  • In chastising the Republicans, states "The best they (Republicans) can do is point to occasional votes Kerry cast against the entire Pentagon budget, which hardly constitutes opposition to any specific weapon." How can this statement be made in good faith when the site admits that Kerry voted against the B-2, Trident subs, anti-missile systems, etc.? Secondly, if casting a vote against the entire Pentagon budget "hardly constitutes opposition to any specific weapon", then how can voting for the appropriations bills in other years constitute support for specific weapons? The answer is that it cannot. FactCheck attempts to use a double standard, and as a result their partisan bias becomes clear.
  • Finally, the article states: "Miller (in his speech at the RNC) was a bit more careful in his wording than some previous Republican critics, and avoided saying anything factually incorrect."

    This is the best the Democrats can do? We get a half-baked, swiss cheese analysis from a supposedly 'non-partisan' group? This group states Miller and the Republicans are off-base in criticizing Kerry, but even they admit that everything Miller said was factually correct. Given the incompetence of Democratic organizations like FactCheck, it is little wonder that Bush is surging ahead in the polls.
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