PolitiFact Rates Another Accurate GOP Claim 'Mostly False' on CNN

PolitiFact decided to get cute with words and nail an accurate statement by a conservative advocacy group as "Mostly False" for supposed contextual issues. This is not the first time that the fact-checking outfit has labeled an accurate statement "Half True" or "Mostly False," as it did twice to the Romney campaign.

According to PolitiFact's Bill Adair, who appeared on CNN Monday afternoon, the ad correctly asserts that President Obama broke his promise to families making less than $250,000 a year, that their taxes would not go up. However, since the ad stated that ObamaCare alone raised 18 taxes, and PolitiFact determined that only five of those applied to the specific income bracket, they smacked Crossroads with a "Mostly False" rating.

The ad never specifically said that 18 taxes in the health care bill applied to the under-$250,000 income group, but PolitiFact wrote that it "implies" they did. The ad simply states the following, after playing the clip of Obama's promise to families: "Broken. ObamaCare raises 18 different taxes."

The fundamental point of the ad is correct, that Obama's promise was broken – even PolitiFact has pointed this out. "We know from our previous research on the law that it does in fact raise taxes," the report stated. However, because one wrong detail is supposedly implied, the ad is not partly true or half true, but "Mostly False."

And if PolitiFact hadn't already appeared to be carrying water for the Obama administration, perhaps the section of the report titled "Obama's Tax Cuts for Workers" provides evidence. The subject matter has nothing specifically to do with the ad's premise – whether or not Obama has raised taxes – but PolitiFact made sure to list Obama's tax cuts for "many people of modest means."

Perhaps the Obama campaign can send PolitiFact a "thank you" note, when it has time, for listing President Obama's tax cuts for lower-income earners in a report that has nothing to do with tax cuts, only tax increases.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on May 21 at 1:46 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: I want to start with this one here. This is from Crossroads GPS, it's a conservative advocacy group. A television ad by the group says President Obama promised that families making less than $250,000 a year would not see their taxes go up. The ad says the healthcare reform law, which the group calls "ObamaCare," raises 18 different taxes. True or false, what do we know, Bill?

BILL ADAIR, Washington bureau chief, The Tampa Bay Times: We gave that one a "Mostly False" on our Truth-o-Meter. The true part, Obama did promise that. The quote that they use in the ad is correct. But it's really misleading to then say that the 18 taxes in ObamaCare are the reasons why that promise is broken. In fact, of those 18 taxes only a handful, about five or six, actually apply to individuals. Most of them apply to corporations or to the wealthy. And also it's important to point out that millions of Americans have actually gotten tax cuts because of Obama's policies in the stimulus and the payroll tax cut. So overall that one gets a "Mostly False" on the Truth-o-Meter.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014