FactCheck.org has followed up on emails rebuking their article on the McCain ad ‘Education’ with a statement that says in part,
'We also never wrote that Obama said class material about 'inappropriate touching' was the main purpose of the bill. Our article said that 'Obama has also said he does not support, ‘explicit sex education to children in kindergarten’ and that Obama made it clear that at least one reason he supported the bill was that it would help teach young kids to recognize inappropriate behavior and pedophiles."
Factcheck also categorizes the ad as false because it states that it was Senator Obama’s ‘one achievement’ in education. It is true that Senator Obama did not achieve the passage of this legislation, and may be able to account for other education successes. Also, the previous article should have been more clear in stating that it was Senator Obama that stated the bill was about ‘inappropriate touching’ not FactCheck. However, there are still major problems in FactCheck’s story.
They state outright in their response. "Obama has also said he does not support, ‘explicit sex education to children in kindergarten’." The ad does not state that Senator Obama does support ‘explicit sex education to children in kindergarten’ that is solely Factcheck’s own interpretation. Yet this is repeated as proof that the ad is false as they later refute their own interpretation by saying, "But Obama has also said he does not support, 'explicit sex education to children in kindergarten." That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with the McCain ad.
Second, as they state in their rebuttal and in their original article, "Obama 'made it clear that at least one reason he supported the bill was that it would help teach young kids to recognize inappropriate behavior and pedophiles." Again, this has nothing to do with the McCain ad. Motive was never discussed in the ad and Factcheck misleads about the content of the ad by refutiating a claim not made in the ad.
Finally, Factcheck refutes the ad as having cherry picked quotes about Obama’s record. Well, welcome to politics. The statements are all verified, but FactCheck explains that those sources frequently did not have glowing reviews of McCain’s education plan either. Certainly that is fair to point out, but that does no make the ad false.
The one claim they are able to back up is the statement in the ad saying that this bill is Senator Obama’s ‘only accomplishment’ in education. They cite three ammendments to a bill that Senator Obama worked on that were aproved by unanimous consent. As Factcheck states, "Whether or not one considers any of these measures earth-shaking, they’re accomplishments nonetheless." Point taken.
I appreciate that FactCheck has responded to complaints about their article. However, I am still disappointed in the lack of actual fact checking within their article. Please read their response and email them at Editor@Factcheck.org if you agree that their article is still off base.
For clarity here are the basic complaints:
1. The statement, "Obama has also said he does not support, ‘explicit sex education to children in kindergarten’." is an interpretation by Factcheck of the McCain ad, the ad itself does not claim that Senator Obama does support ‘explicit sex education to children in kindergarten’
2. The reason Senator Obama supported this bill is irrelevant. The ad never states the reason for Senator Obama’s support, and this makes Factcheck’s article misleading.
3. Cherry picked quotes do not make an ad false. Certainly fair to point out context, but the quotes were not false, and they do not make the ad false.
4. If Factcheck wants to claim the article is false because it was not Senator Obama’s only educational accomplishment than that is a legitimate complaint. However, in that case the article needs extensive editing as that is the only argument where they have provided any real evidence.
FactCheck Sex-Ed Ad Response - Correction Still Needed