Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paul "Pinocchio" Ryan's speech: A roundup of media fact-checks

By Barbara J. Miner

The articles exposing the distortions, misleading statements and outright lies in Paul Ryan’s Wednesday night speech are racing through the Internet so fast that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

The posts span the political spectrum, from the Washington Post to The New Republic, the Associated Press and CNN— even to Fox News.

As Sally Kohn, a Fox contributor, said of the speech: “To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

Many of the articles took aim at Ryan’s claims on the federal budget, Medicare and the GM plant in Janesville. Given that Ryan is supposedly a Medicare and budget policy wonk, and that he’s from Janesville and should know the GM plant’s history, it’s hard to imagine his mis-statements were a mistake.

Take the claim that the President Obama broke a promise to keep open the GM plant in Ryan’s hometown. Politifact rated the claim “False,” and noted that the Janesville plant closed before Obama even took office.

Which Ryan must have known. In June of 2008, Ryan joined with Wisconsin U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold in a joint letter asking GM to reconsider its decision to close the Janesville plant. The letter is available through Ryan’s House website.

PolitiFact, in addition to a “False” rating to Ryan’s claim on the Janesville plant, also rated “Mostly False” Ryan’s statement that Obama funneled $716 billion out of Medicare at the expense of the elderly.

Here are headlines from some of the many articles available online:

“Paul Ryan’s breathtakingly dishonest speech,” by James Downie of the Washington Post.

Top 5 Fibs in Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech,” by Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo.

“The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?” by Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic.

“Mr. Ryan’s misleading speech,” an editorial in the Washington Post.

“Here’s a list of some of the whoppers that Paul Ryan served up Wednesday night,” by David Weigel ofSlate.

“Fact Check: Ryan Ignores Parts of His Own Record,” by Cal Woodward and Jack Gillum of theAssociated Press.

Fact-checking Ryan’s Convention Speech,” by Michael Cooper of the New York Times.

For a video outlining the lies and distortions, check out the two-minute video available as part of the article, “A lollapalooza of lies,” by Barbara Morrill for Daily Kos. The video is based on excerpts from Ryan’s speech and responses from fact-checkers.
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This blog is cross-posted at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Purple Wisconsin Project.

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