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Thursday, December 27, 2012
MRC's War on Fact-Checking Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war on fact-checkers has extended to its year-end awards.

This year's MRC "Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting" includes "The True But False Award for Fatuous Fact Checking." The winner was MSNBC's Martin Bashir, who is quoted as saying that "more people were collecting food stamps under George W. Bush than are under President Obama." The MRC responds: "In fact, U.S. Department of Agriculture showed more than 46 million Americans on food stamps at the end of 2011, a figure 40 percent greater than the highest number of recipients recorded during the Bush years (31.98 million, in January 2009)."

The statistic Bashir was citing actually involved the number of people added to the food stamp rolls under Bush and Obama as of the time Bashir said it -- as confirms -- but he erroneously referred instead to the total number of recipients. The MRC makes no mention of Bashir merely inadvertently misstating statistics, and is certainly not going to give him credit for what he intended to say.

The MRC also takes refuge in so narrowly interpreting statistics as "technically accurate" in a way that ignores the broader context. It attacks NBC's David Gregory for accurately pointing out that "the debt exploded under the Bush administration" to play up Michele Bachmann's assertion that the fiscal year 2007 federal budget deficit under Bush was $162 billion, a cherry-picked number that deliberately ignores the overall growth of the deficit under eight years of Bush.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EST

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